Category Archives: Robert Gates

Gates to cut contractors? Really?

I have called them the fourth branch of our federal government and that isn’t a fucking stretch if you think about it folks. Gates recent announcement of an annual ten percent cut in funding, aka jobs, for contractor’s sounds good, but something tells me it’s just more smoke and friggin mirrors. From TPM:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in announcing  new cost-saving measures for the Pentagon, said the DOD will dramatically cut funding for service support contractors, by 10 percent each year for the next three years.

He cited a “dramatic increase in the use of service support and advisory contractors” over the last 10 years — from 26 percent of workforce spending in 2000 to 39 percent last year. And that’s “not counting contractors supporting the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Gates also noted that the department last year said it’d cut the number of contractors by 33,000 by 2015.

“I’m not satisfied with the progress made to reduce our over-reliance on contractors,” he said.

The president’s deficit commission is reportedly wrestling over how to cut the fat from the DOD’s budget.

And as TPMmuckraker has reported, the number of contractors — both support and security — has spiked in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading the Congressional Research Service to ask, “Can contractors undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan?” 

As TPM notes, the federal govt has been increasing the number of contractor’s contract’s for years in both Afghanistan an Iraq….so really….is it as big a deal as Gates is attempting to make it sound? When you add, then turn around and subtract…aren’t you back to square one? Also, I would bet my brown ass that the feds have added more than ten percent worth of contracts yearly since we invaded Iraq…

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Gates, torture and Obama’s choices..

Gates is staying on as we now know…but… Before you get your panties in a wad, read this article by Steve Clemon’s, a progressive. An excerpt from his Washington Note piece:

After speaking to some other national security policy experts very close to Bob Gates and General Brent Scowcroft, I changed course and began to see the value of Gates staying at DoD.

My hunch is that Gates wants a chance to make the kind of leaps in the Middle East I have been writing about for some time. He wants to try and push Iran-US relations into a constructive direction. He wants to change the game in Afghanistan — and the answer will not be a military-dominant strategy. He wants to try and stabilize Iraq in a negotiated, confidence building process that includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and other regional forces. And he wants to support a big push on Israel-Palestine peace and reconfigure relations between much of the Arab League and Israel.

I hope Clemon’s hunch is right. Christ, I hope he’s right.

As for torture…and whether Obama’s administration will go or should go after the war criminals in Bush’s cabal..check out this column by Jack Goldsmith at WaPo. Personally, I don’t buy into Mr Goldsmith’s logic…but it never hurts to listen to the other side of the argument.

My problem with his logic is the pov that charging people with crimes will hinder future presidents in getting opinions and options from smart intelligent individuals.

Horseshit.

Extraordinary Rendition and Torture are war crimes plain and simple. Never in our modern history has an administration been so callous in ignoring the rule of law and the Geneva Conventions. The people that allowed these heinous things to happen and indeed supported them, need to be held accountable. We need to show the world that we will never again allow criminals such as those in the Bush Administration to run rough shod over common sense and common decency.