Remarkable how quickly Gates has fallen into the mystic world populated by the BushCo cabal. It is as an opium den, with thick smoke and windowless cubbies where each person smokes himself into oblivion, never seeing or understanding the reality outside.
Iraq failure will hurt all NATO allies, Gates says
11 Feb 2007 13:09:58 GMT
By Kristin Roberts
MUNICH, Germany, Feb 11 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned NATO on Sunday that failure in Iraq and the chaos likely to follow would hurt all the allies, regardless of whether they had opposed or supported the 2003 invasion.
“If the United States and our partners in Iraq fail and there is chaos in Iraq, every member of this alliance will feel the consequences,” Gates said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of world leaders.
“Chaos in Iraq … will result in further conflict in the Middle East and will result in more terrorism reaching out to touch all of us,” he said of U.S.-led attempts to put down an insurgency and end sectarian strife in Iraq.
“There may be great disagreement in the room on how we got to where we are, but the reality is, as of today, failure in Iraq will impact every country represented in this room.”
The invasion of Iraq divided NATO, with Britain, Italy and Spain among countries that supported it, and France and Germany leading opponents.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy reiterated Paris’s criticisms of the U.S.-led war, saying Washington had been guilty of “blindness” over both the objectives and conduct of the conflict.
Asked in a radio interview to react to Gates’s comments, he said: “I respond that in Iraq today what is at stake is by definition one thing only. Respect for Iraqi sovereignty.”
“As foreign occupying troops withdraw, there will be a positive movement, in the same proportion, towards a return to Iraqi sovereignty,” he told France’s Radio J.
Gates, in his first major public address since replacing Donald Rumsfeld in December, acknowledged in reply to questions that some U.S. actions had hurt the country’s reputation abroad.
The former CIA director cited the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq and the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay as examples.
“I don’t have any doubt that there is, in certain quarters, anti-American propaganda,” Gates said. “But I think we also have made some mistakes and have not presented our case as well as we might in many instances.”
GATES SEES NO NEW COLD WAR
But Gates slapped down suggestions that U.S. actions were leading to a new Cold War with Moscow. “There is no desire for a new Cold War with Russia and one is completely unnecessary,” he said.
Gates, who studied the Soviet Union and Russia as a career CIA analyst, dismissed as the blunt talk of an old spy accusations by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that the United States sought to force its will on the world.
He rejected calls for the United States to charge or release all prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay base on Cuba.
“There is no question that most of us would like to close the detainee facility at Guantanamo,” he said. “But there are also people at Guantanamo frankly who should never be released, who are serious committed terrorists by their own admission.”
Gates said Europe must commit more troops and money to Afghanistan if NATO was to remain a potent military alliance. Failure to give the needed resources to win in Afghanistan would be a “mark of shame” for the world’s richest countries, he said.
But he also sought to ease tensions with his counterparts that some administration critics blame on Rumsfeld’s brusque style. Alluding to a 2003 comment by his predecessor that led to anger among some allies and accusations of U.S. arrogance, he said he saw no division of “old Europe versus new”.
Instead, he said the division was between those that did all they could to fulfill NATO’s commitments and those that did not.
“NATO is not a ‘paper membership,’ or a ‘social club’ or a ‘talk shop’. It is a military alliance — one with very serious real world obligations,” he said. (Additional reporting by James Mackenzie in Paris)