January 16th, 2014
08:34 PM ET

Gates on Iran sanctions, Biden and biggest mistakes as defense secretary

By Dana Davidsen

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is defending his criticism of Vice President Joe Biden's record on national security.

Gates writes in his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," that Biden was "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Biden • Gates • Iran
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    January 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  2. jerrylax

    we shall see… the clinton presidency (eight years)left our security forces and military in a mess…so much that when the Bush Administration took over they could have NO faith in the data speaking of terrorist activity. The cost: 9/11. Obama doctrine will prove its self long after he is out of office and on the golf course with his new bond girlfriend.

    January 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  3. Skorpio

    Unless, literally someone points a gun to the Ayatollahs's head, as they did to Al-Assad, nothing is going to happen in Iran. The Islamic MO requires force, an eye-for-an-eye policy, intimidation, coercion, threats and punishments in order to make people comply with any guidelines.

    January 18, 2014 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • Mcshannon

      Getting another country to obey by forceful means e.g. sanctions is only a dream shared by conservatives and hardliner Israelis. All countries have national pride and when you stomp on it with statements such as “Axis of Evil” the response will be cold and untrusting deservedly so. A common goal of peace amongst nation with diplomacy instead of rhetoric could cultivate some common ground on which we might grow a healthy relationship even with Iran.

      January 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
      • Donald George MacDonald

        "I have also wondered how many more of our finest sons and daughters and then their children will 'SOMEHOW BE COERCED AND CONVINCED' by government, church, family and friends that 'THERE ARE NO DIPLOMATIC ALTERNATIVES LEFT,' so they must go to war as bravely as we did and our ancestors did."

        January 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • scowdie

        Let's play pattie cake's.

        January 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Donald George MacDonald

      "And our majority of citizens only parrot to others that U.S. global military strength and expansionism and weapons productions and weapons sales will make us safer when instead the opposite is surely true.

      And even our most patriotic and brave soldiers will not be able to protect us from our foreign blunders.

      And even our most patriotic and brave soldiers will not be able to protect us from those who fear U.S. global military expansionism and from those who covet our sold weapons of mass destruction and from those who despise the arrogance of U.S. actions and its failed foreign policies."

      January 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  4. Donald George MacDonald

    Our more evolved descendents will realize that we humans of the 21st century do not yet completely understand and control our primal, hereditary influences of anger, hate, violence, territorialism, and predation.

    Our more evolved descendents will realize that we humans of the 21st century are presently entering an especially dangerous period in our evolution. Our gradually growing intellect does allow us to develop the technology needed for our desired comfort and prosperity. Yet, they will also know that since our Second World War, leaders of nations and movements have also chosen to try to use the imposing technology to produce and sell and buy invisible bombers and smart missiles and quiet subs and fast tanks and many, many more weapons of our mass, self-destruction.

    Our more evolved descendents will realize that even though our heads appear large to us, we still possess the eyes of predators.

    Our more evolved descendents, looking back at us with sadness and scorn, will realize that our world citizens and leaders should have condemned, long before now, ALL hate and violence and barbaric wars against ANY fellow, equally perfect, feeling, living being.

    Our more evolved descendents, looking back at us with sadness and scorn, will realize our world citizens and leaders should have long ago condemned our continuing, conformist allegiance to hate and violence and barbaric wars.

    Our more evolved descendents will realize that our hate and violence and barbaric wars must be replaced with empathy and kindness and patience and communication and mutual respect and compassion and love.

    January 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • SAWOLF

      Judging by the rapidly,"Evolving ", of those in the developed world into grotesques, obese, caricatures of H. sapiens, your premiss about more highly evolved species radiation is not a foregone conclusion.

      January 18, 2014 at 2:05 am | Reply
      • Donald George MacDonald

        "Our more evolved descendents will realize that our hate and violence and barbaric wars must be replaced with empathy and kindness and patience and communication and mutual respect and compassion and love."

        January 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  5. Donald George MacDonald

    A cautionary tale:

    Like many young servicemen and servicewomen from Wisconsin and from all states and from numerous countries, I defended my leaders’ chosen causes when I volunteered to enter the military in 1969. I then volunteered in basic training to go to Vietnam.

    Some of my fondest memories of my military service are my many meetings with “my minister” before and after I applied for an Honorable Discharge as a Conscientious Objector in 1971.

    He was a “bird colonel” who commanded respect, but was also a very kind, soft-spoken, gentle man.

    He helped me clarify my changing morality.

    I am still very grateful for his guidance.

    And I will always honor all veterans, but I guess most personally the ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR Wisconsin veterans who sacrificed their lives during our Vietnam War.

    ***

    After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, U.S. citizens continued to serve in the military and bravely sacrificed their lives in 19 more wars. 19 more wars, all of which occurred in foreign countries with the exception of the War of 1812, and the Civil War and American Indian Wars when we turned our guns upon our own people.

    And in the U.S., we sit with our eyes blankly staring and with our mouths agape every 4th of July and say, "ooh and aah" as we again celebrate our “bombs bursting in air.”

    In the U.S., almost from birth we are taught to sing our National Anthem written, of course, about and during a war, the War of 1812.

    In the U.S., almost since birth we sing most loudly, always in unison and cheer as fighter jets perform low fly-bys.

    In the U.S., we sing about “the perilous fight” and “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”

    In the U.S., our National Anthem fittingly concludes, “Then conquer we must,”

    In the U.S., our majority of citizens require or pressure even our youngest children to promise to obey our government which is after all, the same when we "Pledge Allegiance to the Flag."

    ***

    And our United States citizens have always been told, “there are no diplomatic alternative left,” so our finest sons and daughters must again go to war as bravely as we did and our ancestors did.

    And our U.S. leaders have always pledged that our finest sons and daughters bravely sacrificed their lives in foreign nations for something..."for our further freedom and democracy at home."

    And our U.S. leaders and citizens still try to coerce more of our finest youths to defend more of their chosen causes and to attack more of their chosen foes.

    And the U.S. has allocated $572 billion in "defense" spending for 2014.

    And our majority of citizens only parrot to others that U.S. global military strength and expansionism and weapons productions and weapons sales will make us safer when instead the opposite is surely true.

    And even our most patriotic and brave soldiers will not be able to protect us from our foreign blunders.

    And even our most patriotic and brave soldiers will not be able to protect us from those who fear U.S. global military expansionism and from those who covet our sold weapons of mass destruction and from those who despise the arrogance of U.S. actions and its failed foreign policies.

    ***

    And the U.S. is the supreme military and economic power behind a worldwide military-industrial complex.

    And it is no surprise that our struggling U.S. and world economies, temporarily supported by weapons productions and sales, will continue to only flounder on by if...only if our "Masters of War" can fuel even more wars…even more foreign wars fueled by our failed foreign policies and with our sold weapons of mass destruction.

    And when “world peace’ is somehow discovered and is somehow forced upon even the U.S., the worldwide military-industrial complex, led by the U.S., will collapse.

    And this collapse will create a global economic depression and social upheaval that will put the “Great Depression” to shame.

    Why?

    Because this will be the price all world citizens will have to initially pay as we finally try to make right our past moral wrongs.

    January 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • Donald George MacDonald

      Breaking Ranks

      My focused sight flashes me back again.
      I see us more clearly here than when at war
      as our spent ranks like the undead marched
      past fire and ashes in a Mekong morning.

      Burning grass is firmly matted;
      cradles a still, slender woman.
      Flowing black hair no longer hides her embers;
      no longer shrouds her staring eyes now aglow.

      Once I barely cared to glance
      at her infectious, triumphant pyre.
      In my grave procession past
      I did not break my stride.

      January 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • Donald George MacDonald

        It remains a common individual and social tragedy when Christians, Jews or Moslems express beliefs in God, then are coerced or inducted to wound, kill or die for their countries or causes. It is especially tragic when any world citizen who feels love, and who shares love with others, enters the military and goes to war. It is tragic when our finest youths still agree to kill other equally perfect human beings.

        Most people have been indoctrinated since birth by government, church, family and friends that “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” except in wars. It often appears that our morality still changes to suit the needs and desires of the moment.

        The majority of our world citizens and even, amazingly and ironically, our highest religious leaders, continue to believe that sending our finest youths to fight and kill is a necessary evil in our world already gone awry.

        Past and continuing world militarism provides the fear and self-justification that malleable citizens need in order for them to further endorse their leaders' expanding and modernizing military might. The expanding and escalating cycle thus feeds itself and prospers, like a self-perpetuating social and moral virus allowed to further drain our global health and wealth.

        The majority of our world citizens, led by leaders of nations, movements and religions, continue to forget that this social and moral virus is reversible, is curable and is not yet terminal.

        The Machiavellian leaders of both movements and nations are still, somehow permitted by a majority of their followers to issue ultimate threats of wars even when each new battle has taken an increasing toll. Many millions of our world citizens have already bravely sacrificed their health and lives for and because of the causes and conflicts created and continued by the leaders. Yet still, leaders are somehow permitted to coerce or order our finest youths to defend more of their chosen causes and to attack more of their chosen foes.

        ***

        I likewise defended my leaders’ chosen causes when I volunteered to enter the military in 1969 and volunteered in basic training to go to Vietnam. I was subsequently decorated with the Air Force Commendation Medal for my one year of service in Vietnam. I then served as an in-flight crewmember on a C-141 personnel and cargo aircraft for another year and delivered military personnel and equipment to over 40 countries. During that year, I routinely returned to Vietnam in order to take healthy personnel and weapons in, then to take the bodies of our boys and our injured back home.

        I performed my duties to my country faithfully, but slowly became less faithful to my changing morality and myself. Eventually, I could no longer conscientiously contribute to causes condoned and to conflicts created and continued by my Commander-in-chief. I requested and received an Honorable Discharge as a Conscientious Objector.

        I realize I was most fortunate to be born and raised in the United States where we treasure our freedom to object. Yet, every day since my discharge, I have also wondered how many more of our finest sons and daughters and then their children will somehow be coerced and convinced by government, church, family and friends that “there are no diplomatic alternatives left,” so they must go to war as bravely as we did and our ancestors did.

        ***

        So now I ask you how many more of our finest sons and daughters and then their children will somehow be coerced and convinced or ordered to become brave soldiers in order to pass one of the entrance rites to adulthood?

        I ask you how many more of our world citizens will somehow be coerced and convinced or ordered to go to war to kill other equally perfect human beings?

        I ask you how many more of our next generations of finest youths will somehow be coerced and convinced or ordered by leaders of nations, movements and religions to sacrifice their precious lives in war?

        How many more will it be?

        Will it be many millions more or could it be none?

        Do you possess the answers?

        Indeed you do.

        In deeds you do.

        Our definition of democracy determines this to be true.

        January 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
      • Donald George MacDonald

        It is not enough to worship with faith
        and feel worthy of saving
        and then show your hate with charm
        and then praise your guns and blows
        and then spread your crimes with wars.

        January 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • Donald George MacDonald

        The worth and validity of our democracy
        can be measured by the worthiness of actions by our leaders
        elected to carry out the will of "we the people."

        So the most important questions we should ask:

        Are “we the people”
        empathetic and reasonable enough
        to be qualified to elect our representatives
        who can repair our nation and our world?

        And what if the majority of our voters
        lack the cognitive ability
        to understand the increasing complexities of our nation and our world
        or are morally and emotionally compromised
        so do not care to give hope and help?

        And what if the majority of our elected representatives, therefore,
        also lack the cognitive ability
        to understand the increasing complexities of our nation and our world
        or are morally and emotionally compromised
        so do not care to give hope and help?

        And is our once great nation
        a sinking ship of fools?

        And is our democracy
        still valid?

        And could we create
        a far brighter vision and voice
        to give hope and help
        to our many working poor,
        to our many unable to find work,
        to our hungry homeless,
        to our victims of crimes,
        to our physically and mentally ill,
        to our frail, but powerful elderly,
        to our children, hungry for food and knowledge and love and much more,
        to our millions of veterans who returned home from your wars,
        to our millions of soldiers who still kill and die in your wars,
        to our world citizens migrating, trying to “tear down this wall,“
        to all of our own citizens who need hope and our help?

        Indeed we could.

        With good deeds we could.

        Our definition of democracy
        determines this to be true.

        January 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
    • SAWOLF

      Simple solution, emigrate.

      January 18, 2014 at 2:02 am | Reply
      • Donald George MacDonald

        "America...love it or leave it."

        January 18, 2014 at 8:23 am |

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.