Seems Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is breaking ranks with the administration over Libya. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday and shared decidedly different views on our latest excursion into the Mideast.
Here's a sample exchange from the program:
MR. GREGORY: Secretary Gates, Is Libya in our vital interest as a country?
SECY GATES: No, I don't think it's a vital interest for the U.S., but we clearly have interests there, and it's a part of the region which is a vital interest for the U.S.
(Secy Clinton jumps in)
SECY CLINTON: Well, but, but, but then it wouldn't be fair as to what Bob just said. I mean, did Libya attack us? No. They did not attack us. Do they have a very critical role in this region and do they neighbor two countries -- you just mentioned one, Egypt , the other Tunisia -- that are going through these extraordinary transformations and cannot afford to be destabilized by conflict on their borders? Yes.
Ah, there's the rub. Clear as mud, our foreign policy. I wonder if the same Neocons who praised Raisin Brain for his "decisive" and "bold" unitary actions in Afghanistan and Iraq (with the macho Bush Doctrine, dead or alive, big ol' codpiece on the flight suit tough Texan vibe) will similarly applaud President Obama for his "strike 'em before they strike us back" Bushonian (or rather, Chenesque) militant philosophy?
It is rather refreshing -- especially following Rumsferatu -- to hear a Secretary of Defense actually admit -- in plain language -- that we're rushing in with our Big (taxpayer funded) Guns blazing, even though we have no dog in the fight.
Now it's up to President Obama to come out tonight and magically meld the mixed messages from his most senior Cabinet Members. He's a wordsmith wizard, but this may prove a feat of Presidential prestidigitation beyond his prodigious powers.