Back when Gates was a "shoot first crazy neocon".

promoted by roxy - originally published 2008-11-26 09:27:19 -1000. Discussion?

Well, well, it seems the first blush is wearing off on the Obama honeymoon.  People are getting up in arms over some of his recent appointments.  While others are trying to defend his choices by saying that:

He is keeping his word to us by keeping Gates.  This is what "new politics" looks like."

Which is to say it looks disturbingly much like the old politics.  You know, the politics that Kos wrote about when he said:

"Oh boy. Robert Gates, Bush's choice to replace Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, is another shoot first crazy neocon"

So let's take a look back at what we had to say two years ago and what is being said in todays "new politics".
Kos two years ago:

"The target of Gates' anxieties was Nicaragua's leftist president, Daniel Ortega.

Take a look at what had Gates quaking in his boots:

"  Gates saw a calamitous situation in Central America in December 1984. Congress had ordered a halt to U.S. support for the Contra rebels, leaving Ortega free, as Gates saw it, to establish Nicaragua as a "permanent and well-armed" ally of the Soviet Union and Cuba."

"He said the United States should acknowledge that the existence of a Marxist-Leninist regime in Nicaragua closely allied to Moscow and Havana "is unacceptable to the United States and that the United States will do everything in its power short of invasion to put that regime out."

In addition to airstrikes, he recommended withdrawal of U.S. recognition of the Nicaraguan government and recognition of a Nicaraguan government in exile that would be entitled to U.S. military support.

Economic sanctions should be considered, "perhaps even including a quarantine," Gates wrote.

Lots of parallels.

Republicans just aren't complete without a scaaaaary enemy to keep them up at night, and happy visions of "shock and awe" to salve their terror.

Gates is just another conservative coward.

As for Nicaragua, Ortega was defeated in elections four years later. And a few weeks ago, he staged a comeback and was elected once again president of Nicaragua.

Funny, that thing called "democracy". "

Yes, funny indeed that thing called democracy.  I'll get back to that in a minute.  But Kos also had this to say about Gates:

 Brilliant. Bush's penchant for bringing out the most corrupt of retreads of past Republican administrations continues.

 Robert M. Gates was the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director for intelligence (DDI) from 1982 to 1986. He was confirmed as the CIA's deputy director of central intelligence (DDCI) in April of 1986 and became acting director of central intelligence in December of that same year. Owing to his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities.

This is who Bush has nominated for Secretary of Defense.

Looks like I'll have to do another Usual Suspects expose, this time on Gates.  Yeah, THAT'S a guy to be excited about.  Can't wait to read even more defenses of this pick by Obama telling us why we shouldn't be concerned.  Why we should take a "wait and see" attitude.

Let's look at what else was being said about Robert Gates two years ago in McJoan's excellent diary,  "Where have we heard this before?" :

 Defense Secretary Robert Gates is continuing to cite iffy intelligence about Iran and its involvment in Iraq.

 SEVILLE, Spain Feb 9, 2007 (AP)— Serial numbers and markings on explosives used in Iraq provide "pretty good" evidence that Iran is providing either weapons or technology for militants there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asserted Friday.

Offering some of the first public details of evidence the military has collected, <b>Gates said, "I think there's some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found," that point to Iran....</b>

Gates, who is attending his first NATO defense ministers meeting, said Iran is "very much involved in providing either the technology or the weapons themselves for these explosively formed projectiles. Now they don't represent a big percentage of the IED attacks but they're extremely lethal."

Gates said the raids combined with the movement of an additional U.S. aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf have created a stir, but said the Bush administration has no intention of attacking Iran. 

At least he's not calling it a slam dunk.

So Gates is someone who will pass on the administrations lies and propaganda to further their agenda.  Great.  And keeping him is change HOW? 

In summation, I think McJoan nailed it  pretty well last year in her diary Who's Running This Show Anyway?:

So maybe we don't know anything until April, maybe it's September, maybe we have 35,000 more troops going into Iraq, maybe we don't. Secretary Gates today in a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday the United States could consider reducing troop levels in Iraq later this year, contradicting comments by a senior military commander....

"The outcome of that evaluation is not foreordained," Gates told the defense subcommittee of the Senate's Appropriations Committee.

"I think if we see some very positive progress and it looks like things are headed in the right direction, then that's the point at which I think we can begin to consider reducing some of these forces," Gates said.

The gang that can't shoot straight. We're going to trust them with any more money, any more time, any more troops?

And now we're going to keep trusting Gates?  Because Obama says so?

Which brings us back to that funny thing called "democracy".  What is a democracy?  There's an interesting take on what constitutes a democracy over at DemocracyNow:

 Question is what is a democracy supposed to be? That’s exactly a debate that goes back to the constitutional convention. But in recent years in the 20th century, it’s been pretty well articulated by important figures. So at the liberal end the progressive end, the leading public intellectual of the 20th century was Walter Lippman. A Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy progressive. And a lot of his work was on a democratic theory and he was pretty frank about it. If you took a position not all that different from James Madison’s. He said that in a democracy, the population has a function. Its function is to be spectators, not participants. He didn’t call it the population. He called it the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders. The ignorant and meddlesome outsiders have a function and namely to watch what’s going on. And <b>to push a lever every once in a while and then go home.</b> But, the participants are us, us privileged, smart guys. Well that’s one conception of democracy. And you know essentially we’ve seen an episode of it. The population very often doesn’t accept this. As I mentioned, just very recent polls, people overwhelmingly oppose it. But they’re atomized, separated. Many of them feel hopeless, unorganized, and don’t feel they can do anything about it. So they dislike it. But that’s where it ends.

In a functioning democracy like say Bolivia or the United States in earlier stages, they did something about it. That’s why we have the New Deal measures, the Great Society measures.  In fact just about any step, you know, women’s rights, end of slavery, go back as far as you like, it doesn’t happen as a gift. And it’s not going to happen in the future. The commentators are pretty well aware of this. They don’t put it the way I’m going to, but if you read the press, it does come out. So take our local newspaper at the liberal end of the spectrum, “Boston Globe,” you probably saw right after the election, a front page story, the lead front page story was on how Obama developed this wonderful grassroots army but he doesn’t have any debts. Which supposed to be a good thing. So he’s free to do what he likes. Because he has no debts, the normal democratic constituency, labor, women, minorities and so on, they didn’t bring him into office. So he owes them nothing

What he had was an army that he organized of people who got out the vote for Obama. For what the press calls, Brand Obama. They essentially agree with the advertisers, it’s brand Obama. That his army was mobilized to bring him to office. They regard that as a good thing, accepting the Lippman conception of democracy, the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders are supposed to do what they’re told and then go home. The Wall Street Journal, at the opposite end of the spectrum, also had an article about the same thing at roughly the same time. Talked about the tremendous grassroots army that has been developed, which is now waiting for instructions. What should they do next to press forward <b>Obama’s agenda</b>? Whatever that is. But whatever it is, the army’s supposed to be out there taking instructions, and press work. Los Angeles Times had similar articles, and there are others. What they don’t seem to realize is what they’re describing, the ideal of what they’re describing, is dictatorship, not democracy. Democracy, at least not in the Lippman sense, it proved- I pick him out because he’s so famous, but it’s a standard position. But in the sense of say, much of the south, where mass popular movements developed programs; organize to take part in elections but that’s one part of an ongoing process. And brings somebody from their own ranks to implement the programs that they develop, and if the person doesn’t they’re out. Ok, that’s another kind of democracy. So it’s up to us to choose which kind of democracy we want. And again, that will determine what comes next.

So which kind of Democracy are we?  The kind that isn't really a democracy at all?  The kind that takes its orders from the top down?  Or the kind that demands from the bottom up?  You know, a REAL democracy?  I think we all know the answer to that question.

In retrospect, this commment in the Kos diary looks poignantly tragic in its naivete:

783 Days Left (5+ / 0-)

I believe we are going to survive the Bush years! But he makes it difficult to sustain the belief. Why can't Bush appoint morally decent and competent people to positions in the government- instead of ideological screw-ups

Indeed?  And why can't Obama do the same?  Because we don't MAKE him do so!  And until this becomes a community that looks beyond just electing Democrats, we're never going to get to determine what comes next.  We're just going to remain a community that pulls the lever for the "D" and then goes home.

I, for one, intend to express my dissatisfaction with the selection of "shoot first crazy neocons" like Gates, hardcore "free trade" economists from the University of Chicago like Goolsbee, and any other right wing wacko that Obama "tells us" we have to accept.

I'm not going home till the fights over.

Cross posted at Pen's Pages

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