I first read Robert Gates' book several years ago, and re-read chunks of it last month. He's a seriously sensible guy. (He even managed to come through Reaganville/Iran-Contraland with his integrity mostly intact.) I've been touting him for SecDef for more than a year—ever since he started clamoring for more money and resources at State. (Do Pentagon chiefs ever do that?)
And he's still banging his spoon on the high chair--here, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs:
I really like the bolded line, which is a direct quote from Petraus's congressional testimony.
I wish certain people had realized that six years ago.
As for killing and capturing (still necessary, of course), am I crazy, or do the (increasing) attacks in Mumbai, Kabul, and Islamabad offer Obama/Clinton an amazing opportunity to bring those three countries together with the U.S., putting aside squabbles, to collectively crush the crazies? All four governments are being directly, physically threatened by the same people.
Key question there: can the Pakistani civilian leaders remove the crucial impediment--the crazies in their military and intelligence arms? Can Clinton make the case that they have to, for the sake of their own existence?
The existence of terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba that have links with the Pakistani security apparatus but are outside the control of Pakistan’s own civilian authorities is the very definition of chaos. ... We need a second special negotiator for the Middle East, a skilled diplomat shuttling regularly among New Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul. (There has been some speculation, in fact, that Barack Obama is considering Richard Holbrooke, the former United Nations ambassador, for just such a job.)