Assange vs. Gates: Round 7,000
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is a busy man. He’s working hard, trying to trim a bloated budget and calm frustrated sailors down. The last thing he needs is more WikiLeaks to deal with. But it’s looking more and more likely that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will publish the remaining documents, though his team is reviewing them to block out names of sources so as not to endanger Afghan civilians (they've made it through 7,000 of 15,000 so far). And Gates had some strong words about the potential consequences of the release. “We don't have specific information of an Afghan being killed yet because of them,” he said, “But I put the emphasis on ‘yet.’” At the time Gates was speaking to sailors on the USS Higgins in San Diego, where he had to defend his budget-cutting plans: “The whole idea is to reduce contracts, reduce staff, consolidate headquarters, cut the overhead so that we can invest properly in force structure and force modernization.
Meanwhile, General David Petraeus’s media surge is under way, and he spent some time trying to explain to Meet the Press’s David Gregory that the July 2011 Afghanistan withdrawal date isn’t set in stone. The general said the pullout depends on conditions on the ground at the time, adding that he leaves the politicking around the issue to President Obama.
General Jim Jones is getting tired of people getting tired of the war in Afghanistan. And the sentiments themselves sound eerily familiar. The national-security adviser stressed that “The elements of success are all present, and they are visible.” Despite that, he said, the prospect of heading down the Vietnam antiwar road is “very worrisome.” Though progress is apparently being made, there is still lots more to be done—the Pakistan army, according to Jones and many before him, needs to do more to go after insurgents.