Gates Looks For Root Causes of Terrorism

Does Robert Gates really work for George Bush? It doesn’t sound like it based upon some of the comments in a speech he recently gave in Asia.

While George Bush prefers a cowboy foreign policy, Gates wants to do it with a little help from our friends:

In particular, the challenge posed by terrorists inspired by radical ideologies cannot be overcome by any one nation — no matter how wealthy or powerful,” he said, alluding to U.S. efforts to build a lasting coalition.

With George Bush, we have Mission Accomplished. Gates is unwilling to say who is winning the terror war.

A member of the audience later asked Gates whether he thought the United States is winning the terror war.

He cited areas of progress, including the elimination in late 2001 of Afghanistan as a haven for al-Qaida. But he also said the Islamic extremists have managed since then to expand their recruiting grounds.

“On the negative side of the ledger, I think we have not made enough progress in trying to address some of the root causes of terrorism in some of these societies, whether it is economic deprivation or despotism that leads to alienation,” he said.

Root causes? Economic deprivation? Imagine how Dick Cheney would have gone on the attack if John Kerry said such things. Or if he said this:

He called for more “creative thinking” to address the root causes of Islamic extremism, but he added that even those efforts will not be the complete answer to winning what he called a long war on terrorism.

Cheney would have twisted this to mean that the whole Democratic war on terror would consist of nothing but a bunch of liberals sitting around thinking. That does’t fit in well with the Republican view of the war on terror, which combines an attack on a country which was not involved, along with Jack Bower torturing anyone who might have some information for him.

Finally things return to what we’d expect:

On Iraq, Gates spoke positively of the Bush administration’s new troop buildup and counterinsurgency effort.

There’s only so far that you can go in disagreeing with the boss.

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