Today, a book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will hit the stores. Already some parts of it have been released to the media, which, depending on their political preferences, have focused on the parts favorable or unfavorable to Obama and the Democrats.
But equally (if not more) important is Robert Gates’ disastrous tenure as Defense Secretary under both Presidents Bush and Obama, which, even before Obama’s arrival at the White House, began to sow the seeds of America’s military and thus geopolitical decline.
Crucial Platforms Killed On False Pretexts
Gates calls himself “a Defense Secretary at War”, even though he has never seen one day of combat, has never been deployed to a war zone, and spent his entire “career in the national security arena” as a bureaucrat in Washington, DC. Most of his book is about how he ran the disastrous and useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ll get to that later.
But first, let me tell you how Gates tried to pay for these utterly useless wars that he was singularly obsessed with: by killing the very weapons systems America needs now and will need in the future to deter and if necessary defeat China, Russia, Iran, and other potential aggressors.
Based on his singular obssession with Afghanistan and Iraq, his myopic shortsightedness, and his naive view of China and Russia, Gates killed over 50 crucial weapon programs based on the most idiotic of pretexts.
For example, he stopped the production of the F-22 fighter – the best jet fighter ever built – at a mere 187 copies, whereas the USAF had long said that at least 337 would be needed to maintain US air superiority and defeat advanced Russian and Chinese fighters, and despite clear evidence from experts such as those at the Air Force Association and Air Power Australia that ONLY the F-22 Raptor could meet that requirement.
Gates thus participated in the smear propaganda against the F-22, fired Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne and Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley (who advocated continuing its production), forced other Air Force F-22 advocates to retire, and advised Obama to veto any defense bill containing funding for F-22 production – a veto threat that sufficed to scare Congress into deleting that funding after it had already been authorized by the House Armed Services Committee, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the full House.
Gates also refused to buy the F-15 Silent Eagle – the newest version of the venerable and combat-proven F-15 Eagle equipped with the newest radar and IRST system, conformal (internal) weapon bays, and stealthy from the front. He put all of America’s airpower eggs into one basket – the utterly failed F-35 program – and killed virtually every alternative to it.
That decision has proven itself to be the most idiotic any defense secretary has ever made, for the F-35 is so well-known for its cost-overruns, delays, bugs, and giant weaknesses that there wouldn’t be enough space even in a dedicated article to list them all, or even to list all references to sources narrating them.
But those cost overruns, delays, bugs, and weaknesses were already well-known in 2009, when Gates killed the F-22 Raptor. Since then, of course, the F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program’s performance has dramatically deteriorated further: the cost overruns and delays have mounted, critical systems have been deleted from the F-35 to reduce cost, and allies are now balking at buying it and looking for alternatives. Which competitors like Dassault, EADS, Saab, and others are all too happy to provide.
(What is the difference between the F-22 and the F-35? The former was designed from the start to do one thing: achieve absolute air superiority. To that end, it is has a tiny radar signature to evade radar detection, is very fast and high-flying, is very agile and maneuverable, has the most powerful fighter radar in the world, and can carry 8 missiles in its stealthy mode – or 12 when enemy air defenses are down. By contrast, the F-35 is not truly stealthy, can carry only 4 missiles, is slow and low-flying, and is so heavy and unmaneuverable that jets from the 1960s could easily defeat it. It is useful neither for air to air nor air to ground combat. It’s not capable or survivable enough for high-tech environments, and is too expensive and overbuilt for counter-insurgency operations.)
The F-22 was but one of the many crucial weapon systems Bob Gates killed, thus leaving the US military unprepared for the current military competition with China and Russia. He killed the stealthy Zumwalt class of destroyers at just 3 ships, supposedly on cost grounds, but ignoring the fact that it was precisely the reduction of planned orders from 32 to 3 ships that caused the price to spike – because economies of scale were lost. He killed the AC-X gunship, a badly-needed replacement for the USAF’s Vietnam-era AC-130 gunships, and the EP-X electronic intelligence plane, a sorely needed replacement for the EP-3. He terminated C-17 production at 221 aircraft, claiming the USAF had ordered enough of these, when the USAF was actually so short on airlifters it had to rent Russian aircraft – at higher prices than what it would pay for BUYING more C-17s.
Most worryingly of all, Gates terminated the Multiple Kill Vehicle, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Airborne Laser programs in 2009. The MKV would’ve been a kinetic metal “warhead” designed to shoot down enemy missiles. It was to be kind of a defensive MIRV bus which would’ve released dozens of small “kill vehicles” that would’ve shot down lots of enemy ballistic missiles all at once. (Currently, a single kill vehicle from a single interceptor can kill only one enemy missile.) This would’ve solved the target discrimination problem missile defense critics often complain about – which among the missiles or warheads are real ones and which ones are duds would’ve been irrelevant, because ALL of them would be shot down.
The KEI and the Airborne Laser, for their part, would’ve enabled the US to shoot down enemy missiles in the earliest phase of their flight, when their countermeasures have NOT been deployed yet and their deadly payloads have not yet been released. In other words, when enemy missiles are the most vulnerable. This would’ve come in handy when countering any missiles, especially the hypersonic, high-speed global range missile recently tested by China (as reported by Bill Gertz in the WFB).
But America no longer has that option – because Secretary Gates terminated both of these programs in 2009, even though the ABL program, despite its infancy, was progressing well, having passed 3 out of its 5 tests before being terminated.
So when you read Bill Gertz’s articles in the WFB, the Washington Times, on Fox News, or elsewhere about China’s global range hypersonic missiles, remember America does NOT have defenses capable of stopping those missiles, and that is thanks to Obama and Gates.
Russian and Chinese threats on the horizon
But China’s development as a huge threat to US and allied security, and as a contender to replace the US as the world’s top military power, is nothing new. It was already evident during Gates’ tenure as SECDEF.
Already during Gates’ time, there already was strong evidence that China was closing most gaps with the US military and working to create its own unique advantages. There already was solid evidence China was working to overtake the US militarily and would achieve that objective absent US efforts to maintain an edge over Beijing. Yet, Gates harbored a desire to appease Beijing as well as to drive America deeper into useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So he ignored all that evidence, surpressed the truth and professional advice, lied to the American public, appeased Beijing with word and deed, and killed the very programs needed to counter the People’s Republic’s military buildup.
By 2009, China already had more attack submarines, and almost as many subs in total, as the US – and was steadily replacing old ones with new, ultra-quiet ones. It already had a large nuclear arsenal. It already had two stealth fighters under development. It already had almost as many ships in total as the US Navy, had deployed a dense and modern air defense network, already wielded thousands of missiles capable of targeting all US bases in the Western Pacific, already possessed anti-satellite kinetic and laser weapons, and already had hundreds of advanced fighter aircraft.
Russia was also busy building up its military, increasing its nuclear arsenal, and developing new, cutting edge weapons.
In 2010, Russia’s first stealth fighter, the PAK FA, first flew. This aircraft, when it enters service, will render EVERY fighter in the world except the F-22 Raptor impotent, irrelevant, obsolete, and useless. It will essentially be Russia’s response to the Raptor.
In January 2011, China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, took to the air – at exactly the time Gates was visiting China. The Gates Pentagon was caught completely by surprise by this development, even though those of us who were clear-eyed about the Chinese threat had been warning for years that the J-20 (J-XX) would soon perform its maiden flight.
At the same time, China and Russia were also protecting America’s enemies North Korea and Iran and shielding them from any consequences of their provocations and illegal nuclear programs.
Also, advanced Chinese and Russian weapons, including the forementioned fighters, will be available to anyone able to pay for them.
But whenever someone dared to call on the US to prepare itself for possible confrontations with China, Gates derided that person as ill with “next-war-itis”, and he ordered the DOD to limit itself to fighting useless “counter-insurgency” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under Gates, tens of billions of dollars were thrown away buying mine-resistant vehicles and nonstealthy, short-ranged, poorly armed drones like the Predator and the Reaper – which are useful only for fighting terrorists, but utterly useless against any nation state wielding any advanced weaponry.
Now that the Iraq war is long over, and the Afghan war is coming to an end, all those mine-resistant (MRAP) vehicles and drones will have to be sold to allies, stored, or scrapped.
Thanks to Gates, who stubbornly advocated staying in Afghanistan and Iraq almost indefinitely and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at them, the US is now dramatically worse off: well over a trillion dollars has been spent fighting those wars, billions more will be spent on caring for veterans of these wars, and over 5,400 brave US troops have died for no good reason.
While Gates attempts to portray himself as a man who stood by military uniformed leaders during crisis times, his tenure in the Pentagon was actually marked by an unrestrained use of political power to surpress the truth and professional military advice in order to fund Gates’ pet projects like the F-35, MRAP vehicles, drones, and, of course, the useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Enabling Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US
As Defense Secretary, Gates has greatly helped Obama gut the US military – and not just through the program killings listed above, but also through his advocacy of arms control agreements that obligate only the US to disarm itself.
Gates supported the treasonous New START treaty, which obligates the US (but not Russia) to cut its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal to just 1,550 warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems – and Obama envisions even more cuts, down to just 1,000 warheads. That will necessitate, among other things, cutting at least 30 ICBMs. Gates lied to the Congress that the treaty would’ve allowed the US to maintain a sufficient nuclear arsenal and, ridiculously, claimed it would “protect” US nuclear modernization programs, which it actually threatens. He and Hillary Clinton also lied to the Congress that the treaty does not constrain US missile defenses, which it actually does.
Gates also supported the Law of the Sea Treaty, which the Reagan Administration rightly rejected and which would’ve cost America its sovereignty, subordinating it to the corrupt UN and its kangaroo maritime dispute courts, and would’ve cost US taxpayers billions of dollars in new contributions to the wasteful, corrupt UN.
Final verdict: an Obama yes-boy and a traitor
Therefore, based on the above facts about Gates’ tenure as SECDEF, an honest person cannot assess him as anything else as an Obama yes-boy, a traitor, and an utter failure as Defense Secretary. No honest person, and especially no Republican, should give him credit for anything – he does not deserve it. Gates deserves, in fact, to be tried, convicted, and executed as a traitor.