Noonan: Keep Gates at Pentagon

SecDef is rock of honesty and competence in chaos
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2008 9:38 AM CST
Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, right, shakes hands with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, as Gen. George Casey, Jr., watches at left, during her promotion ceremony to a four-star General, Friday, Nov. 14,...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The will-he-won’t-she dance of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is drawing all the attention, but, writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal, that’s not the most important Cabinet pick. Instead we ought to watch whether Obama does the right thing and asks Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stick around. “He is a bipartisan figure of respect—truly an object of across-the-board admiration,” Noonan writes.

Democrats might feel, understandably, that they deserve a chance to show they can run the Pentagon. But Gates’ skill and experience are too valuable to dispense with right now. “Of the possible Gates successors in the party none are—or can be—as knowledgeable in current on-the-ground realities. This is a particularly bad time for on-the-job training.”