Gates, Obama: Different Parties, Similar Views

Defense secretary wants to close Gitmo, focus on Afghanistan
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2008 11:16 AM CST
Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates walk off the field after taking part in the coin toss before the start of the Notre Dame and Navy NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, in Baltimore.    (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – Assuming he keeps his job, Robert Gates will have a transformed set of instructions come Jan. 20: Once charged with winning the war in Iraq, the defense secretary will now have to end it. But Gates and Barack Obama have substantial agreements about the nation's military strategy, the New York Times reports, from shifting more troops to Afghanistan to shutting down Guantanamo.

Early in his tenure, Gates pushed hard to close Gitmo, although he was overruled. And while the defense secretary does not favor a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq, he is already planning significant decreases in American troop levels there. The president-elect, for his part, has said that he would withdraw all combat troops from Iraq, but not all American forces—possibly disappointing supporters who responded to his promise to "end the war."