Cocky Karzai Calls Gates' Bluff
Defense sec gets dissed by Afghanistan, Iraq 'puppets': Dowd
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2009 9:01 AM CST
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday Dec. 8, 2009, in Kabul.   (AP Photo/Justin Sullivan, Pool)
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(Newser) – Robert Gates may be the man "running the world's best military," a force not inconsequential to stability in Afghanistan these days, but Hamid Karzai thumbed his nose at the defense secretary on his recent visit. "Puppets just aren’t what they used to be," notes Maureen Dowd, writing from Iraq, where Gates fared no better with Nouri al-Maliki, who stood him up.

Looking President Obama's 2011 exit strategy squarely in the eye, Karzai this week warned, “For another 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature with its own resources.” "Gates and Obama may have wanted to 'light a fire' and warn that the ATM is closing," Dowd writes, "but Karzai called their bluff."