I don't have any comments on Mumbai with the exception to say that it is easy to become sensationalist in the wake of events such as this, but typically not very constructive. As a matter of fact, on 9-11 I found it interesting those who stayed at the office versus those who went on an emotional holidy instead. Cool leadership and pragmatic responses are the litmus between the manager-type-politician who takes the next weather vane change and jumps aboard, and the leader who looks further into the future to take the right step.
So what kind of person has Robert Gates proven to be? Well lets not compare Gates to Rumsfeld, that isn't fair to Gates. And I'll not pander to a position, a title, or the cult of personality.. but let us observe that the type of leadership that makes a university president possible, creating concensus, listening, building support, is in actuallity what is needed in the current position with a background as outlined below.
Robert Michael Gates (born September 25, 1943) is currently serving as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense. He took office on December 18, 2006. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Before he joined the CIA, he served with the United States Air Force (USAF). After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates also served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton, that has studied the Iraq War. He was also the first pick to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when it was created following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but he declined the appointment in order to remain President of Texas A&M University.
Gates accepted the nomination as Secretary of Defense position on November 8, 2006, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. He was confirmed with bipartisan support. In a 2007 profile written by former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Time named Gates one of the year's most influential people. In 2008, Gates was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. President-elect Barack Obama has offered Gates the continued position as Defense Secretary under his administration, and Gates has reportedly accepted. This will make Gates one of the few persons to hold a Cabinet-level position under two Presidents of different parties.
Now lets call em what they are: Judith Miller.. well here is an example where
Judith Miller (born January 2, 1948), is an American journalist. Miller, based in Washington D.C., was a prominent New York Times reporter with access to top U.S. government officials. Her coverage of these officials, especially regarding the Bush administration’s conclusions about Iraq’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Program and her involvement in the Plame Affair, made her a conspicuous media personality. The work that Miller and Michael Gordon did in presenting the case for WMDs has been proven false. The New York Times apologized publicly for their poor reporting. Ms. Miller lost her job over these reporting blunders though Mr. Gordon has remained a reporter for the New York Times. Miller announced her retirement from The New York Times on November 9, 2005.
Judith Miller is what I hope India and Pakistan avoid, for as Judith writes about Gates, Gates writes of the personal and political toll of the top job on the presidents he served. He more than other civil servants knows that presidents need the best advice they can get. “The elation of victory is fleeting and the burden of responsibility is enduring,” he writes. “This is why character counts for so much in a president.”
Well let me say this, and this is why I choose this topic, Robert Gates has character, you Judy do not. Nor did Donald Rumsfeld. I think it is a testament of character that even those who lack it can recognize it as Judy Miller's blog demonstrates. I think what is often in absence is character, even when things are tough, when one is asked to tough, character counts. You need somebody who gets the facts correct and doesn't go on emotive holidays. Gates was a good choice, Pakistan and India will be scrambling to find somebody of Gates character if they behave like say.. Rumsfeld and Judith Miller, and that is a warning from the event horizon to think twice before saying anything once on Mumbai.