Robert Gates failed
Somehow, Dana Milbank’s column, “Gates should have spoken sooner,” reminded me of Jan. 17, 1961, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s remarkable farewell address to the nation, in which he warned us “against acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” What was remarkable was that the warning came at a time when our sworn enemy, the Soviet Union’s Nikita Krushchev, wanted to “bury” us, and China’s Chairman Mao considered us “a paper tiger.”
Surely, this remarkable soldier who, as the supreme allied commander, led us to victory in World War II did not come to that crucial conclusion three days before he left the office. It must have been the result of years of experience both as someone who rose to the level of a five-star general and a two-term president. He was in perfect position to actually do something all along so that the military-industrial complex would not still be such a national issue when we no longer have enemies such as the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic and Mao’s People’s Republic of China.
Robert Gates’ case is, however, beyond comprehension. When an individual’s position, either by the virtue of being elected or appointed, affects the life of a nation and beyond, then “being true to thyself” is not at all sufficient and “being true to others” takes precedence.
The president, vice president, and the Congress had the right to know in real time what our secretary of defense thought about them. He could have affected changes beneficial to our country, rather than wait until his memoir is published. Someone in his position should take life one day at a time and not wait to reveal what is in his heart to some safe future that might never come.
Mahalo to Collin Stewart for his continued excellent and informed coverage of albizia impacts to our island. A shout-out to Rep. Faye Hanohano and Sen. Russell Ruderman for introducing appropriation bills to get money to our civil defense agency to remove these hazard trees from evacuation routes before the next major storm!
Thanks to Rep. Cindy Evans, who scheduled a speedy hearing and has moved that bill forward. Fourteen thousand of you lost power in this storm — let’s see 14,000 letters of support for albizia control hit the capitol.hawaii.gov website.