Posted tagged ‘Robert Gates’

Last World War I Veteran Dies at 110

February 28, 2011

Frank W. Buckles, the last known U.S. veteran of World War I, died yesterday at the age of 110.

From the New York Times:

He was only a corporal and he never got closer than 30 or so miles from the Western Front trenches, but Mr. Buckles became something of a national treasure as the last living link to the two million men who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France in “the war to end all wars.”

Frail, stooped and hard of hearing, but sharp of mind, Mr. Buckles was named grand marshal of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington in 2007. He was a guest at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day 2007 for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He was honored by Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon and met with President George W. Bush at the White House in March 2008.

United States Senators played host to him at the Capitol in June 2008 for the impending 90th anniversary of the World War I armistice. And he appeared before a Senate subcommittee in December 2009 to support legislation named in his honor to bestow federal status on a World War I memorial on the National Mall built in the 1930s.

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WikiLeaks Rape Case to be Reopened

September 1, 2010

According to CNN, the rape case involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which made international news, is being reopened. Swedish police arrested Assange last month on charges of both rape and molestation.

From the article:

“There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed,” read a statement from Marianne Ny, Sweden’s director of public prosecutions. “Considering information available at present, my judgment is that the classification of the crime is rape.”

She said more investigation is necessary before she can make a final decision.

An ongoing investigation about a separate charge of molestation will be extended, she added, but the charge will also be escalated to include a sexual component.

David McKiernan Replaced as Top General in Afghanistan

May 11, 2009

The Pentagon has announced that it is replacing its top general in Afghanistan.

From the Associated Press:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he asked for the resignation of Gen. David McKiernan. Gates said new leadership is needed as the Obama administration launches its strategy in the seven-year-old campaign.

The change is aimed at “getting fresh thinking, fresh eyes on the problem,” Gates told a Pentagon news conference.

The move comes as more than 21,000 additional U.S. forces begin to arrive in Afghanistan, dispatched by Obama to confront the Taliban more forcefully this spring and summer.

Replacing McKiernan will be Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who has had a top administrative job at the Joint Chiefs of Staff for less than a year. He is a former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command.

Director of White House Military Office Resigns

May 8, 2009

An Air Force flyover that caused panic on the streets of New York last month cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $357,000 and has left one White House employee without a job.

From MSNBC:

On Friday, President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office.

The president was said to have been furious about the incident and had ordered an internal review. The mission had been approved by Caldera, who had apologized.

Also on Friday, in a letter to Sen. John McCain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates provided requested details of the incident.

The cost of a jumbo jet that is used as the president’s plane Air Force One was estimated between $300,658 and $328,835.

The cost of two accompanying F-16 jets was $28,177 for a total of $357,012, Gates said.

Barack Obama Announces National Security Team

December 1, 2008

No surprises here. President-elect Barack Obama announced early this morning that Robert Gates would remain as defense secretary, making President Bush’s Pentagon chief his own as he seeks to wind down the U.S. role in Iraq.

Obama also, as anticipated, picked former Democrat and campaign rival Hillary Clinton as his choice for secretary of state.

From the Associated Press:

At a news conference, Obama also introduced retired Marine Gen. James Jones as White House national security adviser, former Justice Department official Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security.

The announcements rounded out the top tier of the team that will advise the incoming chief executive on foreign and national security issues in an era marked by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism around the globe.

“The time has come for a new beginning, a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century,” Obama said as his Cabinet picks stood behind him on a flag-draped stage.

“We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships.”

Obama said his appointees “share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.”

Gates’ presence in Chicago made him a visible symbol of the transition in power from the Bush administration to one headed by Obama.

The president-elect, reprising a campaign vow, said he would give the military a new mission as soon as he takes office: “responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.” He did not mention his oft-repeated pledge to withdraw most U.S. combat troops within 16 months.

He also appointed campaign foreign policy aide Susan Rice as his ambassador to the United Nations. Obama said he would make her a member of the Cabinet, an increase in stature from the Bush era.

Obama’s announcements marked a shift in emphasis, after a spate of appointments last week for his economic team.

James Jones to Be Named National Security Advisor

December 1, 2008

James Jones is expected to be announced by Barack Obama next week as part of the president-elect’s national security team, along with Robert Gates as secretary of defense and Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

From Time:

A year ago it would have seemed all but impossible. Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate with the earliest and most outspoken record of opposition to the war in Iraq, wouldn’t name the man who led the Marines during the run-up to the war — and failed to publicly criticize the operation’s flawed planning — as his closest national security aide.

But he has. And it’s a testament to both Obama’s needs as a young and untested Commander-in-Chief and the political abilities of Gen. James Jones, Marine Corps commandant from July 1999 through January 2003, that Jones will fill one of the most powerful positions in America, National Security Advisor. At first glance, Jones doesn’t make a ton of sense as the man to help Obama through his now-familiar litany of challenges: two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a global anti-terror campaign, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, rising India-Pakistan tensions and a moribund Middle East peace process. Add to that list a new, self-created challenge: the selection of Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates — two smart, strong and politically opposed people — to head the traditionally antagonistic State and Defense Departments.

Obama doesn’t really know Jones. Back in October, then-candidate Obama said he’d valued Jones advice, but in fact, he’d only spoken with him twice at that point, and Jones was never in his close circle of advisors during the primaries or general election. Jones’ political affiliation is not clear, though he has never been called a Democrat, and his lack of public complaint during the planning for the war drew criticism, despite later reports that he had argued with Donald Rumsfeld and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace. But those who know Jones say his strengths vastly outweigh his perceived weaknesses. In Jones, Obama gets someone with instant and deep understanding of military plans and details. He gets a 6’5″ Marine Corps veteran at his side who has firsthand experience of combat theaters from Vietnam to Bosnia and who earned Defense Distinguished Service Medal, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with “V” for valor. While the uniformed military will follow the orders of the Commander-in-Chief no matter what, the public is more likely to support them when they’re being enforced by a decorated veteran with a long career on the battlefield.