Monday, April 21, 2008

Reporters twist things

Secretary of Defense Gates, in a speech today:

"My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield. I’ve been wrestling for months to get more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets into the theatre. Because people were stuck in old ways of doing business, it’s been like pulling teeth."

The Associated Press interpretation:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the Air Force is not doing enough to help in the Iraq and Afghanistan war effort, complaining that some military leaders are "stuck in old ways of doing business."

Gates said in a speech at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., that getting the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Iraq and Afghanistan has been "like pulling teeth."


4/23: added - Gates responds to AP:

Gates said that a close reading of his speech shows "it's not a dig at the Air Force at all. In fact, a significant part of the speech was full of praise at what the Air Force has done in the Middle East, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the whole theater." Gates pointed to his specific comments about how USAF cargo aircraft have gotten convoys off the road, as well as USAF's "total control of the air, the medevac capabilities, and so on. So, there was a lot in that speech that praised the Air Force." Gates said his remark that it's been like "pulling teeth" to get more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets in-theater was "focused on all the services." He added that he was trying to jab the "bureaucracy in ...the Department of Defense as a whole" and "really had nothing to do with the people downrange. They're doing an incredible job."

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