Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gates: "Not Satisfied"

NATO allies take notice: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is going to the Alliance's defense ministers' meeting in Noordwijk, the Netherlands this week with an axe to grind.

Speaking in Kiev, Ukraine, today, Gates gave reporters an insight into what he intends to focus on at the NATO meeting.

"I am not satisfied that an alliance whose members have over 2 million soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen cannot find the modest additional resources that have been committed for Afghanistan," he warns.

Right on. Go get 'em, SecDef. It's an old story, but it's rapidly approaching the tipping point. Canada, Britain, the Dutch, and others who have been providing the bulk of the ISAF forces in the south and have been doing the majority of the shooting and the majority of the bleeding are beginning to get tapped out, and they aren't happy at the lack of dedication others are showing to the mission. Yes, someone has to watch the north, but there's no reason it can't be rotated.

Speaking of the Dutch, there's a bit of an ongoing kerfluffle in that country regarding the ISAF mission. Turns out the Dutch are pretty much willing to stay past the original 2008 deadline if they need to, because first and foremost they're interested in getting the mission done. Unfortunately, the leakage of this information has probably hurt their negotiating position to get someone to take their place. They're doing good work, but they can't do it indefinitely, something the rest of Europe doesn't seem to understand.