US defence secretary to quit next yearAugust 16th, 2010 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Aug 16 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said he will quit his job next year.
Gates said that by 2011 it will be known whether the strategy the administration is implementing is working in Afghanistan, and “it seems like somewhere there in 2011 is a logical opportunity to hand off”, Xinhua reported.
“This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year,” Gates said in an interview published by Foreign Policy magazine.
He noted it will be “a mistake to wait until January 2012″, when the election year starts, as the administration “might have trouble getting the kind of person they want if there’s a possibility that they might only be in the job for a year”.
“Who knows what the election situation will look like,” Gates said, noting that’s why he thinks “sometime in 2011 sounds pretty good” for leaving his job.
“I think the toughest thing in public life is knowing when to dance off the stage. And to leave when people say, ‘I wish you weren’t leaving so soon,’ instead of ‘How the hell do we get that guy out of there?’” he said.
Managing “two separate wars for every day I’ve been on the job is very wearing,” he added.
“There’s a certain point at which you just run out of energy.”
Gates, the 22nd secretary of defence, said if he stay until January 2011, he will have been in the job longer than all but four of his predecessors. Those four are Robert McNamara, Donald Rumsfeld, Cap Weinberger, and Charles Wilson.
He said if there are no concrete signs of progress with the recent US troop surge in Afghanistan, then he will recommend a change of course for Obama’s year-end Afghan strategy review.
“We’re just not going to plunge ahead with exactly the same strategy if it’s clear it’s not working.”
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