Robert M. Gates

(Robert Michael Gates)

Robert M. Gates
Robert M. Gates
  • Born: September 25, 1943
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Robert Michael Gates is an American statesman, scholar, intelligence analyst, and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. He was originally appointed by President George W. Bush, but was retained for service by President Barack Obama. Gates began his career serving as an officer in the United States Air Force but was quickly recruited by the CIA. Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and was Director of Central Intelligence under President George H. W. Bush. After leaving the CIA, Gates became president of Texas A&M University and was a member of several corporate boards. Gates served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan commission co-chaired by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, that studied the lessons of the Iraq War.

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[William J.] Casey was guilty of Contempt of Congress from the day he was sworn in. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
… our record in predicting where we will use military force over the last 40 years has been perfect. We have never once gotten it right. Military & Veterans
Any future Defense Secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined. War & Peace
Any legislation that is passed by one political party can be reversed by the other party. The only way to produce lasting legislation in America is bipartisanship. Without it, there is no sustainablity.
Any time you see a straight line on a map of the Middle East, Winston Churchill probably drew it. States. Nations & Nationhood
Anyone who has ever negotiated an agreement knows that in order to get it, you have to be willing to walk away from the table.. Negotiating & Negotiations
Can I just finish the 2 wars we’re in before you go on to another. War & Peace
CIA is slowly turning into the Department of Agriculture. The agency has an advanced case of bureaucratic arteriosclerosis. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Corruption is a problem in almost all developing countries. Corruption ;Foreign Aid
Democracy and freedom … are based on democratic institutions, the rule of law, and a civil society. None of these Arab states have any of these to any significant degree. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Development is a lot cheaper than soldiers. Foreign Aid
Every president I worked for , at some point in his presidency, would get so pissed off at the Israelis that he couldn’t speak. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Haven’t we learned that when you go to war, the outcome is unpredictable. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
I learned serving under William J. Casey, that the Clandestine Service is the heart and soul of the agency [the CIA]. It is also the part that can land you in jail. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
I would listen with growing outrage as hypocritical and obtuse American Senators made all these demands of Iraqi legislators and yet themselves could not even pass budgets. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
In a Congressional Hearing, when the red light of the television camera came on it had the effect of a full moon on weir wolves. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
It’s just a fact of life that Congressmen vote on bills that they have never even read.. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Our military plans for everything. Military & Veterans
People have no idea how much I hate this job. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Questions of motive are very difficult in intelligence analysis. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
The Chinese military is on a different page from the Chinese civilian leadership. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The demilitarization of Europe—where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it—has gone from the blessing of the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st. Arms Race & Disarmament
The President should be very careful and reluctant to draw a line in the sand, but when he does so, crossing it must be fatal. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The sad reality of war is that if you are going to be in day-to-day combat, there are going to be casualties. War & Peace
The troops are at war, but the Pentagon is not. War & Peace
There are so many elements of the Department of Defense that have to sign off to do anything, that any one of them was able to stop something. The only person who could make something happen was the Secretary of Defense. Bureaucracy
There is a lot of talk of the growth of radicalization [of Moslems in America]. Yes there has been growth, but between December 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009, we had 46 cases prosecuted… so I would say that the number of extremists are very small. Let’s stay calm. Terrorism
There's a difference between being friendly and being friends. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
This is a time in which the sort of criticism of the President we are hearing troubles me. It shouldn’t be that speaking with one American voice, in a time of crisis, these days seems like a quaint idea. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Today we will find most nations to be both our partners and our adversaries—sometimes simultaneously. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
We knew then that we could not win the war. War & Peace
When we go to war we always make some wrong assumptions. The most common is that the war will be short. War & Peace
You can never predict what problems a President will face. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
A wild and crazy weekend involves sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigar, reading a book.
Defense is not like other discretionary spending.
Even when I was at CIA, I'd go to visit foreign leaders and I'd say, 'You know, I'm not a diplomat. I'm just an old CIA guy'... I said, 'If I wanted to be diplomatic, I'd have been a diplomat.'
Health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I consider myself a Republican.
I don't think any president that I worked with has ever said 'pretty please.'
I had no concerns - I had no reason to have concerns based on what was available to me about North's contacts with the private sector people, but I didn't think a CIA person should do it.
I had no difficulty as Secretary of Defense moving from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.
I have always that there ought to be some kind of mandatory national service, not necessarily in the military but to show everybody that freedom isn't free, that everybody has an obligation to the nation as a community. Freedom & Liberty
I have always voted for who I believed was the best person.
I have instincts.
I have tried to maintain civil relationships with everyone I meet - and, even if I violently disagree with them, try to be respectful.
I mean, when you get down to very low numbers of nuclear weapons, and you contemplate going to zero, how do you deal with the reality of that technology being available to almost any country that seeks to pursue it? And what conditions do you put in place? Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I read in the press, and therefore it must be true, that no secretary of defense had ever been quoted as arguing for a bigger budget for State.
I think that Iran with a nuclear weapon is extremely destabilizing. I think it could precipitate a nuclear arms race in the region.
I will always be an advocate in terms of wars of necessity. I am just much more cautious on wars of choice.
I wish I could set deadlines for the Congress, but that's just not the way the Constitution is written.
If Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything in recent history, it is the unpredictability of war and that these things are easier to get into than to get out of, and, frankly, the facile way in which too many people talk about, 'Well, let's just go attack them.' History ;War & Peace
If Poindexter made a comment to me like that, it would have been in the context of once the authorized program is approved there would be no point in having any of these private benefactors any longer.
If there's ever an example that military power alone cannot be successful in Afghanistan, I think it was the Soviet experience. Power
I'm a big advocate of drones.
I've been very sensitive for a long time to the repeated pattern, during economic hard times or after a war, of the United States' essentially unilaterally disarming. Time ;War & Peace
I've seen, all too often in my career, people coming in to lead agencies and organizations and trying to impose change from the top down. Never works. You never have enough time. Time
I've spent my entire adult life with the United States as a superpower and one that had no compunction about spending what it took to sustain that position. And it didn't have to look over its shoulder because our economy was so strong. Life
Most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done. Business, Commerce & Finance
No president is well-served by groupthink or by everybody singing from the same sheet of music they think he's on. Music, Chants & Rapps
One of my favorite little sayings is, 'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.'
One of the big changes in the Congress since I first came to Washington is that all of these folks go home every weekend. They used to play golf together; their families got to know each other, go to dinner at each other's homes at weekends - and these would be people who were political adversaries.
Some people have said, in so many words, that I'm kind of wooly-headed in believing that the Iranians would see not having nuclear weapons as more in their security interest than not.
The reality is, the United States has global interests. Our defense budget is about the same as the defense budgets or military budgets of every other country in the world put together.
The United States has been a global power since late in the 19th century. Power
There is no international problem that can be addressed or solved without the engagement and leadership of the United States and everybody in the world knows that, its just fact of life. So sometimes I think we could conduct ourselves with a little more humility. Life ;Leaders & Leadership
There's a lot of books out there about how you lead change in business, but I've certainly not seen any... on how you do that in public institutions. Business, Commerce & Finance
Things have gotten so nasty in Washington.
Well, Israel, obviously, thinks of the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat to Israel.
Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership. Leaders & Leadership
Well, what I've said is that the war in Iraq will always be clouded by how it began, which was a wrong premise, that there were in fact no weapons of nuclear - weapons of mass destruction. War & Peace
When I was the director of Central Intelligence in the early '90s, I tried to get the Air Force to partner with us in building drones. And they didn't want to, because they had no pilots.
You know, if I were an - if I were a Taliban, I'd say, 'What did al-Qaida ever do for me except get me kicked out of Afghanistan?'

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