War

Gates Names Petraeus' Successor

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced General Petraeus’ successor as overall commander of Middle East operations, including the Afghan and Iraq wars. General James Mattis, praised by Gates as one of the military’s “outstanding combat leaders and strategic thinkers,” will be the new head of Central Command. Since General Stanley McChrystal’s firing over his controversial comments in Rolling Stone magazine, Gates has outlined a new set of rules for the military and the media. He might have his hands full with Mattis, however. Mattis has already had to field questions about an on-camera 2005 interview in which he said: "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. You go into Afghanistan; you've got guys who slap around women for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway, so it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them." Gates’ response? He said the appropriate action was taken at the time, and the “subsequent five years have demonstrated that the lesson was learned.”