The Afghan War and Examining Heads

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates told cadets at West Point that "In my opinion, 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,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it."

I'd like to propose a coda to the "Gates Doctrine": Any current defense secretary who advises the president to prolong the current wars in Asia and the Middle East should have his head examined.

The future is now, Mr. Secretary. It's time to end our costly and futile wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's time to support our troops by bringing them home.

And for our next and future nation-building target, let's take a look around us. There's plenty of work to be done right here in the good ol' USA.

Professor Astore writes regularly for and can be reached at