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Kristol: Gates Blindsided by Rahm

4:56 PM, Oct 19, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Yesterday, in light of Rahm Emanuel's comments on delaying the decision on troops for Afghanistan, I asked: "Are Sunday talk show declarations by Emanuel and political advisor David Axelrod an appropriate way to announce the considered judgment of the president at this stage of a long Cabinet-level review process? Or is Emanuel end-running the process? Do Secretaries Gates and Clinton agree with Emanuel? Were they consulted before Rahm popped off?"

I've now been told by an authoritative source close to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that he had no advance warning that Emanuel would be saying any such thing.

Update: A former government official e-mails:

Sen. McCain and other supporters of the effort in Afghanistan have feared from the beginning of this process that Whie House politicos were trying to get the pesky military out of the policy loop. Now it appears they are bypassing even the SecDef. Its hard to think of another time when the White House chief of staff and politicos were making policy so independently of the national security team, in this case apparently excluding the SecDef, SecState, and the Chairman of the JCS. (The otherwise weak nationanl security advisor retired General Jim Jones serves only one purpose here: to provide a shield for the politicos to reject military advice.)

Maybe it all turns out well in the end, but it's an interesting indication of how this administration runs foreign policy. Hope Hillary and Gates and the Joint Chiefs enjoy the ride.