Reality check

Common interests and mutual goals
The nomination of Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense may be as close as George Bush will come to acknowledging that the Iraq incursion has been misguided. Gates, who served in the administration of the first President Bush, and who has been a member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, is expected to bring pragmatic realism to the job—a perspective quite different from the messianic idealism that sent U.S. troops into Iraq in the belief that the U.S. could bestow Western-style freedom and democracy on the region.


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