Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell telephoned recently to take issue with Pentagon officials who were quoted in this space suggesting that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appointed Bill Clinton’s deputy secretary of defense to an advisory panel as a way to position himself to stay on in a future, perhaps Democratic, administration.
“He has no plans to stay on past Inauguration Day 2009,” Mr. Morrell said of his boss, Mr. Gates.
Mr. Gates’ limit on his tenure at the Pentagon followed a recent speech in Texas where he expounded on the difficulties and virtues of public service during wartime.
He quoted Benjamin Franklin on life in public office: “The public is often stingy, even of its thanks, while you are sure of being censured by malevolent critics and bug-writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and wound your character in nameless pamphlets, thereby resembling those little dirty insects that attack us only in the dark, disturb our repose, molesting and wounding us while our sweat and blood are contributing to their subsistence.”
“We live in a time of great necessities,” Mr. Gates said. “Our country faces many challenges at home and abroad. It is precisely during these times that Amer ica needs its best and brightest, from all walks of life, to step forward and commit to