Ain’t Buying It

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), a founder of the Congressional Air Force Caucus in 1998 and still a member, thinks Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ stated reasons for sacking Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley as Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, respectively, “do not necessarily match up with reality.” In a July 16 floor speech praising Wynne and Moseley for their accomplishments, Stearns says “perhaps the real reason” was over “disagreements on the strategic defense” of the nation and not because of unsatisfactory nuclear weapons stewardship, as Gates has contended. (Note: Wynne basically acknowledged what Stearns is saying during his final meeting with reporters June 20.) “We had a clash of philosophies here,” said Stearns. Wynne and Moseley were not content “with simply toeing the line for today,” but were instead “pushing hard” to prepare for tomorrow’s potential conflicts, a “sacred duty” of military leadership, which Gates, however, has “disparagingly” referred to as “next-war-itis,” Stearns said. Decapitating USAF’s leadership over this was “simply irresponsible and sets a disastrous precedent,” he said. Wynne and Moseley are owed “a debt of gratitude” for all they did to help win today’s fight and posture the nation for the future. And many of the mistakes for which they were blamed, “can be laid squarely at the feet of the Pentagon leadership,” Stearns said. He also called for Gates to make public the report by Adm. Kirkland Donald into the errant shipment of Minuteman III components to Taiwan in 2006. Gates used the purportedly damning revelations in this classified report as the justification for firing Wynne and Moseley.