That was nice of him to say. We should send him a card.
Gates, on a Middle East tour, called for a range of efforts from inside and outside Iraq to speed up the formation of a broad-based government of Iraq's majority Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.
...."The debate in Congress ... has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited," Gates told Pentagon reporters traveling with him in Jordan. "The strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact ... in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment."
And remember that during the Iraq funding debate we've just had, President Bush emphasized over and over that the lack of funding would result in troops being deployed longer - "a significant hardship," he said. You could see the trajectory of the Rovian strategy: veto the bill, then announce a troop extension and blame the Democrats. Fortunately for us, someone from the DoD leaked that an extension was happening, and then Gates formally announced the extension weeks before the veto. Bam! Gates killed that lie before it was even born.
Maybe when we get rid of Gonzo, we'll be able to replace him with a nice level headed guy like Gates. Stellar performance under pressure so far.