Retired General Says Gates Good Choice For Defense Secretary

A retired general in Grand Junction says he believes the president has made a good choice to replace Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned yesterday as Secretary of Defense.

Retired Marine Corps Brigadier General Harry Hagaman knows Robert Gates, who President Bush has chosen to be the next Secretary of Defense. He says Gates has the experience to bring a new direction to the war that results in democracy for Iraq and an exit strategy for the US.

He says the President should have replaced Rumsfeld months ago, and believes that could have restored confidence in the Bush administration and possibly lead to Republicans maintaining leadership in the House and Senate.

Hagaman says he expects to see a reduction in troops in Iraq, but he believes the Democrats will find planning an exit strategy isn't as simple as it looks.

He adds that unlike the sometimes abrasive Donald Rumsfeld, Gates is a diplomat who should also be able to encourage Syria and Jordan to keep Iraq's nuclear ambitions in check.