Robert Gates fights US Neocon desire for Iran war
Pentagon and State Department officials say Mr Gates has set himself up as chief rival to Dick Cheney in a bid to thwart the vice president's desire to bomb the Islamic state.
Those familiar with internal battles in the Bush administration say Mr Gates has eclipsed Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, as the chief opponent of air strikes and is the main reason President George W.Bush has yet to resort to military action.
Pentagon sources say Mr Gates is waging a subtle campaign to undermine the Cheney camp by encouraging the army's senior officers to speak frankly about the overstretch of forces, and the difficulty of fighting another war.
Bruce Reidel, a former CIA Middle East officer, said: "Cheney's people know they can beat Condi. They have been doing it for six years. Bob Gates is a different kettle of fish. He doesn't owe the President anything. He is urging his officers to be completely honest, knowing what that means." Link