Parting Shot

Gates Criticizes NATO

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sure knows how to make an exit. In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, he criticized NATO countries for not spending enough on their militaries and for being politically weak-willed. The U.S. is losing patience with having to fight Europe's wars, he said, and unless something changes the alliance faces a "dim, if not dismal" future. Citing Libya as an example, Gates said, "The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference." Gates steps down on June 30, to be replaced by Leon Panetta.