The big weapons-program cuts in his new defense budget has passions running high:

The changes were all announced, executives in the military industry noted, when Congress was out of town on a spring break and less able to mount loud objections.

“Gates didn’t spend his career at the C.I.A. for nothing,” said George Behan, the chief of staff to Representative Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat who is a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee. “He waited until Jack Murtha was in the hospital and my boss was in Mexico, Brazil, Panama and Colombia.”

Mr. Behan was referring to Representative John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and defense appropriations subcommittee chairman who had knee-replacement surgery during the break.

Hmm. Maybe if a program can't survive a Jack Murtha knee operation it wasn't worth keeping in the first place?

--Michael Crowley