I was surprised to hear about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates scathing rebuke of President Obama in his new book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.” Gates slammed President Obama’s leadership style and his commitment to the Afghanistan war. It’s pretty shocking that an former cabinet member, who occupied such a key position in the administration to go after a sitting president in such a manner. Considering that Robert Gates is a Republican, this book seems partisan at best. So much for President Obama reaching across the aisle and nominating a Republican to a cabinet position.
Gates wrote that by early 2010, he had reached the conclusion that President Obama “doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out, ” the Washington Post reports. Um, why is it politically incendiary that President Obama wanted to get us out of Afghanistan? Don’t most Americans want us out of Afghanistan?
Obama, after months of contentious discussion with Gates and other top advisers, deployed 30,000 more troops in a final push to stabilize Afghanistan before a phased withdrawal beginning in mid-2011. “I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes.
As a candidate, Obama had made plain his opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion while embracing the Afghanistan war as a necessary response to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, requiring even more military resources to succeed. In Gates’s highly emotional account, Obama remains uncomfortable with the inherited wars and distrustful of the military that is providing him options. Their different worldviews produced a rift that, at least for Gates, became personally wounding and impossible to repair.
In a statement Tuesday evening, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama “deeply appreciates Bob Gates’ service as Secretary of Defense, and his lifetime of service to our country.”
“As has always been the case, the President welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies,” Hayden said in the statement. “The President wishes Secretary Gates well as he recovers from his recent injury, and discusses his book.” Gates fractured his first vertebra last week in a fall at his home in Washington state. Source: Washington Post
The Republicans will pounce on Robert Gates’ explosive comments about President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could pose a huge problem for the Democrats in 2016. That’s assuming Joe Biden runs for the presidency, since he claims he’s lost on foreign policy.
It is rare for a former Cabinet member, let alone a defense secretary occupying a central position in the chain of command, to publish such an antagonistic portrait of a sitting president. There are many contradictory parts in Robert Gates’ memoir. Seems like it’s all about selling books.