Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this June 15, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testifies regarding the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2012 budget request before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense on Capitol Hill in Washington. Gates asserts in a new memoir that President Barack Obama grew frustrated with U.S. policy in Afghanistan and that Vice President Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue. He also accuses members of Congress of inquisition-like treatment of administration officials. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Gates: For Obama, Afghanistan war is ‘all about getting out’
Memoir » Ex-defense secretary writes that Biden wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue.
First Published Jan 07 2014 07:54 pm • Last Updated Jan 07 2014 10:05 pm

Washington • Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates asserts in a new memoir that President Barack Obama grew frustrated with U.S. policy in Afghanistan and that Vice President Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue. He also accuses members of Congress of inquisition-like treatment of administration officials.

"I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission," Gates writes in the book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," which was set for release next week by Knopf.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Obama approved the strategy of putting 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and placing Gen. David Petraeus in charge, even though some top advisers opposed the so-called surge he announced in December 2009.

In recalling a meeting in the situation room in March 2011, Gates writes: "As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out."

A Republican, Gates served 4½ years as defense secretary, the last years of the George W. Bush administration and the first years of Obama’s. According to published reports about the book Tuesday in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal:

—Gates calls Biden "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," though he also says Biden is "a man of integrity" — and applies the same assessment to Obama even though he is critical at times of the president’s own leadership. The White House National Security Council issued a statement Tuesday asserting that Obama relies on Biden’s "good counsel" every day and considers him "one of the leading statesmen of his time."

—During his tenure as Pentagon chief, Gates often found himself tempted to quit because of the adversarial treatment he received from members of Congress. He says that in private the lawmakers could be reasonable. "But when they went into an open hearing, and the little red light went on atop a television camera, it had the effect of a full moon on a werewolf," he says in an excerpt in the Journal.

—Gates recalls Obama and his secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton, discussing their opposition to Bush’s 2007 surge of troops in Iraq, according to the Post. "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. ... The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."

—Criticizing what he calls the "controlling nature" of the Obama White House, Gates says the president’s national security team "took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level," the Times reports. He is most critical of the growth and size of the National Security Council staff, according to the Times.

—Gates at times criticizes the Bush administration as well as its successor. He holds the Bush administration responsible for what he considered misguided policy that squandered the early victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Times.


story continues below
story continues below

—In praise of Obama, Gates calls the president’s decision to order Navy SEALs to raid a house in Pakistan believed to be the hiding place of Osama bin Laden "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.