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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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January 7, 2014 - 12:20 pm

In his forthcoming book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the difficult relationship that he had with President Obama, Vice President Biden and many of the administration’s other top advisers. Gates kept a calm public demeanor while serving, as a Republican, so high up in a Democrat administration. But behind the scenes, he writes that he felt like he was “at war” with the rest of the administration.

Glenn Reynolds has pulled a quote from the book, in which Gates harshly critiques Obama’s war leadership. That quote deals with Obama’s ambivalence as he sent troops into combat in Afghanistan, a war the president only half-heartedly supported.

Here’s another, regarding how Obama and Hillary Clinton handled Iraq.

Gates offers a catalogue of various meetings, based in part on notes that he and his aides made at the time, including an exchange between Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he calls “remarkable.”

“Remarkable” is not always a compliment.

He writes: “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] 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.”

That’s monstrous. Yet Gates goes on to describe Clinton in the glowing terms typical of a Washington insider.

The same cavalier attitude is playing out again, as Islamists sweep the Middle East and Iraq falls apart thanks to Obama’s premature retreat from the country, and he allows anti-war politics coupled with his own tilt toward some Islamist factions to drive his moves. Obama’s whole approach to the war against al Qaeda has been to claim victory while sounding retreat.

Gates’ book debuts January 14.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
Bob Gates: Obama kept the war in Afghanistan going despite having lost faith in his strategy years ago

Just like with LBJ and Vietnam. For a President to send troops to die and lose limbs for something he doesn’t believe in himself is tantamount to murder.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Folks, please. Certainly Gates is right about Biden and Obama being consistently wrong.

But guess what? So has been Gates. Gates is the consummate neo-con. He is George Bush's water boy. He was Bush's water boy in the past and now because GWB has chosen to remain "above the fray", GWB is pushing Gates back onto the national stage to carry Bush's water (without Bush getting his "hands" dirty).

These people can't F' America enough. Stop listening to them. They are trying to convince you that you must choose between them and Obama. The choice at hand is not between the GWB neo-cons and Obama (no matter how bad Obama is).

The choice at hand is to discard both Obama and GWB and his neo-cons.

Death to the Republican Party
Long live the Tea Party.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
And for how long did he work for this administration along side this biatch and for this pretender? He was in this administration up to his elbows and he finds it only "remarkable"? THAT is remarkable! That is a streetwalker working both sides of the street. Has he no shame?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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So, Robert Gates found it "remarkable" that Hillary & Barack took political positions out of political expediency?

I find it remarkable that someone so obtuse could have risen to the rank that he did.

Oh, wait...

Ah, that's right.

For a moment there I'd forgotten that becoming a general these days has a lot more to do with political skills than military skills.

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
For Gates to accept without complaint and do his "duty" by executing policy that he didn't was the best would be one thing, but for him to execute policy knowing that it was killing troops for a policy no one in Washington believed in, just to gain political points is treasonous.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lie down with dogs...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
And one more thing. Eisenhower was right.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dear Bob:

You don't count. In this administration you never really did. You had it right with quitting in 2009. Nice knowing you.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I take anything Gates says with a grain of salt. The following is a recitation of some of the choices Gates made under both Bush and Obama.

The stated objective of the Iraq war was achieved no later than December, 2003: The removal of Saddam and eliminating any threat from WMD. The Stated objective of the Afghanistan War was achieved no later than December, 2001: The removal of the Taliban from power and the destruction of the Al Quaeda infrastructure.

The rest of the "Wars" featured heavily-armed soldiers acting as social workers to rebuild those hell holes. Or acting as voting precinct volunteers in ill-fated attempts to bring decent and consensual civilization to savage and backwards cultures manifestly unable to be drug kicking and screaming out of the Dark ages. None of those revised objectives had anything to do with the original stated objectives of the invasions.

Those changed objectives with their open-ended commitments to laughably grandiose ambitions to rebuild those societies caused the tide of public opinion to turn against the Wars. We should have well-learned our lessons on Iraq's and Afghanistan's incompatibility with civilization after the Battle of Mogadishu ("Black Hawk Down"), which featured our soldiers being killed and practically cannibalized by the same starving people the soldiers were there to feed!

The US eventually managed to leave Iraq 8 years after the objectives of the invasion were achieved because Maliki tried to extort Obama into an open-ended gravy train. Which is precisely what Karzai in Afghanistan is presently doing. I am hopeful Obama has the good sense to call his bluff as well.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure I agree with the implication that Obama has "good sense", but good points otherwise.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Robert MacNamara anyone?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
And yet Gates stayed on the job. He supported these clowns. He is as complicit as they are in the stupidity and unnecessary deaths of several thousand US soldiers, Marines, airmen and seamen.

Does he answer in the book why he stayed?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gates was wondering why no one would speak to him and decided to try to rehabilitate his reputation. What a complete hypocrite. If he had this many "problems" with the policies of the administration an honest person would have handed in his resignation in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, Gates is just as bad as the people he is dumping on.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Instead of writing a book he should be running for president.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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