GOP Lawmakers: Gates' Book Vindicates Obama Criticism

Image: GOP Lawmakers: Gates' Book Vindicates Obama Criticism

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 09:19 AM

By John Gizzi

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Republican lawmakers tell Newsmax that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' blockbuster new book vindicates their criticism of President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

"I was not a Bob Gates fan," said Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, "but I'm now becoming one."

In an exclusive Newsmax interview on Wednesday, Inhofe cited Gates' remark that he was "deeply uneasy with the Obama White House's lack of appreciation — from the top down — of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war."

"We have a president who doesn't talk to the military, and I've known this for a long time," Inhofe said.

Inhofe recalled how he "would have four-star generals come into my office and tell me that they would try to give advice to the White House and were brushed off by a group of young staffers who had their own idea of what they were going to do."

Several Republican House members strongly seconded Inhofe's reaction to the quotes from Gates' memoir, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War," to be published next week.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, was terse in his reaction, telling Newsmax, "The Obama foreign policy is a nightmare, and Secretary Gates' new book helps to underscore it."

Lawmakers who had served in uniform had particularly sharp things to say about Gates' claim that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama both admitted that their opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq was politically motivated.

"From the excerpts I have seen, Secretary Gates' account confirms much of what I have suspected about the Obama administration — from a lack of leadership to overt politicization of important national-security decisions," Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Newsmax.

Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, a U.S. Army veteran, told Newsmax: "Gates should be commended for seeing beyond the partisan horizon to put his country first."

Noting that Gates served as secretary of defense under President George W. Bush before holding the same office under Obama, Bentivolio said, "He brought valuable defense experience and insight into an inexperienced and aggressively partisan White House."

It is rare that a former high-ranking administration official writes a book that is critical while the president he once served is still in the White House.

President Ronald Reagan's one-time White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan did just that when he wrote the highly critical "For the Record" as his former boss was completing his second term in 1988.

Raymond Moley, one-time White House "brain-truster" under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, made it clear he had broken with FDR when he wrote "After Seven Years" in 1939. Moley later became a conservative Republican.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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