Robert Gates Bombshell Book Slams Obama on Afghanistan Strategy

Image: Robert Gates Bombshell Book Slams Obama on Afghanistan Strategy

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 07:57 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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President Barack Obama's first secretary of defense Robert Gates has written a bombshell book that says the president doubted his own mission in Afghanistan and was "skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail."

It was just one of the charges Gates, who also served as secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, wrote about his former boss in the memoir "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," reported the Washington Post on Tuesday.

The Post noted that after fighting with Gates and other advisers about how the get Afghanistan back on track when he took office, Obama agreed to send more than 30,000 troops for a final push to stabilize Afghanistan before a phased withdrawal beginning in mid-2011.

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Gates said in the book, from almost the very beginning, the president was more concerned about leaving Afghanistan than strategy on the ground.

"I never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission," wrote Gates, adding, that the president "doesn’t believe in his own (Afghanistan) strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out."

The New York Times reported that Gates said that there were constant fights with Obama's inner circle over defense policy, particularly among Vice President Joseph R. Biden, national security adviser Tom Donilon and Douglas E. Lute, who managed Afghan policy while serving as Army lieutenant general.

Mr. Gates charged, according to the New York Times, that Biden routinely failed on defense policy, but found former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton "a frequent ally on national security issues."

"I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," Gates said of Biden.

Gates said in the book that he was disappointed in a conversation he witnessed between Obama and Clinton where they admitted that their opposition to the Iraq surge was more political.

Gates said, per the Times, Obama "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."

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