Politics

Former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates Slams Obama, Biden, Bush, Hillary Clinton in New Book

| by Michael Allen

In his new memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates slams Vice President Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President George W. Bush and President Obama.

Gates is critical of President Obama over the Afghanistan war, which has been the longest war in the history of the US.

No country has ever conquered Afghanistan, but Gates was disappointed that President Obama was not more supportive beyond 30,000 additional troops and hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to Mother Jones, Gates bitterly recalls that in March 2011 President Obama was losing faith in Gen. David Petraeus, who would eventually have to resign because of an affair, and in Afghan President Hamid Karzaim whose government and family had a long history of corruption.

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Gates wrote: “As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand 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.”

However, The Washington Post reports that Gates later showers praise on the president regarding Afghanistan: “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.” He also calls Obama “a man of personal integrity.”

When he describes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gates calls her, “smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.”

But later, Gates adds this stinger: “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.”

In his book, Gates calls Vice President Biden “a man of integrity” who “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” notes Salon.com. Gates also accuses the vice president of “poisoning the well” against US military leadership.

The New York Times notes that Gates also criticizes the Bush administration for squandering early victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gates claims that he and President Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed to close the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sources: The New York Times, Salon.com, The Washington Post, Mother Jones