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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Et Tu Bob Gates!

Former Secretary of Defense wrote an unflattering tell-all book about his tenure in the Obama administration. Andrea Mitchell and the rest of the media thinks that the book is a devastating portrayal of President Obama, but I beg to differ. Yes, the secretary said that President Obama never owned the Afghanistan war because he didn’t think it was his. That’s a fair assessment, and I can see how people can say his mindset was unfair to the troops, and he should have withdrawn the troops if he felt that way. It’s no secret that as commander- in- chief, President Obama is a reluctant warrior. He prefers to use drones strikes as opposed to using military troops. I think of it in this way, if I found out that my wife had run up a $125,000 credit card debt, it would be our debt and I would reluctantly pay it off but I could never find myself fully responsible for that debt.

Bob Gates said President Obama never trusted his military leaders, and that’s probably true, but I can’t say I blame him. General Petraeus was being recruited by GOP to run for president in 2012, and we know how the General Stanley McChrystal had to resign because of his unflattering words about Vice -President Joe Biden.

According to Bob Woodward’s book “Obama’s Wars” Bob Gates would have quit if the president wouldn’t have agreed to a surge in Afghanistan. President Obama looked General Petraeus in the eye and asked for assurances that a surge in troops would lead to a successfully end. General Petraeus said it would, but you be the judge.

I don’t think the book will hurt President Obama but Mr. Gates said that Joe Biden has been has been wrong on foreign policy for four decades. I don’t agree. I think Joe Biden was right about the Balkans situation, right on withdrawing from Iraq, and right for wanting a smaller troop presence in the Middle East. Joe Biden sided with Bob Gates on Libya and going after Osama bin Laden by opposing both actions. If Joe Biden decides to run for president in 2016, he will probably have to answer the former secretary’s charges.

Bob Gates praises Hillary Clinton throughout the book, but he said he was disappointed in her because she did not support the 2007 surge in Iraq for political expediency. I haven’t read the book but unless Gates has a recording or a collaborating witness, it’s a powerful charge without sufficient proof to back it up.

I guess someone would have to look back in history, but I can’t remember a cabinet member writing a tell-all book while the president that he worked for is still an office. Bob Gates is a smart man; he had to know that his words would be made into 30 second GOP ads against Hillary or Joe Biden in 2016. President Obama bestowed Bob Gates with a “Medal of Freedom award so he didn’t leave office with any animosity, then why did he feel that he had to write this book right now? I believe future presidents will think twice about using a “team of rivals” approach when choosing their cabinets.


BIGJ said...

Mike. Sorry I disagree. The problem in Washington is Yes Men style leadership. I were President, I form a team of rivals like Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, etc. the Problem with Obama's cabinet during the first term isn't Robert Gates, but Joe Biden, the Clintonites, and Chicago machine.

If Chuck Hagel was Sec of State over John Kerry with Gates as Defense you would have national security team that is above par.

Mike said...

This is a single incident of what a lot of people in the know is disloyalty. I have praised the choice of Gates in the past but he should have waited a couple more years before writing his book.

The president's team won him two elections ,so you can't argue with success...Joe Biden has been a loyal asset to the president on many occasions.

One man here or there doesn't make a difference in a world that is constantly changing...BTW John Kerry is doing an outstanding job as Sec. Of State.