Bipartisan Critic Turns His Gaze Toward Obama

TemplarKormac

Political Atheist
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
43,833
Reaction score
8,420
Points
2,040
Location
The Land of Sanctuary
Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary and Bush appointee, excoriated President Obama yesterday in his memoir, entitled "Duty: Memoirs of A Secretary at War" for his lack of leadership in Afghanistan. He remarked that he "lacked faith" in his strategy. Even still, he took the time to go after VP Joe Biden on a select few points, one of them being his foreign policy decisions over the past 40 years.

WASHINGTON — After ordering a troop increase in Afghanistan, President Obama eventually lost faith in the strategy, his doubts fed by White House advisers who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary Robert M. Gates.

In a new memoir, Mr. Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration who served for two years under Mr. Obama, praises the president as a rigorous thinker who frequently made decisions “opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats.” But Mr. Gates says that by 2011, Mr. Obama began criticizing — sometimes emotionally — the way his policy in Afghanistan was playing out.

At a pivotal meeting in the situation room in March 2011, called to discuss the withdrawal timetable, Mr. Obama opened with a blast of frustration — expressing doubts about Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander he had chosen, and questioning whether he could do business with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

“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,” Mr. Gates wrote. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” is the first book describing the Obama administration’s policy deliberations written from inside the cabinet. Mr. Gates offers 600 pages of detailed history of his personal wars with Congress, the Pentagon bureaucracy and, in particular, Mr. Obama’s White House staff. He wrote that the “controlling nature” of the staff “took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/w...ategy-memoir-asserts.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0
 

theDoctorisIn

Platinum Member
Staff member
Senior USMB Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
37,810
Reaction score
7,307
Points
1,140
Location
In the center of it all
Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary and Bush appointee, excoriated President Obama yesterday in his memoir, entitled "Duty: Memoirs of A Secretary at War" for his lack of leadership in Afghanistan. He remarked that he "lacked faith" in his strategy. Even still, he took the time to go after VP Joe Biden on a select few points, one of them being his foreign policy decisions over the past 40 years.

WASHINGTON — After ordering a troop increase in Afghanistan, President Obama eventually lost faith in the strategy, his doubts fed by White House advisers who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary Robert M. Gates.

In a new memoir, Mr. Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration who served for two years under Mr. Obama, praises the president as a rigorous thinker who frequently made decisions “opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats.” But Mr. Gates says that by 2011, Mr. Obama began criticizing — sometimes emotionally — the way his policy in Afghanistan was playing out.

At a pivotal meeting in the situation room in March 2011, called to discuss the withdrawal timetable, Mr. Obama opened with a blast of frustration — expressing doubts about Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander he had chosen, and questioning whether he could do business with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

“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,” Mr. Gates wrote. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” is the first book describing the Obama administration’s policy deliberations written from inside the cabinet. Mr. Gates offers 600 pages of detailed history of his personal wars with Congress, the Pentagon bureaucracy and, in particular, Mr. Obama’s White House staff. He wrote that the “controlling nature” of the staff “took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/w...ategy-memoir-asserts.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0
You say that Gates excoriated the President, yet the review you quote from says Gates "praised" the President.

Those two words are antonyms, you know.

I don't really understand what you want to discuss about this.
 

TheOldSchool

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
62,631
Reaction score
10,066
Points
2,070
Location
last stop for sanity before reaching the south
To me this is the most interesting part of the article:

“I was deeply uneasy with the Obama White House’s lack of appreciation — from the top down — of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war,” he recalls. “I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure.”
^ That sounds sincere and in line with what I've come to believe about Obama's administration.

I'm obviously not "in the know" about what how our leaders were debating handling Afghanistan but I believe the following:

- The administration had no interest in staying in Afghanistan
- Robert Gates was specifically hired by an administration that DID have an interest in staying in Afghanistan
- Robert Gates' opinion is a highly informed one, but not the ONLY highly informed opinion involved in the decision making.

So while I find what he has to say interesting I'll take it with a grain of salt
 
Last edited:
OP
TemplarKormac

TemplarKormac

Political Atheist
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
43,833
Reaction score
8,420
Points
2,040
Location
The Land of Sanctuary
Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary and Bush appointee, excoriated President Obama yesterday in his memoir, entitled "Duty: Memoirs of A Secretary at War" for his lack of leadership in Afghanistan. He remarked that he "lacked faith" in his strategy. Even still, he took the time to go after VP Joe Biden on a select few points, one of them being his foreign policy decisions over the past 40 years.

WASHINGTON — After ordering a troop increase in Afghanistan, President Obama eventually lost faith in the strategy, his doubts fed by White House advisers who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary Robert M. Gates.

In a new memoir, Mr. Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration who served for two years under Mr. Obama, praises the president as a rigorous thinker who frequently made decisions “opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats.” But Mr. Gates says that by 2011, Mr. Obama began criticizing — sometimes emotionally — the way his policy in Afghanistan was playing out.

At a pivotal meeting in the situation room in March 2011, called to discuss the withdrawal timetable, Mr. Obama opened with a blast of frustration — expressing doubts about Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander he had chosen, and questioning whether he could do business with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

“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,” Mr. Gates wrote. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” is the first book describing the Obama administration’s policy deliberations written from inside the cabinet. Mr. Gates offers 600 pages of detailed history of his personal wars with Congress, the Pentagon bureaucracy and, in particular, Mr. Obama’s White House staff. He wrote that the “controlling nature” of the staff “took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/w...ategy-memoir-asserts.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0
You say that Gates excoriated the President, yet the review you quote from says Gates "praised" the President.

Those two words are antonyms, you know.

I don't really understand what you want to discuss about this.
So, what he is trying to get across here is that he A) is praising the president, and B) is also excoriating his Afghanistan policy. When the title uses the word "bipartisan" it means he can excoriate and praise him at the same time. I trust you did read all of the article, correct?
 
OP
TemplarKormac

TemplarKormac

Political Atheist
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
43,833
Reaction score
8,420
Points
2,040
Location
The Land of Sanctuary
The article does go on to mention:

Mr. Gates discloses that he almost quit in September 2009 after a dispute-filled meeting to assess the way ahead in Afghanistan, including the number of troops that were needed. “I was deeply uneasy with the Obama White House’s lack of appreciation — from the top down — of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war,” he recalls. “I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure.”
This doc, is as close to as an excoriation as you can get.
 

theDoctorisIn

Platinum Member
Staff member
Senior USMB Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
37,810
Reaction score
7,307
Points
1,140
Location
In the center of it all
Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary and Bush appointee, excoriated President Obama yesterday in his memoir, entitled "Duty: Memoirs of A Secretary at War" for his lack of leadership in Afghanistan. He remarked that he "lacked faith" in his strategy. Even still, he took the time to go after VP Joe Biden on a select few points, one of them being his foreign policy decisions over the past 40 years.



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/w...ategy-memoir-asserts.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0
You say that Gates excoriated the President, yet the review you quote from says Gates "praised" the President.

Those two words are antonyms, you know.

I don't really understand what you want to discuss about this.
So, what he is trying to get across here is that he A) is praising the president, and B) is also excoriating his Afghanistan policy. When the title uses the word "bipartisan" it means he can excoriate and praise him at the same time. I trust you did read all of the article, correct?
In other words, he agreed on some things, and disagreed on others. I'm fairly certain that every single Defense Secretary and President in the history of this country had issues that they agreed and disagreed on.

What would you like to discuss?
 

theDoctorisIn

Platinum Member
Staff member
Senior USMB Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
37,810
Reaction score
7,307
Points
1,140
Location
In the center of it all
I know enough about foreign policy to know that I don't know enough to have an informed opinion on much of anything in terms of international relations, so I can't really comment on that.

I can only comment on the political aspect of it, and there doesn't really seem to be one.
 
OP
TemplarKormac

TemplarKormac

Political Atheist
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
43,833
Reaction score
8,420
Points
2,040
Location
The Land of Sanctuary
You say that Gates excoriated the President, yet the review you quote from says Gates "praised" the President.

Those two words are antonyms, you know.

I don't really understand what you want to discuss about this.
So, what he is trying to get across here is that he A) is praising the president, and B) is also excoriating his Afghanistan policy. When the title uses the word "bipartisan" it means he can excoriate and praise him at the same time. I trust you did read all of the article, correct?
In other words, he agreed on some things, and disagreed on others. I'm fairly certain that every single Defense Secretary and President in the history of this country had issues that they agreed and disagreed on.

What would you like to discuss?
Of course, you'd be right, that is unless he was also dealing some harsh criticism of Obama's distrust of his own military advisers, which became a big problem for Gates in the final years of his tenure, let us begin there, shall we? We will start with his criticism:

“All too early in the [Obama] administration,” he writes, “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials — including the president and vice president — became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander in chief and his military leaders.” 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.”
Then, we can address his political motivations behind the war in Afghanistan:

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.”
Over defense spending, Gates accuses Obama of breaching his faith with him, contending that Obama only made agreements so long as they remained politically convenient:

In a battle over defense spending, “I was extremely angry with President Obama,” Gates writes. “I felt he had breached faith with me . . . on the budget numbers.” As with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” “I felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.” Gates acknowledges forthrightly in “Duty” that he did not reveal his dismay. “I never confronted Obama directly over what I (as well as [Hillary] Clinton, [then-CIA Director Leon] Panetta, and others) saw as the president’s determination that the White House tightly control every aspect of national security policy and even operations. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ruled the roost.” It got so bad during internal debates over whether to intervene in Libya in 2011 that Gates says he felt compelled to deliver a “rant” because the White House staff was “talking about military options with the president without Defense being involved.”
Robert Gates, former defense secretary, offers harsh critique of Obama’s leadership in ‘Duty’ - WaPo


I know enough about foreign policy to know that I don't know enough to have an informed opinion on much of anything in terms of international relations, so I can't really comment on that.

I can only comment on the political aspect of it, and there doesn't really seem to be one.
And you would be wrong. Lots of decisions in the White House regarding the war were politically driven. Gates asserts that both Hillary and Obama stood there and flat out admitted their opposition to it was politically motivated, for fear of retaliation in the primaries during the 2008 election cycle.
 
Last edited:

Truthseeker420

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
10,374
Reaction score
1,010
Points
140
Location
Home of the 2013 BCS National Champion
Warmongers don't like it when you tell them they can't make war anymore. Maybe if Bush had asked more questions his Presidency wouldn't have been such a disaster. But The Bush Administration/GOP motto is "Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies".
 
OP
TemplarKormac

TemplarKormac

Political Atheist
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
43,833
Reaction score
8,420
Points
2,040
Location
The Land of Sanctuary
Warmongers don't like it when you tell them they can't make war anymore. Maybe if Bush had asked more questions his Presidency wouldn't have been such a disaster. But The Bush Administration/GOP motto is "Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies".
Say what now? Isn't Obama a warmonger too? Or is warmongering not warmongering when a liberal is doing it?
 

zeke

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
8,272
Reaction score
1,113
Points
190
Warmongers don't like it when you tell them they can't make war anymore. Maybe if Bush had asked more questions his Presidency wouldn't have been such a disaster. But The Bush Administration/GOP motto is "Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies".
Say what now? Isn't Obama a warmonger too? Or is warmongering not warmongering when a liberal is doing it?

Hey hey asshole. Is this more of your wonderful writing?

But go ahead and tell all just what war Obama started in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I read the article and Gates was bitching that all Obama wanted to do was get the fuck out.

And that's fine with me. If you and Gates want to go over to Afghanistan and kick some ass, have at it idiot.

Did you get a job yet?
 

jasonnfree

Gold Member
Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
9,446
Reaction score
1,546
Points
280
Warmongers don't like it when you tell them they can't make war anymore. Maybe if Bush had asked more questions his Presidency wouldn't have been such a disaster. But The Bush Administration/GOP motto is "Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies".
Say what now? Isn't Obama a warmonger too? Or is warmongering not warmongering when a liberal is doing it?
I don't think Obama has anything like the Downing street memos to put him in the warmonger category like bush, who entered the oval office looking for a reason to go into Iraq.
 

jasonnfree

Gold Member
Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
9,446
Reaction score
1,546
Points
280
Warmongers don't like it when you tell them they can't make war anymore. Maybe if Bush had asked more questions his Presidency wouldn't have been such a disaster. But The Bush Administration/GOP motto is "Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies".
Say what now? Isn't Obama a warmonger too? Or is warmongering not warmongering when a liberal is doing it?
I don't think Obama has anything like the Downing street memos to put him in the warmonger category like bush, who entered the oval office looking for a reason to go into Iraq.
 

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top