Here’s what’s really weird about Robert Gates’ new book:
In Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War, Mr Gates recounts how Mr Obama appeared to lack faith in a war strategy he had approved and the commander he named to lead it, General David Petraeus, and did not like Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
"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 writes of a March 2011 meeting in the White House.
"For him, it's all about getting out."
First, everyone is entitled to his opinion, even the most underinformed yahoo in Bugtussle, Pennsyltucky. However, you’d like to think that a Defense Secretary would have, you know, done a little research before forming an opinion or, moreover, writing a book. Back in 2008, Randy Scheuneman, then Senator John McCain’s foreign policy advisor, pointed out that then-candidate Barack Obama was focused on getting out of South Asia (Iraq and Afghanistan) at the expense of the security and safety of American troops.
And it’s true: Barack Obama campaigned on an exit strategy from, first, Iraq and then after winning some form of the battle in Afghanistan, out of that nation as well.
Afghanistan was a mess, pure and simple. When Obama took office, there was no strategy. The war seemed to be lip service to the fact that Osama bin Laden was based there and had the support of the Taliban. And even that, then-President Bush didn’t give a rat’s ass about finding him.
Obama focused the military on that conflict, and look what happened. Even Gates had to admit that it was a stunning decision on the part of a President.
So we can only conclude that Robert Gates felt his book would be remained quickly, and decided to…conflate…his opinions.