Former US defense secretary criticizes Obama administration in new memoir

–  “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials – including the president and vice-president – became a big problem for me”

Robert Gates, who also served under George W Bush, says relations between White House and Pentagon are strained

 

Dan Roberts in Washington

theguardian.com,   Tuesday 7 January 2014 18.45 EST

Robert Gates
‘The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy,’ writes Gates. Photograph: Jason Reed /Reuters

Strained relations between the White House and its military leaders have been laid bare by former US defense secretary Robert Gates, who accuses President Barack Obama and his top civilian advisers of lacking faith in their own strategy for conducting the war in Afghanistan.

In a forthcoming memoir leaked to the New York Times and Washington Post that threatens to exacerbate current criticism of US policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gates – who was first appointed to his post by former President George W Bush – reveals, in a series of swipes that are surprisingly combative coming from such a senior former official, problems between the White House and the Pentagon that have made for troubling relations at the very highest levels.

“All too early in the administration,” adds Gates, “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.”

Perhaps most damagingly, he also alleges that Obama did not believe in his own strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan, which he was “skeptical if not outright convinced … would fail,” and that he was skeptical at best about the leadership of the country’s president, Hamid Karzai.

“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,” writes Gates.

Obama’s policies toward both Afghanistan and Iraq are under fresh scrutiny this month, as Karzai has refused to sign a deal to retain a US military presence after the bulk of troops are withdrawn this year, and Iraq has faced renewed al-Qaida militancy.

On Tuesday, the White House defended its strategy, insisting it was up to both countries to ensure their own future stability. And in a statement released about the book, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said:

Deliberations over our policy on Afghanistan have been widely reported on over the years, and it is well known that the President has been committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda, while also ensuring that we have a clear plan for winding down the war… As has always been the case, the President welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies. The President wishes Secretary Gates well as he recovers from his recent injury, and discusses his book.

In a short essay based on the book and published on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, Gates endorses Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan but casts doubt over the president’s overall commitment to the fight there.

“[Obama’s] fundamental problem in Afghanistan was that his political and philosophical preferences for winding down the US role conflicted with his own pro-war public rhetoric (especially during the 2008 campaign), the nearly unanimous recommendations of his senior civilian and military advisers at the Departments of State and Defense, and the realities on the ground,” he says.

Gates, who is the only person to have served as defense secretary in both a Democratic and a Republican administration, contrasts the attitudes of his two former bosses towards the military in ways that may provide ammunition to Obama’s critics, while at the same time heartening supporters anxious about Pentagon influence on policy-making.

“The relationship between senior military leaders and their civilian commander in chief is often tense, and that was certainly my experience under both Bush and Obama,” he concludes in the WSJ. “Bush was willing to disagree with his senior military advisers, but he never (to my knowledge) questioned their motives or mistrusted them personally. Obama was respectful of senior officers and always heard them out, but he often disagreed with them and was deeply suspicious of their actions and recommendations.”

According to descriptions of the book published by the Times and Post ahead of its publication on January 14, Gates is particularly scathing toward vice-president Joe Biden.

Gates does call Biden a “man of integrity,” but says he “poison[ed] the well” in the Obama administration against military leaders, and writes, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

He also says he ordered Pentagon officials to hide information from Samantha Power, the current US ambassador to the United Nations, who was then working as a national security council adviser. “Don’t give the White House staff and [national security staff] too much information on the military options,” he writes, according to the Post. “They don’t understand it, and ‘experts’ like Samantha Power will decide when we should move militarily.”

Clashes between the White House and Pentagon are far from unknown, although Gates insists military relations with the Obama administration were particularly bad.

“The White House tightly controls every aspect of national security policy and even operations,” he claims. “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.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/07/robert-gates-former-defense-secretary-criticize-obama-memoir

 

One thought on “Former US defense secretary criticizes Obama administration in new memoir

  1. As you will be able to tell, I am WAY, WAY behind on my list.
    ​​Forgive me if some of these don’t line up correctly. I add one more act each time I catch it from the articles….IF you want this list, please feel free to copy and paste it for your files:
    Obama decides the Ft Hood Shooting was a case of “Work place violence”; instead of Islam infiltrating Our Military;
    Rips the Military Budget as he gives politicians a raise;
    Cancels Military Retirement;
    Changes the Rule of Military Combat Pay;
    Ships shell casings of ammunition to China.
    Announces to the world about the cut in Nukes;
    Orders the Military to lie about Afghanistan;
    Flags are flown at half staff when a hero dies — allows the American Flag at half mast for a black singer;
    Decides NOT to give a Purple Heart to the survivors of the Ft. Hood Shooting calling it “work place violence”;
    Fraudulent Affirmative Action Picked for Head Drill Sergeant;
    Slashes 1,200 National Guard to 300 along the borders for Terrorists to enter;
    Despite his approving of Sodomy and Bestiality — Military Restores Ban;
    Disrespects Seal families;
    Veterans’ Cemetery must ban “GOD and Jesus from Military graves.”
    Violates the rights of Military Chaplains.
    Lies about bin Laden’s death…won’t show pictures or video of Islamic burial at sea….lies about helicopter crash
    No seals were Injured during Bin Laden raid…however, those who knew died (can’t remember the exact number)
    Repeals DADT….
    Wanted injured military to pay for their own medical expenses because they had volunteered to fight in the military…..
    (12/28) Breaks Promise to Military and keeps Troops in Afghanistan until 2014
    (01/12) Obama quietly signed the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, which nullifies the Bill of Rights and declares America to be a “battleground” in which all American citizens can be arrested, imprisoned, tortured and even killed with no due process.
    (2/09) Obama Guts Military and gives Bureaucrats a Raise
    (2/10) Denies Hero(s) Purple Hearts — calling Ft. Hood Shootings as Work Place Violence
    (2/14) Military Chaplains charged with sedition/Treason for teaching against sin
    (2/16) Military to Fake Belly, Breast to better understand how females in the Military feel;
    (2/25) Our Military burned Koran and Obama apologized causing the deaths of two Officers who were unarmed were shot in the back of the head in a secured location.
    2/26 Obama doesn’t stand with Military as NATO tries to prosecute the Military men who burned Koran;
    (2/26) Military Refuses to take orders from him;
    (2/26) Takes healthcare away from Military; Triples co-pay on their insurance.
    (2/27) Obama mocks Military by burning a Bible
    (2/27) Military now responsible for their own health care (even when they come back from the Middle East without a limb, etc.)
    Under the Radar, he sends troops to 4 African countries
    Changes Rules of Engagement
    Forcing Troops to Lie about the Progress in Afghanistan
    Obama threatens Chaplains: “You can’t preach against me in chapel.”
    (3/4/12) Obama threatens Chaplains: “You can’t preach against me in chapel.”
    (just following) Chaplains cannot preach against sin
    3/27/2012 — Tax “our” Military to give to HIS New Military
    4/14 – Army Generals Plead With Obama “Bring them HOME”
    (4/23) – Military Rates Obama as the worst President they have served with
    (4/25) Seals Blast Obama for using them as Campaign tools for going after Osama Bin Laden
    (05/01/12) Forcing New West Point Cadets to become PC for Muslims
    (05/04/12) Forced Our Military to shove their butts in the air praying position to Islam
    (05/05/12) Cuts Military Budget “again” setting us up for defeat
    (05/06/12) Chip under the skin for Military Personnel
    (05/09/12) Backs Taliban as they Kill Our Military
    (05/09/12) Claims Military are fighting on “his” behalf
    (05/10/12) Obama Releases Taliban Terrorists while Military Man Held captive for 3 yrs
    (05/11/2012) Obama Suspended Classes on Islam — The way to save the world is through Nukes (like WWII)…
    05/13/2012) Slashes Military Budget for healthcare to build $750,000 exercise facilities for Muslims who are incarcerated
    (05/13/2012) Obama Cuts $13 Billion from TriCare for Military
    (05/14/2012) Obama offers purple heart to the victims of terror BUT NOT those at Ft. Hood+ considered Ft. Hood “work Place Violence”
    (05/16/2012) The Navy just fired it’s 16th command officer for 2011 REPLACED w/Obama Appointee
    Navy Commander Fired Over Falsified Records REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    NAVY FIRED Five Attack Submarines CO’s REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointees
    Navy Fires 10th CO This Year REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    Navy Relieves CO of New Ship REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    Navy Medicine CO Fired for Poor Command Climate REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    USAF CHIEF OF STAFF FIRED REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    NORTHCOM Commander fired REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    15 ARMY GENERAL FIRED REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    5 MARINE GENERALS FRIED REPLACED w/ OBAMA Appointee
    ( 05/21/12) President Betrayed Troops by releasing a known terrorist killer
    (05/23/12) Obama Undermines Troops Putting Taliban in Power as They KILL OUR TROOPS;
    (05/28/12) Memorial Day: Makes the day to honor OUR Troops all about him
    (06/01/12) Veto promise comes because House GOP leaders are breaking faith with last summer’s budget deal by cutting overall funding for agency operating budgets by $19 billion,almost 2 percent.
    (06/07/12) Obama’s uses Memorial Day to Campaing in Photo-Op by blocking families of Vets from D.C. Vietnam Memorial
    (06/07/12) Same Sex Marriage on a Military Base
    (06/08/12) Obama cuts back on Military causing them to have to improvise
    (06/10/12) More Troops Die of Suicide than from War
    (06/11/12) Memorial Day-Obama shuts out Military, friends/family forced to pay respect 100(s) of yards from the sit behind a fence
    (06/11/12) Prior to this day, VietNam vets and family members denied access to wall
    (06/11/12) Too busy to allow the Fly-Over by the Thunderbirds during the Memorial Day Celebration..he cut it short because he had places to go campaign;
    (06/14/12) Pentagon Bans Bibles
    (06/20/12) More Military are committing suicide than from being killed in battle.
    (06/20/12) Disciplines Military for Burning Koran
    (06/21/12) Obama Orders Military to Celebrate Gay Pride Month
    (06/26/12) Obama Forbids Chaplains to mention Jesus
    (06/30/12) Obama allows Terror-Linked CAIR Targets Navy Seals Training
    (06/30/12) Obama wants Military to pay-up more on their Tricare Insurance
    (07/03/12) Obama sends troops to Persian Gulf-further spreading troops thin
    (07/07/12) Obama Refuses to Offer the Flag of the United States to the Family of a Fallen Hero; Gives the Responsibility to the Secretary of Defense
    (07/30/12) Obama to Turn Military into Social Workers
    (08/02/12) Obama to Keep Military from voting
    (08/04/12) Massive Cuts to Military Healthcare
    (08/16/12) Obama Campaigns Strikes Back Against Former Navy Seal
    (08/21/12) Obama Dismisses Seals “Don’t take them too seriously
    (08/21/12) Too many Military Deaths in Middle East — Obama should change plan
    (08/21/12) Obama Adds Military Hero(s) to his list of enemies
    (08/21/12) Obama Puts Special Ops in Danger
    (08/22/12) Officer Penalized for opposing Sharia Training
    (08/24/12) Veterans Being Rounded Up Nationwide
    (08/25/12) Obama having all of the Military Vets Picked Up
    (08/24/12) Military man penalized for NOT wanting to attend PRO Muslim Training
    (08/31/12) Obama making Military submit to Sharia
    (08/31/12) Sends form letter to fallen Seal Team Six Families
    (09/23/12) Increases btw 30% to 79% in Tricare premiums for lst year. Then plan imposes 5-yr increases from 94%
    (09/26/12) U.S. Troops Are Being Murdered In Afghanistan: Pentagon’s Answer … Muslim Sensitivity Training
    (09/30/12) Shhhh: US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000″
    (10/4/12) Obama blames US troops for attacks on them by Afghan security forces, orders Islamic cultural sensitivity training to 345%-more than 3x’s current levels.
    10/12/12 Disabled Vet Considered Terrorist–he inquires about Cost of Surveillance Camera(s) for his home.
    (11/03/12) Has Military removed from voting records in Florida
    (12/02/12) Obama Taking Guns from all Military Vets.
    (12/14/12) Obama Fires Lt. Col. Dooley for speaking out against Islam
    (12/16/12) Obama Ignores Military Man in Mexican Jail
    (12/00/12) Announced withdrawal date in Afghanistan. Now no Afghans will cooperate with US military because they are leaving … leaving the Taliban behind. Allows the Afghans vet the Afghans who will train with the US military despite the insider attacks.
    (12/00/12) Program where female soldiers where the hijab to appease their ‘culture’
    (12/00/12) U.S. military to disarm for his ‘surprise” visit to Afghanistan so not to offend the Afghans who disarm
    (12/10/12) New Army manual orders soldiers not to criticize Taliban, pedophilia, or Islam, or advocate for women’s rights
    (1/05/13) Former Marine gets 20 yrs for burning a Koran
    (1/27/13) Obama Cuts Healthcare to active Military and vets
    (1/28/13) Obama Cuts Breakfast for Military in Afghanistan
    (02/20/13) Obama takes the guns out of the hands of vets and prohibits them to own them.
    (02/21/13) U.S. Troops having to get Gear From Charity
    (03/03/2013) Bizarre Sex Games-which male/female soldiers offered prizes in a race to put condoms on sex toys.
    (03/13/2013) Suspends Military Tuition for College
    (06/09/2013) Record Number of Our Maimed Military Denied Disability
    (06/10/2013) Military told not to read about Scandals
    (06/13/2013) Obama Rules that Military cannot talk about Christianity
    (0813/2013) 1/3 of Military think about committing suicide
    (​10/03/2013) Obama stops Veterans from returning​ to WWII Memorial.
    (​10/04/13)​ Obama won’t allow Chaplains to Minister to troops
    (10/06/13) Obama Keeps Camp David Open but cuts NFL Coverage to Troops Overseas
    ​(10/08/13) Obama Denies Mother Son’s Death Benefits
    ​(10/09/13) Obama Freezes Military Benefits to All Families after Death of children in the Military​
    (10/12/13) Obama refuses to Bury Our Military Soldiers
    10/13/13) Obama Leaves Military Man To Rot in Benghazi
    (10/13/13) Chaplains Mocked forced out of Military
    ​(11/06/13) DoD to Implant Chips in Brains of Military
    (11/06/13) Navy Seals Orders to remove “Don’t Tread on Me” Insignia from uniform;
    (11/19/13) Feds Use Intimidation to Confiscate WWII Veterans’ Asssets
    (11/20/13) Declares Wars on Generals
    11/21/13) Closing Military Commissaries
    (11/21/13) Forces Military and Families away from Tri-Care-Tripling Their Fees
    (11/22/13) Cover-up Navy Yard Shooters
    (11/27/13) Cuts Medical Benefits for Military (active and retired but not Not Union worker​​ s
    ​​(​11/30/13​) Gag all Military Vets ​ (Stripping Vets of their fire arms) ;
    (​ 12/01/13) Cover-up; Navy Yard Shooter Investigation Blocked;
    (12/01/13) New ROE(s) for Our Troops in Afghanistan ​;
    (12/07/13) Wants to lower the flag for Nelson Mandela​
    ​(12/07/13) VA sends $4,000 Medical Bill to ​Triple Amputee ​Vet after he criticizes Obama​

    ————
    And, Let Us NOT Forget about the Firing Stanley McCrystal and Sending Lt. Col Laken to Prison

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