01.08.14, 05:02 AM #1
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Sec. Robert Gates Slams Obama & Hillary In New Book
Hillary Clinton and Obama admitted they opposed Iraq troop surge only to look good politically, claims former defense secretary Robert Gates in damning new bookRobert Gates, secretary of defense under Barack Obama and George W. Bush, writes that Hillary Clinton made a callous political move in 2006
She announced her opposition to Bush's Iraq troop 'surge' just before entering the presidential race
Gates writes that she admitted making that choice in order to avoid being politically outflanked by Obama as they entered the 2007 primary season
The revelation could prove problematic for Clinton as she prepares what political observers see as a second run at the White House in 2016
The former defense secretary says Obama believed his own troop surge – the move of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan – would fail
He also attacked VP Joe Biden, saying he 'has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue'
The White House responded, saying Obama 'disagrees with Secretary Gates' assessment' and defending Biden as a 'leading statesman'
Hillary Rodham Clinton, a likely Democratic Party standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential contest, staked out her military-related positions in the 2008 race based on how they would play politically, according to a former secretary of defense who served in both the Obama and Bush administrations.
Describing a 'remarkable' exchange he witnessed, Robert Gates writes in a book due out next week that 'Hillary told the president that her opposition to the  surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.'
Obama, too, 'conceded vaguely that [his] opposition to the Iraq surge had been political,' Gates recounts. 'To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.'
And Gates recounts how, as the president lost faith in Gen. David Petraeus' handling of hostilities in Afghanistan, he – Gates – lost faith in Obama's commitment to accomplishing much of anything.
'As I sat there,' he recalls, 'I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [President Hamid] 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.'
Gates puts on paper his reflections about Obama's own troop surge, a move of 30,000 armed personnel into Afghanistan meant to stabilize the country in advance of a final all-out troop withdrawal.
The commander-in-chief, he says, was 'skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail.'
'I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops,' Gates insists, 'only his support for their mission.'
Ultimately, Gates nearly quit over Obama's hand-wringing about Afghanistan, he writes.The Bush administration hold-over reveals in his memoir that he was 'deeply uneasy with the Obama White House’s lack of appreciation – from the top down – of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war.'
Describing a contentious day when Obama evaluated his Afghanistan strategy, Gates recalls: 'I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure, though no one knew it.'
Mrs. Clinton's cameo in the book is more brief but equally damning.
While a U.S. senator and former first lady, she announced in the days leading up to her entry in the 2008 White House race that that she opposed the George W. Bush administration's 'surge' of 20,000 troops in Iraq
At the time, she proposed a freeze in the number of active military troops there, and suggested instead that more U.S. forces should be sent to Afghanistan to protect against a feared Taliban offensive.In late 2006, nearly two years before the Democrats' nominating convention, Clinton could not afford to be seen as hawkish when other Democrats – especially Obama, her presumed principal opponent – were blaming President Bush for putting ever-more boots on the ground in the Middle East.
Gates praises Clinton elsewhere in his memoir, titled 'Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.' The Washington Post published the first preview of the book on Tuesday.
She struck him, he writes, as 'smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.'
Gates has harsh words for the sitting vice president as well.
Joe Biden, he writes, 'has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.'
And the veep, he says, spent his time and attention 'poisoning the well' against Pentagon leaders in order to influence Obama toward leaning more on his domestic political advisers hen tough military decisions had to be made.
And he described in a Wall Street Journal essay adapted from his book that he resented the Obama White House's National Security Staff (NSS) for its habit of interfering in military affairs.
'Most of my conflicts with the Obama administration during the first two years weren't over policy initiatives from the White House,' Gates declares, 'but rather the NSS's micromanagement and operational meddling, which I routinely resisted.'
'For an NSS staff member to call a four-star combatant commander or field commander would have been unthinkable when I worked at the White House – and probably cause for dismissal. It became routine under Obama. I directed commanders to refer such calls to my office.''The controlling nature of the Obama White House,' says Gates, 'and its determination to take credit for every good thing that happened while giving none to the career folks in the trenches who had actually done the work, offended Secretary Clinton as much as it did me.'
In a short statement Tuesday evening from the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Obama 'disagrees with Secretary Gates' assessment.'
'Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time,' Hayden said, 'and has helped advance America's leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.'
But Obama had nothing specific to say about Gates' accusation that he was a cynical and ineffective commander-in-chief whose foreign policy positions were more about politics than principle.
'Deliberations over our policy on Afghanistan have been widely reported on over the years,' the statement continued, '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, which will end this year.'
Gates sees things differently, writing that during his tenure at the Pentagon Obama 'simply wanted to end the "bad" war in Iraq and limit the U.S. role in the "good" war in Afghanistan.'
But the president's stated reasons for pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, he claims, '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.'
Ultimately, he concluded, Obama was 'inexperienced' yet 'determined to change course – and equally determined from day one to win re-election.'
'Domestic political considerations would therefore be a factor, though I believe never a decisive one, in virtually every major national security problem we tackled.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz2poexhukg
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01.08.14, 05:36 AM #2
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I can't wait to read this book. I'm a big Gates fan and am interested in his thoughts and White House ops from his point of view.
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