Et tu, Brute? Robert Gates stabs Obama in the back
by Bill Press
January 12, 2014 11:30 PM | 21167 views | 17 17 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are many things wrong with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ new book, starting with the title. He calls it: “Duty.” It should have been called: “Bobby, We Hardly Knew Ye.”

Indeed, all this time, we thought Gates was a quiet, thoughtful, loyal public servant. But, Bobby, we hardly knew ye! Once he ripped off his gentlemanly mask, we discovered that Gates is really a small-minded, petty and disloyal whiner.

Republican Gates, who served as CIA director under President George H.W. Bush, was first named secretary of defense in November 2006 by Bush 43, to replace Donald Rumsfeld. At President Obama’s request, he remained in the post for another two years, from 2009 to 2011. In his book, he makes it clear that he preferred the way George Bush and Dick Cheney governed, because they never asked any questions. When he walked into the Oval Office, they gave him everything he wanted, including two long, costly, bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the money he wanted for the Pentagon. Underscoring his idea of true “leadership,” he praises George W. Bush for never giving the invasion of Iraq a second thought.

It was a different story when Barack Obama and Joe Biden moved in. They did ask questions, tough questions, about everything: Iraq, Afghanistan, the defense budget, new weapons systems and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. They challenged, criticized, and sometimes disagreed. In other words, Obama, with Biden’s assistance, was fulfilling his constitutional responsibility as civilian commander in chief. The generals aren’t always supposed to get their way. That’s why our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution the way they did.

But Gates didn’t like it. He wasn’t used to having himself and his generals challenged, and he clearly resented it. He recounts that he got so angry sometimes he was ready to speak out and demand respect. But he never did. Several times, he says, he was also tempted to resign. But he didn’t have the guts to do that either. Instead, he waited until he was out of office for two years and then wrote his self-serving memoir, full of unsubstantiated, and sometimes contradictory, attacks on Obama, Biden and the entire Obama national security team.

Early on, for example, Gates expresses his dismay at attending meetings with Obama in the Situation Room and hearing people criticize the policies of George W. Bush. Really? Surely, he didn’t expect them to be Bush cheerleaders. He also slams President Obama for having opposed Bush’s troop surge in Iraq for “political reasons.” When, in fact, as is well known, Obama opposed every facet of the Iraq war since he gave a speech against it as Illinois state senator in October 2002.

On Afghanistan, because Obama wrestled so long dealing with his request for more troops, Gates accuses the president of not supporting our mission in Afghanistan. Yet, after eight years in Afghanistan, Obama was not alone in questioning why we were still there — and he did end up sending more troops. Gates, in fact, undercuts his own argument by admitting Obama’s support for the troops and acknowledging, overall: “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.” So where’s the beef?

Gates reserves his harshest criticism for Vice President Joe Biden, whom he charges with “poisoning the well” against leaders of the Pentagon and whom he blames for being “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” What exactly did Gates disagree with? Biden’s support for Israel? His personal intervention to end the violence in Bosnia and Kosovo? His support for the war in Afghanistan and, initially, the war in Iraq?

Gates doesn’t say. Maybe it’s because, as Newsweek reported, Biden once told Gates we should be spending more money in Pakistan than Afghanistan.

What’s ironic about the Gates memoir is that he blasts President Obama for not respecting the military, when Gates himself fails the first test of the military: respecting and obeying the chain of command. Perhaps Gates forgot that he was not the president of the United States, but was instead working for the president.

To me, the most telling sentence in the book is an email Gates sent to a friend while serving as defense secretary: “People have no idea how much I detest this job.” He made a mistake, taking the job. And President Obama made a mistake, inviting a member of the enemy camp into his tent.

Bill Press is host of a nationally-syndicated radio show.
Comments
(17)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Samuel Adams
|
January 13, 2014
Stopped reading at Press calling someone ELSE small minded and petty.

The truth hurts, doesn't it Bill?
Just a vet
|
January 13, 2014
"What’s ironic about the Gates memoir is that he blasts President Obama for not respecting the military, when Gates himself fails the first test of the military: respecting and obeying the chain of command." Gates, Biden, and Obama are not in uniform or under a military service oath of obligation. You're comparing apples to oranges.
Shawn Adams
|
January 13, 2014
While I agree that Mr. Gates timing leaves a lot to be desired, your article is typical of the normal Obama worshiping drivel that can be found all over the Internet.

GW Bush was a horrible President. Obama isn't much better and in some things worse.

I just hope the American people finally find someone we can all trust to vote for next time. But with all the hacks currently in US Politics, I doubt it.

Sincerely,

Shawn Adams
Blackwater III
|
January 16, 2014
President Bush [both of them] were OUTSTANDING Commanders-in-Chief! To this day BOTH 41 and 43 do numerous events for the troops. 41 is in bad health, but 43 is constantly doing mountain bike races and other events with wounded warriors not only to help the participants, but to raise millions of dollars for their fellow soldiers.

Obama is a despicable human being and as anti-American as anyone who ever breathed.

I was aggravated with Bush 43 because he allowed the rabidly LIBERAL wing of the GOP to take control of domestic policy and spend like drunken democrats, but Obama wouldn't make a decent pimple on either Bush's arse!
msgijoe
|
January 13, 2014
I am in general agreement with your analysis of Bobby Gates memoir. However, when all is said and done, Gates and Obama did a good job of straddling the Republican/Democratic divide and I believe our country is better for their efforts. Gates has now given us a peek at his motivation and thought processes. Obama will have an opportunity to present his.
us citzen
|
January 13, 2014
It is a shame one mans opinion is thrown aside in favor of the impostor in the white house, who conveniently for about the IRS scandal, the scandal and lies in Libya and the numerous other screwups and cover ups since he has been in office.
JTataglia
|
January 13, 2014
Could this article become more partisan?

Gates' did his job well. Politicians have been getting too involved with the wars they call for since Vietnam. The President and cabinet members watching the Abottabad raid was a farce. The President should not be a tactician, but someone who is presented strategies and chooses the one that suits the nation best, then leaves his or her commanders to the task. These are high ranking commanders, almost like CEOs of a company, not some Private in the Army that is ordered around constantly. Good commanders listen to their subordinates, especially when they have limited experience, like our President. Additionally there must be a balance between challenging too much, and not challenging enough. Gates felt the President was challenging too much. There is a reason a large number of generals have either been fired or have resigned out of frustration.

Overall, Gates' memoir underscores the issues our government has and the inability of our leaders to find the proper relationship with the military they are responsible for.
anonymous
|
January 13, 2014
Entertaining editorial...right up to the point where he refers to Gates as the "enemy." Weak finish diminishes credibility of writer.
Alex66
|
January 13, 2014
Pathetic...last I checked Bob Gates was the "best defense secretary in American history"; remember that? Sought out by both Republican and Democrat white houses. Don't start all this bs on Bob Gates now that he has spoken his mind.

Nothing has changed, Gates is still a good defense secretary, only difference now is that the Democrats have to change their panties and deal with the reality that Obama, like Bush, is a worthless piece of garbage.
Pike62
|
January 13, 2014
What ever happened to unbiased reporting!
Skip Lee
|
January 13, 2014
Mr Press says Gates is from the enemy camp....enemy is a strong word, in this particular instance it is a description used by someone that has the emotional intelligence of a junior high student writing for his school paper. we may differ with his opinion, but Gates himself would never think of calling Obama an enemy...like him or not Gates has earned the right "NOT" to be called an enemy...he has served his country well for years thats why Obama wanted him and kept him around, he is one of the best at what he does..saying Gates is from the enemy camp is going too far, taking way, way too much journalistic license...an unearned privilege ...but it exposes a deep sickness growing in journalism , and thats the cancer of contempt..it is poisoning many would be fine journalist.....shame....damn shame
richard enders
|
January 13, 2014
Another thing, bill, how can you try to portray yourself as a learned man, and at the same time act unaware of all of Biden's mistakes and being on the wrong side of policy decisions? Biden wanted to partition Iraq. He Voted against the first Iraq war and For the 2nd Iraq war. Were those good choices? To be ignorant of the mistakes is one thing, but to pretend to be smart while playing dumb, is not a logical strategy. No doubt you cant find it within you to ever find fault in a man with D next to his name. But, those of us who understand that all people make mistakes I guess are just less dishonest than you. (and let me guess you dont like Bush because he was dishonest. haha).
richard enders
|
January 13, 2014
Synopsis of this article: if you do not like some of the methodologies of obama or rather do not like the way politics influences decision making at times, then you are wrong. The only way Bill Press would consider Gates' words worth reading were if they lambasted Bush and heaped unmitigated praise on Obama. If Gates noticed any flaws in Obama , then Gates is wrong. " Obama asked 'tough questions, about important subjects." Ha, Hey Bill, why not tell us what those questions were? There is no shortage of irony when a guy like Press faults someone for faulting someone --but Press isnt smart enough to allow for the fact that no one, not even obama is perfect. Gates heaps plenty of praise on obama--PLENTY--the problem is if you write 42 good things and 2 bad things, people like Press will question why you wrote the 2 bad things. Not a smart guy.
LOL4REAL
|
January 13, 2014
Something tells me that if Gates did the same thing to Bush and left Obama alone you would be raving about this book. It sounds like you have a dog in the fight.
Dale99
|
January 13, 2014
My, did you ever nail it. That's exactly how I felt after hearing his comments. I need not say anything more, because you said it quite well, especially his email comments, and the mistake the President of the United States made, and surely now realizes.

God bless America, and God bless our troops, may they all come home soon!
Wilf Tarquin
|
January 13, 2014
> President Obama made a mistake, inviting a member of the enemy camp into his tent

Yes. But those were the first years of Obama's presidentship, when he still thought it was possible to work with the Republicans, and bent over backwards to placate them. That, and not willing to believe that the republicans would crash the economy just to discredit him in the "debt ceiling" sillinesses, are Obama's greatest mistakes.
Blackwater III
|
January 16, 2014
Man the stupid is STRONG in you! Industrial strength!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides