Robert Gates' New Memoir Takes Aim at White House
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates offers an unflinching account of his years serving the Bush and Obama administrations in his new political memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.
Gates was a key player in some of President Barack Obama's most important national security decisions, but in his soon-to-be published book, he has some harsh words for his commander and chief.
Gates writes of everything from the War in Iraq to the death of Osama bin Laden and the escalation of the War in Afghanistan, criticizing Obama's leadership style and commitment to the mission of his troops.
"The president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand (Afghan 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 wrote, recalling a 2011 meeting on the Afghan War.
Gates also recounted a conversation he heard between the president and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They were talking about their public statements criticizing President George W. Bush's to decision to send more troops into Iraq.
According to Gates, "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 "conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political."
Gates said that hearing those admissions was both "surprising and dismaying."
The memoir, however, is not all criticism.
Gates called President Barack Obama a man of personal integrity and he says the decision to go after bin Laden was "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."
The former secretary of defense called Vice President Joe Biden a man of integrity as well. But he also saved some of his harshest criticisms for the president's second in command.
"I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," Gates wrote.
The president disagrees, calling Biden "one of the leading statesmen of his time" who has helped to advance America's leadership in the world.
Still, the book won't help the president politically, especially at a time when his poll numbers have already fallen to historic lows.
Gates' memoir goes on sale Jan. 14.