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Former Defense Secretary Gates' tell-all book blasts Obama, Biden

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:37 a.m. HST, Jan 08, 2014

WASHINGTON >> The White House is bristling over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new memoir accusing President Barack Obama of showing too little enthusiasm for the U.S. war mission in Afghanistan and sharply criticizing Vice President Joe Biden's foreign policy instincts.

In a book set for release next week by the publishing house Knopf, Gates writes that Biden is "a man of integrity," but also a political figure who has been "wrong on nearly  every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

Gates, a Republican, also slammed the National Security Council under Obama's watch. The Republican cited what he called the "controlling nature" of the White House, writing that Obama's national security team "took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level."

Such tell-all books are not new to Washington and they're woven into the city's cultural fabric. In the inside-the-Beltway political culture, they burst into view, make a splash on TV, online and in the press and quickly fade. But in the case of the Gates book, the White House chose to speak out quickly and sharply.

The National Security Council issued a statement late Tuesday asserting that Obama relies on Biden's "good counsel" every day and considers him "one of the leading statesmen of his time."

Not only that, the White House issued a highly unusual invitation for news organization representatives to photograph Obama and Biden sitting together today at their weekly private luncheon. It was another sign that the president was not putting any distance between himself and Biden.

Former senior White House adviser David Axelrod said he was surprised when he heard about Gates' book. "He (Gates) always indicated he had a good working relationship with the president," Axelrod said on NBC's "Today" show.

Key passages of Gates' book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," were published in The Washington Post, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In his memoir, Gates asserted that Obama showed a growing frustration with U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

"I never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission," Gates writes.

Obama approved the strategy of putting 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and placing Gen. David Petraeus in charge, even though some top advisers opposed the so-called surge he announced in December 2009. 

Recalling a meeting in the situation room in March 2011, Gates writes: "As I sat there, I thought: 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."

According to published reports about the book, Gates reveals he often found himself tempted to quit because of adversarial treatment he received from members of Congress. Gates served more than 4 years as defense secretary, the last years of the George W. Bush administration and the first years of Obama's. 

According to the published accounts of the book:

>> Gates said that in private, members of Congress could be reasonable. "But when they went into an open hearing, and the little red light went on atop a television camera, it had the effect of a full moon on a werewolf."

>> Gates recalls Obama and his secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton, discussing their opposition to Bush's 2007 surge of troops in Iraq. "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. ... The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."

>> Gates at times criticizes the Bush administration as well as its successor. He holds the Bush administration, in which he also served as defense secretary, responsible for what he considered misguided policy that squandered the early victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Times.

>> In praise of Obama, Gates calls the president's decision to order Navy SEALs to raid a house in Pakistan believed to be the hiding place of Osama bin Laden "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."

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HD36 wrote:
Wether it's wasting money on big social programs or war, both parties are beholden to represent their campaign doner corporations who benefit at the expense of many.
on January 8,2014 | 05:21AM
palani wrote:
The truth is out there, but few are listening.
on January 8,2014 | 05:48AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Obama clearly saw that Afghanistan was a quagmire, nothing wrong with that. But he should have withdrawn U.S. forces when he came to that conclusion. It's obvious that when we leave, whether it's now or in five years, it revert to what it was before we came.
on January 8,2014 | 05:56AM
serious wrote:
Agreed, Afghanistan is the graveyard of nations. I guess the same can be said about Viet Nam. I thought when we got bin Laden that would have been the perfect time to grab our marbles and go home.
on January 8,2014 | 06:23AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The U.S. became involved in Afghanistan when it supported, with millions of $$$$, Islamic terrorists fighting the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a communist government. Big mistake, the U.S. should not have gotten involved. When the Afghan government pleaded for help, and the Russians entered Afghanistan, the U.S. support for the terrorists became billions of $$$$, complete with high-tech weapons with tactical, strategic support. And now, where the Russians left off, the U.S. took over. Fighting the same enemy.
on January 8,2014 | 07:34AM
hanalei395 wrote:
The Afghan communist government built schools and hospitals especially for Afghan women. But after almost 10 years of fighting, the Russians gave up and went home, completing their withdrawal Feb. 15, 1989. With the terrrorists advancing on Kabul, Communist Pres. Najibullah resigned, April 16, 1992, and the Afghan army surrendered. Najibullah was later tortured, then hanged. And the schools and hospitals built for the Afghan women, closed down.
on January 8,2014 | 09:36AM
Sandybeach wrote:
Why trust Patreaus? Build up in Afghanistan to make a secure exit. Russians forgot to do that. Don't hear to much about dead Americans as a result of two well maybe three Mideast wars. Israel seems to be doing just fin and Syria appears to be quiet. Karzai is a hard guy to like Joey Joe Biden is the cool hand Luke of the bunch. Love the guy and his service to the nation. The art of fighting is to make the other guy lose. Now lets fight hunger and homelessness by spending tax payer dollars on programs that will bring prosperity to America. Building, jobs, education and healthcare. Oh, and yes Mr. Gates. Everything is political. Including war.
on January 8,2014 | 06:48AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
When Patreaus was #1 under Bush, the Left called him general betray us. Then when Obama needed somebody to take over the war, why General Patreaus all of a sudden became a hero and the Left embraced him. Always with the Left, it's not what's right or what's wrong, or what's best for the Country but what's best for the Party. Fire this current inept-ed, dysfunctional and treasonous Administration.
on January 8,2014 | 07:00AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Haha- "not what's right or wrong, or what's best for the country but what's best for the party." That's the Left? You are truly delusional. Throwing the rest of the country under the bus for the sake of rich and for the sake of the baseline prejudices of the red (neck) states- that is the M.O. of the Right. They crow about their patriotism but are only about benefiting people that look and think like them. We get it- that's why Hawaii is solidly blue and will stay that way.
on January 8,2014 | 07:45PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Joe Biden is a yipping lunatic. Gates was right in saying that Biden has been wrong on every national security/foreign policy issue for the last 40 years.

Why trust Petraeus? How about his lifetime of service and integrity in uniform? How about his success in Iraq? How about a hundred other reasons besides the simple fact that, if the President didn't trust him, he should not have sent him to Afghanistan.

on January 8,2014 | 07:34AM
Sandybeach wrote:
Mr. President Obama is probably one of the most intelligent men to ever be president. Just a step behind Abe Lincoln and just slightly ahead of William Jefferson Clinton.
on January 8,2014 | 06:51AM
bigwalton15 wrote:
What are you smoking??
on January 8,2014 | 07:06AM
kolohepalu wrote:
I'm sure you could do a much better job. Where did you lecture in law at?
on January 8,2014 | 07:46PM
HD36 wrote:
Yes, his taxpayer investment in Solyndra should sum it up so far. He's done more to advance crony capitalism than all the presidents before him.
on January 8,2014 | 07:15AM
Slow wrote:
And I heard he never flosses. A really bad man. Worse dental practices since Herbert Hoover.
on January 8,2014 | 07:29AM
kolohepalu wrote:
That's hilarious. Repub economic policy IS crony capitalism. Who bankrolls the repubs- all the big boys that don't want to pay their taxes.
on January 8,2014 | 08:03PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Can you offer some proof of his giant IQ? Sure can't see it in his actions. The country is more divided than I've ever seen it. A truly smart man would have done better. Besides, IQ alone is fine, good for computer geeks, but the presidency also requires wisdom and experience. Obama has neither and it shows. He just isn't up to governing/leading the country and everyone knows it.
on January 8,2014 | 07:38AM
kolohepalu wrote:
He's been elected twice. You are in the noisy minority.
on January 8,2014 | 07:59PM
DAGR81 wrote:
just back from Colorado?
on January 8,2014 | 08:10AM
saveparadise wrote:
Obama might be intelligent, and the Antichrist. The nation seems so divided on many issues which he has created. One nation under god no more. Our international enemies are gaining strength and confidence and preparing for war again. Fair to criticize him with opinions? Goes with the territory of leadership when things are going wrong.
on January 8,2014 | 08:52AM
bigwalton15 wrote:
But to the uneducated, low IQ people who benefit from his idiotic policies think he's a genius. Go figure
on January 8,2014 | 09:46AM
kolohepalu wrote:
You comment contains a lot of fitiing self-descriptors. I think Texas is looking for residents.
on January 8,2014 | 07:53PM
AhiPoke wrote:
Unfortunately, while other presidents have improved our country, he has used his intelligence to set back our country a generation.
on January 8,2014 | 10:06AM
cojef wrote:
Obama has his 16 Czars that ride herd over the bureaucracy department heads, thus avoiding blame or connections with all the scandals that have taken place from Benghasi, IRS, Solyndra and on and on. They are actually like "Commissar" like they had in Communist Russia of old. Smart move by Obama, never gets the blame as he is far removed from the issue that troubled the Nation.
on January 8,2014 | 11:14AM
kolohepalu wrote:
True. His situation reminds of that of Jimmy Carter- an intelligent leader mocked by knuckle-draggers that couldn't hold his jock intellectually.
on January 8,2014 | 07:50PM
Slow wrote:
Pray tell, what is it the truth?
on January 8,2014 | 07:26AM
kulanakai wrote:
I'm disappointed to see that the AP writes an article and when speaking about men, they refer to the by last name (Gates, bush, Biden etc) and when referring to a woman, they call her by her first name (Hillary).
on January 8,2014 | 07:49AM
st1d wrote:
the ap article is quoting the book's reference to her majesty.
on January 8,2014 | 08:42AM
lee1957 wrote:
Perhaps to avoid confusion, so people don't think its Bill.
on January 8,2014 | 10:56AM
krusha wrote:
Look up the Iran Contra scandal if you want to know how much credibility Robert Gates has...
on January 8,2014 | 08:44AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Sandybeach- Supposedly Hawaii and the USA voted for Obama twice. God loves inept people, he made so many.
on January 8,2014 | 08:48AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Yep- they constitute the core of the right-wing
on January 8,2014 | 07:54PM
DABLACK wrote:
Love the "Damage Control" by the white house. Bet nothing will happen, and business as usual.
on January 8,2014 | 11:39AM
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