The former Pentagon chief, Robert Gates has said that the US President Barack Obama lacked belief in his administration’s policy toward the war in Afghanistan and was sceptical it would even succeed.
In a memoir to be published next week, Gates has criticized Obama’s leadership on several defense-related issues, especially Afghanistan.
Gates in his memoir wrote that he concluded by early 2010 that Obama, who had ordered his own troop “surge” in Afghanistan like Bush’s in the Iraq war, “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
He also added that Obama was “sceptical if not outright convinced it (the administration strategy) would fail,” according to the Washington Post.
“I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes.
He also criticized the top Obama aides, including Vice President Joe Biden, who he says was “poisoning the well” against the US military leadership.
According to the New York Times’ account of the book, Gates calls calls Biden a “man of integrity.” But he said, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
In the meantime, the White House National Security Council quoted by Reuters 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, which will end this year.”
NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in a statement reacting to comments reported in Gate’s book said, Obama “deeply appreciates” Gates’ service as defense secretary, and “welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies.”
Robert Gates became the first Pentagon chief to serve presidents of different parties, after he agreed to president Barack Obama’s request that he remain as defense secretary.
Gates describes Obama as “a man of personal integrity” and says later in his memoir that “Obama was right” in his decisions regarding Afghanistan.