Lewis W. Diuguid

New book of former secretary of defense criticizes Obama

Updated: 2014-01-08T23:17:46Z

By Lewis W. Diuguid

The Kansas City Star

Robert Gates in his new book had to toss some red meat to Republicans in describing President Barack Obama’s tepidness about the war in Afghanistan.

It’s the only way the former secretary of defense could hope to get on Fox News talk shows and encourage conservative talk radio hosts to hype his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.” Keep in mind that Obama inherited both the war and Gates from President George W. Bush.

Gates, a Republican who served two years under Obama, said that by 2011 the president began criticizing the Afghanistan war strategy. The New York Times reports that Gates said Obama was frustrated with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus’ leadership in the so-called surge troop build up.

“As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” The Times notes from Gates’ book. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

Indeed. U.S. troop withdrawal is to occur this year, putting a long-needed end to the longest war in U.S. history.

But Gates did praise Obama for being a deep thinker and for going after and eliminating Osama bin Laden when Gates opposed sending Special Operations forces into Pakistan to get the al-Qaida leader. Expect to see a lot of Gates on many Fox News shows.

MSNBC? Probably not so much.

To reach Lewis W. Diuguid, call 816-234-4723 or send email to ldiuguid@kcstar.com.

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