Consequently, it is simply appalling when Mr. Gates reports that Mr. Obama was personally solicitous toward senior military commanders, but deeply suspicious of their motivations and agendas.
Excuse me, but if the president didn’t trust those commanders, then why not relieve them?
Oh wait, he did that, didn’t he? It was an ongoing purge of the generals that Stalin might have envied. At least now we know why: a seething stew of personal antipathy, amateurism and micromanagement at the highest level of command.
That overriding reality apparently shaped ambiguities outlined by other authors, but now confirmed by the former secretary of defense. Mr. Gates alleges that the president presided over White House meetings in 2011 in which he disrespected his commanders, doubted his allies and even questioned his own strategy about Afghanistan, where American combat troops had just been recommitted.
According to an account by Bob Woodward in the Jan. 7 edition of The Washington Post, Mr. Gates opined that Mr. Obama “doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
While some of the president’s defenders were quick to question the propriety of including such trusted and sensitive conversations in a published memoir, others wondered why Mr. Gates didn’t simply resign on the spot.
It’s a fair question, but the larger issue is the quality of Mr. Obama’s leadership. Even for a man schooled in community organizing rather military service, how could any president with even a modicum of conscience ask American troops to commit life and limb to a war that their supposed commander in chief rightly regarded as a highly dubious venture?
Reading that highly excerpted passage, I was reminded of a poignant scene from the classic movie “Jaws.” The mother of a young boy killed by the marauding shark confronts the city official who failed to sound the alarm, slapping his face in mute outrage for his dereliction of duty.
If the president really had those misgivings about the wisdom of committing American sons and daughters to combat in a mountainous hellhole half a world away, then what became of those strong convictions he had always assured us he felt?
If these were his true beliefs with regard to Afghanistan in 2011, then did the same apply to Benghazi in 2012 and afterward?
The former defense secretary is equally scathing in criticizing that noted statesman Joseph Biden, glimpsed during the 2012 campaign debates attempting a troubling imitation of a sitting vice president.
Even more worrisome is Mr. Gates‘ pithy confirmation of something many of us only suspected. “I felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.”
From Watergate to the Obama White House, insider accounts are convincing and even invaluable when they tear away the great masks of public deception. Always performing his duty as a good servant to the nation, Robert M. Gates apparently has done just that.
This article appears at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Colonel Ken Allard is a widely known commentator on foreign policy and security issues. For more than a decade, he was a featured military analyst on NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC. That experience provided the backdrop for his most recent book, Warheads: Cable News and the Fog of War.