News / USA

Gates: Obama 'Lost Faith' in Afghanistan Policy

FILE - Former U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates
FILE - Former U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates
Jim Teeple
A new book by former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates harshly criticizes President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy, saying the president “eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered,” and that Obama was “skeptical, if not outright convinced it would fail."

Excerpts of the book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War, were published late Tuesday in the New York Times and the Washington Post.  

Gates, a Republican, served as defense secretary in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, from 2006 to 2011. After a request from Obama that he stay on the job, he agreed to do so. But he says he soon came into conflict with the president, the vice president and the White House national security staff over Afghanistan policy.  Gates writes that he never “doubted  Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission.”

After months of debate early in his administration, Obama agreed to deploy an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, in a bid to stabilize the country so that a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops might begin in 2011.

In an excerpt published in the New York Times, Gates writes that Obama questioned the abilities of his commander on the ground in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, and expressed doubts about whether he could work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  

“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.”  For him it’s all about getting out,” Gates is quoted as saying.

But Gates says later in his book that "Obama was right" in his decisions about Afghanistan.

Gates harshly criticizes Vice President Joe Biden, calling him “a man of integrity” but saying he has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”  

The former defense secretary also says former secretary of state Hillary Clinton told Obama that her opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq was based on political considerations ahead of the Iowa Democratic party primary that Obama won.  Gates writes that Obama “conceded” that political opposition to the troop surge in 2007 was political. And Gates said he was “surprised and dismayed” by the comments from both Clinton and Obama.  

Gates writes that he was “extremely angry” about defense budget cuts proposed by the White House, and says he was “blindsided” after the White House only gave him a day’s notice that it would repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy that barred homosexuals from openly serving in the military.  

A statement from the White House late Thursday thanked Gates for a “lifetime of service to our country,” and said Afghanistan policy deliberations have been widely reported over the years.  The statement said the president has been “committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaida, while also ensuring we have a clear path for winding down the war, which will end this year.”

The statement, issued by National Security Council Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, also said the president disagrees with Gates’ assessment of Vice President Biden, saying that “from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world.”  

While he offers harsh criticism of the president, vice president and White House staff, Gates describes Obama as a “man of personal integrity,” and speaks of Obama’s approval of the commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden as “one of the most courageous decisions I have ever witnessed in the White House.”

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 09, 2014 12:25 PM
"..never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission". Does he also have support for USA's effort at remaining a world power? I wish USA does allow lifetime president, Obama should have been the one, and I bet USA would be as important as Central Africa Republic by the time he is through with the country. Saying he has no faith in the country's mission in Afghanistan is a mild application of vote of no confidence in the country. Look at Iraq where his premature initiatives have re-empowered a resurgence of al qaida now rebuilding to overrun the world once again. On whose side really is president Obama - islamic insurgents or the free world?

by: Anor
January 09, 2014 9:15 AM
@ Doug At least according to http://www.usdebtclock.org US military spending is decreasing nowadays

by: Doug S from: Delmont Pa
January 08, 2014 11:39 AM
Subjective views based on advanced book sales. A true Republican coming out just before the 2014 elections. Does this sway the independent informed voter? NO. Does the American informed voter want the two wars on Muslim countries to continue with the death of our American heroes? NO. Trillions of dollars spent on wars no one but the GOP wanted and Boehner insults me a informed voter that he does not want a clean unemployment extension is insane. How can a GOP or Tea Party voter who may be unemployed or know someone who is vote for this party? 1.9 million unemployed is the true number. Boehner says what Fox says why isn't the president looking for a jobs bill. Who are they kidding? Not me the informed voter. They will block any bill that the DEMS introduce because the GOP is led by the TEA Party and anything that hurts Pres Obama is their ideology. I truly look forward to every presidential election while I live that go to the DEMS. Every independent voter is informed. Every Dem voter understands why we together support programs aiding the poor children seniors and those that are disabled. We cannot cut cut cut social programs while increasing military spending by 39% this year alone. In ending be a informed voter and take a close look at those you know, people in your community friends and family that have little but hope for help thru social programs.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs