Robert Gates served as Secretary of Defense after the resignation of the total failure, Donald Rumsfeld. Bush kept Rumsfeld on until 2006. Bush got Robert Gates to sign on.
That was Gates’ mistake. He signed on for the two-war death watch.
Today, Al Qaeda occupies Fallujah. Yet one-third of America’s 4,500 troops who died in Iraq, died to capture Fallujah. But there is this difference: Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq when Bush sent troops to invade in 2003. Saddam Hussein had the handful of Al Qaeda members under control.
That is the Rumsfeld-Gates legacy.
Now Gates has written a 600-page book, Duty. It is a self-serving attack on his former bosses. It is self-justifying in this sense: Gates presided over a two-war disaster, but he never quit in order to speak out in protest immediately after he quit.
They never do. Well, not quite never. William Jennings Bryan quit as Secretary of State in 1915, because he saw that Wilson, in the name of neutrality, was pushing the United States into the war in Europe. He refused to become responsible for pursuing such a policy, as his letter of resignation said.
Gates never spoke out when he was in power, either behind closed doors or publicly. He never said what he thought. So, he kept his job.
He recounts his thoughts during a tense 2011 meeting with Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then in charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in the White House Situation Room: “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.”
That’s what he thought, was it? But what did he do? He presided over the two wars, as he had done for four years.
(For the rest of my review, chick the link.)