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Jan. 10, 2014

Gates Slams Obama’s Political War Fighting

Not that we needed a book to tell us that Obama is a lousy and reckless commander in chief.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” lays bare the shambles that is Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Not that we needed another book to tell us that. In it, Gates recalls a number of examples of how Obama prosecuted the war in Afghanistan purely for political gain with no regard for the consequences of his decisions, save re-election. The White House increasingly sought to control the war from the inside, repeatedly undermining the counsel and judgment of military commanders on the ground and in the Pentagon. Gates writes that he came to realize by 2010 that the president didn’t even believe in his own strategy and refused to take ownership for the conflict. “For him,” Gates wrote, “it’s all about getting out.” Yet, three out of every four Americans killed in Afghanistan died on Obama’s watch – in a war he was manipulating for political gain. It’s an absolutely disgusting breach of faith with our men and women in uniform.

Predictably, the White House objected to Gates’s portrayal, again asserting that Obama has a “clear plan for winding down the war, which will end this year.” But this statement only proves Gates’s point. The war in Afghanistan will not end simply because American troops are leaving the battlefield. We left Iraq thanks to another politically charged decision by Obama, and al-Qaida is busy regaining territory it lost during the 2007 surge. A surge, by the way, that both Hillary Clinton and Obama openly admitted in front of Gates they opposed for purely political reasons.

Gates’s account comes as no surprise, but it’s no less troubling because of the extent to which the White House has allowed politics to dictate policy. Decisions on Libya and Syria followed the same model, with political aides in the White House making decisions and shutting the Pentagon out of the process. It’s no wonder that America’s allies are walking away and enemies are emboldened. The only real question is, where was this book in 2012, when the American people re-elected this sorry excuse for a commander in chief?

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