In his yet to be released memoir, Duty, former Secretary of Defense Bill Gates took bold swipes at Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.
Democrats will spend the coming weeks parsing everything Gates says trying to marginalize every negative thing he writes about key Democrats and their policies, while Republicans will continue to suck on their thumbs. In a few weeks it will all be forgotten, but Gates, with the help of Bob Woodward, will have sold several thousand additional copies, which may explain the timing of these revelations anyway.
I’ll cut to the chase.
In his book Gates recalled overhearing a conversation between Obama and Hillary that both had opposed Bush’s proposed surge in Iraq in 2007, on purely political grounds, namely to position themselves for the 2008 presidential campaign. Hillary may or may not be damaged by that comment in 2016, should she run, and if there is even a free Iraq to talk about in 2016. In either case, this is called “cynicism,” using the lives of American servicemen to serve a much smaller, personal ambition. 1400 Americans died during that surge.
But if you will recall in 2008 Obama had broadened his opposition to Bush’s war in Iraq by stating we should have been marshaling our forces in Afghanistan instead of Iraq, and he chastised our puny effort at nation-building in Iraq, which probably foretold his recent refusal to send troops to help the Iraqis last week as Al Qaeda took back the famous town of Fallujah, where so many American men had died during the 2007 surge, and John Murtha accused our Marines of genocide. Remember?
Well, Obama became president in 2009 and he then had to put up or shut about Afghanistan, where, like a fever, a low-grade war had continued since Bush’s 2001-2002 ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign after 9/11. In what has become an Obama characteristic – dithering and indifference – he sold Iraq out, with results we are witnessing now, the drip-drip downfall of the Mideast’s only functioning Arab democracy, which I believe Obama dislikes as much as his pals, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Iranian mullahs, who will likely be the beneficiaries of Iraq’s demise. (Today, we still have troops in Korea and Germany 60 years after those wars ended, to serve the same purpose they would have in Iraq, providing world stability.)
Then Obama, painted into a corner he painted himself with his 2008 campaign rhetoric, had to approve, design and execute a surge in Afghanistan, which, since 2009, has cost over 1700 American lives, only to find out now from Gates, even though it was his campaign promise and his plan, he never really cared about it. And generally walked away from it.
In essence 1700 men have died for no real reason other than to show Obama could keep a promise when forced to do so.
Gates, actually in as complimentary tone as he could muster, only gave Obama failing grades in leadership. He looked no deeper into the character of the man. (Maybe this was above his pay grade.) But what he characterized in the man was indifference, and indifference is a deep character flaw in any book.
For 1700 dead Americans, and thousand more maimed and injured, it is now murder by indifference.