Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates doubled down on criticisms against his former boss on Sunday, claiming that President Barack Obama failed to convince American troops that their sacrifice was worth it and saying that absence of conviction “disturbed” him.
Gates spoke with “CBS This Morning’s” Rita Braver about “Duty,” his new book about his five-year tenure as Secretary of Defense. His unique position as a high-level holdover from a rival administration allows him to compare George Bush and Barack Obama’s handling of the War in Afghanistan. And his conclusion is none-too-flattering for the Oval Office’s current occupant.
“It’s one thing to tell the troops that you support them,” Gates began. “It’s another to work at making them believe that you believe, as president, that their sacrifice is worth it. That the cause is just. That what they are doing is important for the country. And that they must succeed.”
“President Bush did that with the troops, when I was secretary,” he continued. “I did not see President Obama do that, and I said — as I write in the book, it was this absence of passion, this absence of a conviction of the importance of success that disturbed me.”
Gates also blamed Obama himself for the White House staff’s notorious micromanaging, noting that “things don’t happen that way if the president doesn’t want them to happen that way.” He also said he believes the micromanaging “has gotten worse” since he left in early 2012.
Finally, the former Defense Secretary explained his beef with Vice President Joe Biden. “Actually I think I am, in some areas, complimentary of him,” he said. “But where I have particular problem with the vice president was in his encouragement of suspicion of the military and the senior military with the president.”
Gates claimed that Biden would often advise Obama not to trust his generals, warning the president they would try to “box him in” if he let them.
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