Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday in an interview on Fox News that President Barack Obama “double-crossed” him.
Obama pledged to Gates there would be no major changes to the Pentagon budget, Gates explained. That promise, however, was quickly broken. Obama instructed Gates to slash billions of dollars even though Gates had already cut the defense budget down by a significant amount, The Hill reports.
“I guess I’d have to say I felt double-crossed,” Gates said. “After all those years in Washington, I was naïve.”
Gates tried to persuade Obama that deep cuts to the Pentagon would endanger U.S. troops and was inadvisable because potential threats were increasing, not decreasing. The world was becoming more unsafe, not safer.
“I think he acknowledged that what I was pitching at a minimum was, ‘The world doesn’t seem to be getting better. Before you head down a path of deep cuts in defense, why don’t you take it kind of slow,'” Gates said. “You know it was one of those things where I lost the argument.”
In the same interview, Gates laughed at the Obama administration for failing to comprehend military solutions to the crisis in Libya during 2011.
“I don’t want any military plans or options going to the White House that I haven’t seen,” Gates recalled himself saying back in 2011.
The former secretary of defense did not want so-called experts like then-National Security Council staffer Samantha Power to make the final call on plans of where to deploy the military, due to her inexperience and strong alignment with the Obama administration.
Since leaving his post as defense secretary, Gates has been on the warpath against the Obama administration. His 2014 memoir “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” offers stringent criticisms of White House foreign policy and provides insight to the deepening conflict between the National Security Council (NSC), which has exploded in size and scope, and the Pentagon. Defense officials have long complained the NSC is full of young and inexperienced policy officials who try to micromanage federal agencies to come into alignment with the Obama administration’s goals.
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