Obama doubted surge, Gates writes

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates writes in a new memoir that President Obama doubted the success of his troop increase in Afghanistan.

At a key meeting in March, 2011, in the White House situation room, Obama told advisers he was frustrated with Gen. David Petraeus — who was then leading the war effort — and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Gates writes, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper obtained an advance copy of the book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, which will be released next week.


“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,” Gates writes, according to the Times report. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”

In the book, Gates reveals he almost quit his post in September 2009, after a meeting debating policy toward Afghanistan. He said he was “uneasy” with the White House’s “lack of appreciation” regarding the unpredictability of the war.

“I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure, though no one knew it.” 

The White House rebuffed Gates' claims Tuesday, saying Obama appreciated different views from his national security team.

“Deliberations over our policy on Afghanistan have been widely reported on over the years, and it is well known that the president has been committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda, while also ensuring that we have a clear plan for winding down the war, which will end this year,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

On the Osama bin Laden raid, Gates writes that he initially opposed the operation, but eventually decided it was “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House.”  

Gates also slams Vice President Biden in the book, saying he thinks that Biden "has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Gates had also served as Defense secretary to former President George W. Bush.

Since stepping down in 2011, Gates has served as chancellor at William & Mary. He was elected to lead the Boy Scouts of America in October as its national president. He recently suffered a fall in his home, and injured his first vertebrae.