Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s memoir has caused quite a bit of stir in the media and the White House, as the former member of the Obama administration candidly disparages the Obama foreign policy and, in particular, Vice President Joe Biden.
However, the White House is standing by its man in a statement released Tuesday.
“[H]e has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates writes in his book of the Vice President, who comes out the worst in a book in which Secretary Gates slams much of the administration that he fell into after being appointed by President Bush. Reports note that he argues in his book President Obama’s position during the preparation to withdraw troops from Afghanistan was more about keeping the support of the far left that elected him by getting troops out of the country than with stabilizing the country or winning that war. The result, according to Bob Woodward, was a very tense relationship between David Petraeus and President Obama, who began to see military opposition to his plans as threats to himself.
In a statement by National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden published in BuzzFeed, the President “welcomed” disagreements with the way the Afghanistan war was conducted. When it came to Joe Biden, the White House offered a full-throated defense of the Vice President. President Obama both “deeply appreciates” Secretary Gates but fully disagrees with his assessment of Biden, the statement reads.
The President “relies on his good counsel every day,” Hayden said, because Biden was “one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world.” Hayden uses as examples Vice President Biden’s positions on Iraq and his “leadership in the Balkans” as proof of his decades of prowess.
Robert Gates succeeded Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense in 2006 and served until 2011. His book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, will be available on January 14.