Obama, Hillary Admitted Opposition to the Iraq Surge Was 'Political'

According to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, both Hillary Clinton and President Obama admitted that opposition to the “surge” in Iraq was “political.”

Reporter Bob Woodward reveals some forthcoming secrets from Gates’ new book, Duty, which will be published next Tuesday. Woodward describes the book as “an antagonistic portrait of a sitting president.”

One of the revelations Gates makes in the pages of Duty is a discussion between Obama and former rival Hillary Clinton regarding opposition to President George W. Bush’s surge policy in Iraq:

Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in
Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . .
The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had
been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in
front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.

Candidate Obama was sharply critical of the surge in 2007 saying in January “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to
solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the
reverse.” By September of 2008, with the surge widely considered a success, Obama reversed himself saying “the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated.”

Gates also describes instances where he was upset with the President over sudden shifts in policy, such as the decision to call for an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” with 24 hours notice. These instances left Gates with the opinion that agreements with the Obama White House “were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.”

Robert Gates’ Duty is being published by Knopf and will be released January 14th.

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White House, The Conversation, Defense, Iraq

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