Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said President Obama distrusted the military, and “this was particularly true in Afghanistan” in an interview that was taped earlier in the week and broadcast on Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.
Gates after discussing his doubts that President Obama believed in the mission in Afghanistan, and micromanaging of the military by the Obama administration was asked about the president’s suspicion of the military. He stated, “I think this was particularly true in Afghanistan, and I think there were people in the White House, and I don’t want to name any names, who were constantly goading him and saying the military is trying to box you in. the military is trying to trap you. the military is trying to bully you. The military is trying to make you do something you don’t want to do.”
When asked if Vice President Joe Biden was one of these people, Gates answered, “I think so. And I was told so. And I think — but he was not alone, and you can argue with the options that they were putting forward, as President Bush did. you can disagree with them, as President Bush did. I — that’s totally fair, in my view. But, to think that they are trying to mousetrap you, I think is a — if I were the president and i truly believed that, I would replace those commanders that I felt were trying to trick me. So, I just — I worried a lot that he was hearing from people, things that made him worry that the military was consciously trying to thwart his will, consciously trying to be insubordinate, and I never believed any of that for a second.”
Gates also stated that Vladimir Putin, “if resisted, will stop.”
He added that Putin filled a power vacuum, and, “I do think that the president saw us try and shape events in Iraq, and fail. Try and shape, in his view, fail, tried without much success to do the same in Afghanistan, tried without any success to do it in Libya, and frankly, I think thrice bitten, twice shy. I think he wanted nothing to do with Syria, because he saw no — my guess is, he saw no good outcome for the United States by intervening directly there.”
Gates concluded, “I think that our role should be limited. I would not put ground troops in Syria. I do think that a safe haven is an achievable thing. I think the idea of training somebody from the outside and sending them in is nuts, it’s just not going to work. The only way you can stanch the humanitarian flow, the humanitarian disaster, is through some kind of a safe haven and I think that that’s achievable.”
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