Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Fault, Mr. Gates, Lies In Thyself

     Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense for both the Bush and Obama administrations, is set to release a tell all book, mostly about his tenure in the Obama White House. What has been released of the book, no doubt to peak the public's interest to garner more sales, is provocative indeed. I am not sanguine about former administration officials leaving office and signing lucrative book deals to publicize that which was said in private meetings, seemingly unimportant to the author at the time, but somehow gaining importance to him years after leaving his post when he can profit financially from it.
     Mr. Gates writes that President Obama's overriding concern about Afghanistan was just getting out, even as he was committing new troops to the surge in 2010. At one point Mr. Gates reveals that President Obama did not believe in his own strategy to the point of thinking it was sure to fail. This should be concerning to any American, but especially those who lost loved ones to a strategy not fully supported by their Commander In Chief and implemented only for political reasons. In fact, Robert Gates writes, that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cavalierly spoke about their opposition to the Bush strategy in Iraq purely based on the politics at the time.
     All of the damning revelations in Secretary Gates' book mean absolutely nothing in 2014, but would have made much more difference in 2010 and 2011 when they occurred. But did Mr. Gates resign his post and go to the media with this startling information? No! He sat in subsequent meetings with a posture that lead President Obama to believe he was nothing but a loyal member of the administration. It was only after any good could have come from his revelations, like saving servicemen's and service women's lives or preventing the re-election of Barack Obama, that he disseminated this important data. And I might add, at a time when he could collect his thirty pieces of silver for this damning but expired information.
     It is not a surprise that Mr. Gates claims that he believes President Obama to be a man of integrity. A man without integrity like himself, would of course see a man like Barack Obama as being in possession of that virtue. I would not want the reader to infer that I am exculpating Barack Obama for his deplorable behavior with my criticism of Secretary Gates, the two are not mutually exclusive. But similar to Edward Snowden, Mr. Gates' release of sensitive information in itself is not wrong, only the manner and timing in which he chose that release. It is illustrative of the lack of rectitude present in too many of our leaders of the modern era, and a culture that allows it to continue un-convicted by public opinion.

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