Robert Gates blasts Obama for weak leadership

Former Secretary of Defense and head of the CIA Robert Gates makes some stinging statements about President Obama. Photo: AP

NEW YORK, NY, January 7, 2014 —  Former head of the CIA and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under the administrations of both President George W. Bush and President Barak Obama, questions Obama’s leadership in his new book Duty: Memoirs of a secretary at War scheduled for release on January 14th, 2014.

Gates criticizes Obama for a lack of commitment to the mission of the Afghan War, and for allowing President Biden to sway his opinion of senior military leaders. One quote from ‘Duty’ says, “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. For him, it’s all about getting out.”

Gates goes even deeper in his critique of the president’s leadership. He writes, “The president was “skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail,” also writing that he never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, he only doubted Obama’s support for their mission, according to a Washington Post Book Review

With regard to Vice President Joe Biden, Gates, quipped, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

The white house responded in a statement disagreeing with Gates and touting Biden’s record.

It seems that differences in opinion with the two past commanders-in-chief did less to wear down Gates than did dealing with a polarized Congress and Washington bureaucracies that put self before country.  

In an essay published by The Wall Street Journal, Gates wrote: “All too often during my 4½ years as secretary of defense, when I found myself sitting yet again at that witness table at yet another congressional hearing, I was tempted to stand up, slam the briefing book shut and quit on the spot. The exit lines were on the tip of my tongue: I may be the secretary of defense, but I am also an American citizen, and there is no son of a bitch in the world who can talk to me like that. I quit. Find somebody else. It was, I am confident, a fantasy widely shared throughout the executive branch.”

About the Author:

Rich Valdes is a regular writer for The Washington Times Communities, entrepreneur, and a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Administration. As a leader, communicator, and strategic coach, Rich has a track record of success in leadership, marketing, event planning, and government service. Learn more about him at and follow on Twitter @richvaldes


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Rich Valdes

Rich Valdes is a former official in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Administration, an award-winning marketing director, and manager who has led staff and projects for various colleges, state policy initiatives, celebrity entertainers, faith based organizations, and non-profit charities. Rich has run small businesses, created strategic messaging campaigns to increase college student enrollment revenue, and produced high-profile public relations events to raise awareness for various brands.

As a frequent  TV, radio, and print media contributor, Rich's commentary on social issues and popular culture have been featured on Hot 97 FM, CNN Headline News, Telemundo, Univision, HHR and Fox/My9. When not  debating, politics, education, and culture, Rich is a single dad, school board member, and Young Benefactor at VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  Rich attended New York University and is pursuing a Master’s degree at Lincoln University while raising his two young daughters and caring for his elderly father in the New York City suburb of Bergen County, New Jersey. 

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