Former Defense Secretary Gates Blasts Obama in New Book

Robert Gates' new memoir reveals his sharp criticism inside closed-door meetings.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and President Barack Obama.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and President Barack Obama.

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In a rare display of criticism against a sitting president and his former boss, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates blasts President Barack Obama in an upcoming memoir for a lack of commitment to win the war in Afghanistan and distrust of senior military advisers.

The Washington Post's Bob Woodward reports Gates' upcoming book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," includes passages that criticize Obama for expressing doubts in his own Afghanistan strategy.

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"[Obama] didn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his," Gates writes in the book. "For him, it's all about getting out."

Despite Obama's decision in 2009 to deploy a surge of 30,000 more troops, his focus was always on ending the war, not winning it, Gates claims.

"[He] was skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail," Gates writes of Obama's strategy.

Gates left the Pentagon in 2011 after five years on the job. Woodward describes parts of his account as "highly emotional," including passages about Obama's perceived discomfort and distrust of the members of the military who were counseling him on war strategy. Different worldviews produced a rift between Obama and these advisers, Gates says.

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The Post has more details on the book, which will be released Jan. 14.

Gates' latest work is not the first time he has openly criticized Obama's foreign policies. In September, he and fellow former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said they would have advised Obama against punting on a decision to deploy U.S. strikes against regime forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

That month, Obama had deferred following through on warnings of such an attack to ultimately asking Congress to make the decision.

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