Now comes a review of Robert Gates' memoir from Greg Jaffe, a former WaPo Pentagon correspondent, who underscores, as every review will, that Gates' harsh reflection--"For [Obama], it’s all about getting out" of Afghanistan--"will infuriate the parents and spouses of troops who were killed trying to execute Obama’s Afghan war strategy."
Jaffe is quick to note, however, that "Gates doesn’t prove his damning accusation and can be maddeningly self-contradictory in his criticism of Obama." Indeed, Gates also writes that "I believe Obama was right in each of these [Afghanistan policy] decisions"--which causes me to wonder if Gates even intended his reflection (for Obama, "it's all about getting out") as a "damning accusation."
For the United States military, engagement in Asian land wars are less Russian roulette than cyanide pellets, as Gates himself has warned. Thus if Obama's closely held policy was always grounded in escape, why would Gates be accusatory?
Yet whatever Gates meant, congressional Republicans are sure to exploit his words through the ugliest interpretations, deliberately causing even more grief for the parents and spouses of troops. This very unambiguous section of Jaffe's review and Gates' memoir should then instantly be thrown in Republican faces:
He slams Congress for its grandstanding and gridlock. "I would listen with growing outrage," he writes, "as hypocritical and obtuse American senators made all these demands of Iraqi legislators and yet themselves could not even pass budgets." He describes members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as "rude, nasty and stupid."
I particularly enjoyed Gates' Hobbesian flair in the final passage. No doubt it ensnares a few Dems, but I think we all know it's principally directed at the neocons.