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Ex Defense Secretary Gates Questioned Obama's Afghanistan Surge

Ex Pentagon boss Robert Gates new memoir "Duty"
Ex Pentagon boss Robert Gates new memoir "Duty"
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Last week the White House was forced to defend its position on the Afghanistan War after a former Pentagon boss leveled commitment to the surge allegations against President Obama.

(Watch Kimberly Dvorak’s San Diego 6 News segment link here.)

Typically a reserved and quiet leader, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made headlines with his sharp criticism of the President’s Middle East war effort.

The charge came after the President campaigned on ending the conflicts in the Middle East, but reversed course after he took office in 2009 when he said, “This (Afghanistan) war is not a choice, this is a war of necessity.”

However in his new memoir Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, DoD Secretary Gates alleged, “the President did not believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider this war to be his. For him it’s all about getting out.”

While the new book praises President Obama on many other issues, the book appears to be the first salvo from solerdarity between the administration and a compliant media questioning foreign policy decisions about America’s longest war.

Using history as a guide, former Defense Secretary under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara reflected on the Vietnam War in his own memoir, “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.

In his book, McNamara acknowledges that the Vietnam War was a mistake and he knew it in 1963. At that point America had already lost 100 service members, unfortunately the hardnosed Pentagon boss didn’t raise his hand and the war eventually claimed 58,000 U.S. lives.

McNamara wrote that there were “eleven major causes for our disaster in Vietnam, and we misjudged then--as we have since--the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries and we failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions.”

American’s can juxtapose those statements to the current Afghanistan War where victory continues to elude the U.S and its NATO allies.

Roughly two years ago U.S. Army Lt. Col Daniel L. Davis wrote a blistering report "Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders' Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort" (pdf). Davis posed a rhetorical question, how many more men (and women) must die for a mission that is not succeeding? “Now we know the answer: according to official DoD figures, as of this writing 4,545 American men and women have been killed and wounded since the article was published (384 having lost their lives). In addition, according to United Nations figures, 9,458 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded (2,754 killed) over the same timeframe; the bodies and limbs of over 14,000 human beings have been spent to perpetuate the façade of success.”

Davis concludes that “Over the last number of years our most senior leaders have resolutely refused to admit what the evidence plainly confirms: our strategies and policies have failed. We must stop sacrificing the lives and limbs of America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, and Marines to support “messaging” at the expense of the truth.”

Couple that critical review of America’s “right” war with the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report that predicts chaos if American and NATO forces withdraw and Afghan President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) guaranteeing U.S. military immunity. In return, the U.S. would give the corrupt Afghanistan government $8 billion per year in aid.

A Washington Post story quoted senior U.S. officials stating the obvious; “In the absence of a continuing presence and continuing financial support,” the intelligence assessment “suggests the situation would deteriorate very rapidly.”

Currently, an overwhelming majority of Americans have no appetite for war – this was confirmed when the Obama administration threatened war with Syria after chemical weapons were used to kill civilians. Large numbers of American’s called their congressmen and congresswomen and demanded the U.S. stay out of Syria and in that sense Americans saw what political victory looks like.

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© Copyright 2014 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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