The good news is, the president chooses his battles.
The bad new? The battles he chooses.
The book written by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been making headlines for its portrayals of a president ambivalent about war strategy, but a Fox News review of “Duty: Memories of a Secretary at War,” has an even more disturbing angle.
The only time the President Obama showed he really cared about military issues wasn’t strictly related to national security or the safety of Americans serving in the hot spots of Afghanistan and Iraq, Gates wrote — it was while catering to his most progressive political base in the service of an ideological goal.
According to the Fox review, Gates wrote that “the only military matter, apart from leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ For him, changing the law seemed to be the inevitable next step in the civil rights movement.”
Whatever the merits of “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a civil rights issue, Gates wrote that the aloofness Obama showed to his soldiers (at least his straight soldiers) was a disturbing contrast to the president’s predecessors.
“One quality I missed in Obama was passion, especially when it came to the two wars,” Gates wrote, according to Fox. “In my presence, Bush — very unlike his father — was pretty unsentimental. But he was passionate about the war in Iraq; on occasion, at a Medal of Honor ceremony or the like, I would see his eyes well up. I worked for Obama longer than Bush, and I never saw his eyes well up.”
Granted, Obama’s selling point on national security during the 2008 campaign was his goal of ending U.S. involvement in Iraq, but he and liberal Democrats in general still tried to present the fight in Afghanistan as the “good” war – the one they voted for before former President Bush took the global war on terror to Baghdad.
With that background in mind, Gates wrote, Obama seeming lack of commitment to military matters on the battlefield – as opposed to its soldiers’ lives in the bedroom – came as a surprise.
“Given his campaign rhetoric about Afghanistan, I think I myself, our commanders, and our troops had expected more commitment to the cause and more passion for it from him,” Gates wrote.
So did the American public — even outside the Obama base.
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