Gates Dials Back Criticism of Obama

Posted January 13, 2014 at 10:47am

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates “clarified claims he supposedly made about President Obama’s commitment to the military surge in Afghanistan,” telling the Today Show he “absolutely believed” the commander-in-chief supported the mission at the time.

Gates said that the president fully supported the November 2009 surge but began to have reservations by the following spring: “But as late as December 2010, he was still saying we were on the right track in Afghanistan. So it was in our private conversations that he would express these reservations about whether it was working. But the decisions were right, and I believe that he believed it would work.”

He added: “The book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes, taking quotes out of context. It’s sort of the political warfare in Washington that I decry in the book.”

Gates has been under fire for statements made in his new memoir,
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
, that suggested Obama lacked commitment to decisions he made about his strategy in Afghanistan.