January 10, 2014

Robert Gates writes in his memoir that he was offended that Obama thought people might be writing memoirs.

"I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, 'For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe, you be my witness.' I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters."

Quoted here.

14 comments:

Cliff said...

Ironic and completely self-unaware. This guy should run for office.

m stone said...

O:I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran

True. Obama did not make any decisions about Iran or Israel. Nor does he plan to.

Any Iran action is deferred until Iran reneges at which point another line may/will be drawn. Punt again. Israel is still in limbo with no show of support and old token gestures again made to appease the Palestinians. No loyalty to our only remaining Mideast ally.

No doubt he will continue to tread softly around these and other issues, some democrat domestic issues excepted.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I would need to see the quote in greater context. From the context, it might be clear that President Obama was talking about the details of the discussion, not just its existence.

While I wouldn't be surprised if Gates said something as stupid as they present it, I do not trust the writers at Slate enough to come to that conclusion.

Bob Ellison said...

It's not obviously hypocritical that Gates would be offended by Obama's stated suspicion and then confirm that suspicion.

Otherwise, Obama gets a get-out-of-jail free card by saying in a meeting, "Anyone who writes a book later disagreeing with me now is evil. Joe, wake up and give me some sycophancy."

Makes for a nice defense. I told them not to tell on me, so they're jerks when they do.

The Godfather said...

Proves Obama relies on Biden. Confirmation of my greatest fear.

JHapp said...

Obama is just insuring he is not to be blamed, consistent with his personality trait of blaming Bush for everything.

Henry said...

Socrates takes on Gorgias. Irony results.

mccullough said...

This reminds me when my brother falsely accused me of stealing $1 from him when we were kids. I was so offended that I decided to steal a $1 from him.

MattL said...

Sure, superficially hypocritical, but that's to miss the point(s).

You'd think a Presidential decision would have been made clear or not in the course of the meeting. It's fair to defer a decision to wait for some event or other action item, but I even WorldsGreatestOrator doesn't trust himself to have communicated that without a script.

Obama is more concerned about his legacy and how he's viewed and who's to be blamed than the actual issue, though I'm sure no one was angrier about Israel and Iran than the guy emphasizing he was voting Present at the meeting.

Or maybe he just wasn't taking things seriously. The Biden quip sounds like a joke (but who knows). It's only nukes and junk, after all.

CStanley said...

I think there probably is context that matters.

My impression from what has been excerpted from the book so far, is that there were several points of contention between Gates and the administration. One was that the political team drove the decision making too much, another was that Obama had trust issues, and another was that there were loose lips among the political team.

This anecdote encapsulates all of those things. It's significant to note that Obama wasn't stating out loud concerns that someone would divulge things that could violate national security interests (that itself would illustrate the trust issue, but at least it would be for a legitimate reason.) He was instead expressing concern that his political interests might be harmed, and Gates may have felt that was significant enough that this should be made public. It does seem though, that the sentence as written leaves him open to the ridicule he's getting, unless there is further explanation in the book.

Hagar said...

George Will said "Culture clash; old Cold War warrior meets community organizers from Chicago."

Bob Gates has put into words what many have felt the situation in the White House was,and his words from these excerpts will have traction, though the book might be forgotten.

LarsPorsena said...

"... I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran..."

He's voting 'present' again.

hombre said...

It is unlikely that the "sensitive matters" bit referred to Obama's indecision, but it might occur that way to a Slate writer whose only interest would be to protect "the boss" at Gates's expense.

JoyD said...

I've read some excerpts from the book in the NYT. Gates seems to be overly concerned about his own importance. Of course I realize that the NYT might be cherry-picking excerpts, ya think? I may have to read the whole book, although I won't pay any money for it.