Robert Gates’ criticism and objections to the Obama administration’s approach to Iraq and Afghanistan were anticipated when the president compiled a “team of rivals” for his Cabinet, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday.
“When you pick a team of rivals, you do so in part because you expect competing points of view and competing opinions . . . and that’s what he gets,” Carney said, emphasizing that, despite the criticism, the president appreciates the former defense secretary’s service and that his input helped with the management of several national security issues.
In excerpts released yesterday, Gates accused the president of opposing the troop surge in Iraq for political reasons and said he didn’t have confidence in his own Afghanistan strategy. Gates also sharply criticized the vice president, writing that he has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
The memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, will be released next week.