Magazine February 24, 2014, Issue

At the Summit

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert M. Gates (Knopf, 640 pp., $35)

Robert Gates served as secretary of defense during the pivotal war years of 2006 through mid 2011. His powerful memoir is insightful, tendentious, angry, elucidating, contradictory, and honest. Gates saw it as his duty to align military strategy with national policy. The policy objective was to build secure democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates concluded that that goal was unattainable — yet he appointed commanders who fervently pursued it. This imparts a sense of drama to his memoir.

The book will be widely purchased, but thinly read, owing to its length. Gates addresses five topics: fighting wars, managing the Pentagon, counseling

Bing WestMr. West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine, is a military historian. He has written ten books about our wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the latest of which is The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Europe’s Green Collapse

Remember when the spin from environmentalists and the Obama administration was that renewable “green”-energy mandates and subsidies would help the economy create millions of “green jobs”? President Obama still trumpets, ...
Politics & Policy

Pre-K Decay

The evidence seemed overwhelming. When Rutgers professor Steven Barnett gave a congressional briefing on preschool last spring, he touted higher test scores, improved graduation rates, reduced crime, less welfare use, ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

At the Summit

Robert Gates served as secretary of defense during the pivotal war years of 2006 through mid 2011. His powerful memoir is insightful, tendentious, angry, elucidating, contradictory, and honest. Gates saw ...
Politics & Policy

Failing Upward

This may not have been the best time for Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle to write a book squarely in the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell. For whatever reason, Gladwell’s mesmerizing essays, ...
Politics & Policy

Loss Leaders

To movie obsessives, the Oscars are fascinating, frustrating, riveting, infuriating — a spectacle we love to hate and love to love. To normal people, though, they’re something much more basic: ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

GREEN Time was there was no smog in city parks. The poisons started only at the sidewalks, A sick fog heading to its source: high tiers, The lofty realm of chiefs and financiers. The public ...
Happy Warrior

Deny This

Handing out his awards for “sustainability” at Buckingham Palace the other day, the Prince of Wales made a few remarks about “climate change” and attacked “powerful groups of deniers” as ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Peace and Prosperity The last time I wrote a letter to an editor was in 1969. Two items in the January 27 issue have now moved me to write again. While fulfilling ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We feared the ACA would make companies not want to hire. Good news! It just makes employees not want to work. ‐ The latest from the Chris Christie Super Bowl: ...

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