Keep an Eye on Robert Gates’ New Book: “Duty”

Yesterday, Bob Woodward and Max Fisher of the Washington Post each wrote a review of former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates’ book, “Duty,” coming out on January 14, 2014.

It’s causing ripples and outcries as this man was considered on both sides, Democrat and Republican, to be outstanding in his service for both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Per the selected excerpts, Gates is harsh, direct and unflinching in his writing. The talking heads and pundits are expressing surprise, astonishment, bewilderment (“How could he do that?!”).

He is highly critical of the Obama Administration, and downright pithy and astringent re Vice President Biden, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates praises Hilary Clinton, but points out she herself candidly admitted her stance against the surge in 2007 when she castigated David Petraeus was for political reasons rather than any true objection.

Gates, in the Wall Street Journal is equally scathing about Congress, “Congress is best viewed from a distance—the farther the better—because up close, it is truly ugly. I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country.”

Not having the read the book, my off the cuff opinion of why now rather than before the 2012 election is we have had scandal after scandal after scandal in the last year and we are way overdue for someone to stand up and say, “Enough.”

We have a Supreme Court Justice who changes his opinion less than a week before it is due to be published; we have Fast & Furious of weapons being sold from the United States to Mexican drug cartels by the ATF, resulting in at least one American dead and something like 300 Mexican citizens; we have the IRS targeting groups for their political views; we have Benghazi and the murder of four Americans with no rescue being attempted, lie upon lie from the White House and the Secretary of State to grieving families and to the world at large that it was due to an anti-Islam film and a wee protest that got out of hand, with witnesses kept hidden from Congressional Oversight Committees; we have the NSA scandal of phone and emails tapped and records kept; we have several top military generals suddenly retiring or being relieved of command… We have an American President who outright lied to the American people about Obamacare and what it would entail, not to mention a complete and utter failure of a roll out of Obamacare, as well as all the exceptions that have been granted; laws that have been waived improperly by the President, instead of by Congress.

I woke up this morning and found myself remembering a scene from a sci-fi series by Lois McMaster Bujold, where her hero, Miles Vorkosigian, poses a puzzle that goes something like, you are in a room with two people, one of whom always tells the truth, the other always lies. There are two doors out of the room. Behind one is a man-eating tiger, the other door leads to safety. You can only ask one question to determine which door is the safe one. What do you ask? … My memory is, “What would the other person say is the safe door?” When asked to explain, Miles says, “Work it out.” I worked it out this a.m. The liar will say, “He will say door 1.” The truthful one will say, “He will say door 1.” Therefore, the safe door is Door 2. (I think.)

The world is going mad, turning upside down and inside out. Our language is losing its meaning. It began when “bad” suddenly meant “good,” as in, “You are looking bad.” It has now progressed to such nuances as “You like your insurance. You can keep your insurance. You like your doctor. You can keep your doctor.”

The quickest way to undermine peoples’ confidence in their government is to say one thing and do another. To lie to them and continue lying to them. In my analysis, people are being pressured, possibly blackmailed to change their positions or opinions, buckle down, be bribed, resign or be fired or “this information will be released.”

23 thoughts on “Keep an Eye on Robert Gates’ New Book: “Duty”

  1. Good article! I wanted to post a link to the Smothers Brothers appearance on the Craig Ferguson show but I can’t figure out how to do that here. Thought you might appreciate it. I posted it on my blog. Made me laugh. Good commentary on politicians. Kinda’ ties in with some of what you’re saying.


  2. “If you like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution.” and here’s the other Wildcard: “If you like your religion, you can keep it.” I’d say we are on rather thin ice….learn to swim, my friend.


  3. Hi Hunt!
    I often wondered how many military generals, supreme court justices and others have been blackmailed. It is just too much of a coincidence to not only have these people change their minds but to do it so fast.
    On the “always telling lies” I agree but what is even worse is when they randomly do it. Random is a confusing non-sequence. Now with “always” most of the people can see what is going on (except for those who wish not to). Thanks for a great post.


    • Thanks for commenting, Wally. There are always suspicions and even accusations of conspiracies. There have been too many incidences and, as you say, to change so fast.

      I am deeply troubled by our media giving the Obama Administration a pass or even covering for him. He is rarely asked a tough question. His performance in the debates of 2012 and Candy Crowley’s shocking behavior as the moderator still stuns me. He gives new meaning to the words Teflon President.

      I think the randomness might also be a part of the pattern in that it only appears random as more and more evidence mounts it has affected every agency in our government.


      • You and I are on the same page about Candy Crowley and her abject failure as a moderator. I blame Romney for not making a comment about it right then and there. Of course that may have been worse because the press would have said he was bullying the moderator.


        • He did try, but I think he quickly realized the deck was stacked against him and he wouldn’t win either way in the moment. It was so obviously rigged – with Obama bleating, “Candy, tell him!”


  4. Hunt, Your atuneness to all things political continue to amaze me. If I didn’t have the ability to think freely I would follow you off the edge of the earth.So many times you express the thoughts that rattle around in my head, I may or may not have gotten to the same point in time, but reading your analysis makes it easier for me. There is no doubt I would enjoy sitting with you to talk and mostly listen. Take care, be safe. Bill


    • Oh dear, Bill – there are no edges, the earth is round. LOL. I try to be careful in my analysis and account for my own biases. I am very dismayed by how we are now more divided than we have ever been – making a mockery of e pluribus unum.

      With a bit of luck, Bill, you and I will one day meet and chat our fool heads off! Grin.


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