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.”