Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
|Author||Robert M. Gates|
|Subject||Presidency of George W. Bush, Presidency of Barack Obama, Afghan war, Iraq war|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|LC Class||E897.4.G37 A3 2014|
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War is a nonfiction book written by Robert M. Gates, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense. It was published in January 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf. The time period is from 2006 to 2011, and includes the George W. Bush administration (2006–2009), the Obama administration (2009–2011), the Afghan war, and the Iraq war.
Narrated in first person point of view, this record of events characterizes Secretary Gates' personal interactions with the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon's management structure, some military bureaucrats and the White House staff under President Obama. This memoir is also the first to recount the Obama administration’s policy discussions and debates during Presidential cabinet meetings.
As expressed in the book, disagreements with Obama’s White House staff and the other aforementioned organizations elicit strong emotions and criticisms from Gates. For example, President Obama's White House staff is seen as an imperious entity, who, as a group, are seen as "micromanagers" that engaged in "operational meddling". Additionally, Vice President Joe Biden's performance is criticized. Yet, at the same time, Biden is personally held in high regard. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's is held in high regard professionally and personally. She in fact was usually in agreement with Gates on policy issues.
President Obama is judged favorably at first, and not so favorably by 2011. However, towards the end of the book, Mr. Gates states that Mr. Obama's decision to send a United States Navy SEALs team after Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan was "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House". He also states that Obama's policy decisions pertaining to the "overall Afghan strategy" were correct. He also criticizes the George W. Bush administration's Afghan war, Iraq war, and Guantanamo Bay policies.
Gates came to the Obama Administration as a "respected professional and veteran of decades at the center of American foreign policy". As a Republican, he also represented President Obama's policy of bipartisanism. Over time, however, his relationship with Obama and his staff devolved. Protracted policy disagreements with Vice President Joe Biden, Tom Donilon (National Security Advisor), and U.S. Army Lieutenant General Douglas E. Lute (Afghan policy) are additionally recounted.
- Official website
- "Robert Gates and his career in Washington, D.C.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2014. Jacket Copy section
- "The Deliberations of War. 'Duty,' by Robert M. Gates, About Time With Bush and Obama". Books. The New York Times. January 8, 2014.
- "In Command. 'Duty,' a Memoir by Robert M. Gates". Sunday Book Review. The New York Times. January 13, 2014.
- Robert Gates was wrong on the most important issue he ever faced. The Washington Post. January 7, 2014.
- Interview with Charlie Rose Robert Gates, former secretary of defense discusses his book "DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War." January 14, 2014.
- Shanker, Tom (January 7, 2014). "Bipartisan Critic Turns His Gaze Toward ObamaIn His New Memoir Robert M. Gates". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Chayes, Sarah (January 12, 2014). "Robert Gates' failure of duty". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Woodward, Bob (January 7, 2014). "Robert Gates, former defense secretary, offers harsh critique of Obama's leadership in 'Duty'". The Washington Post. Washington D.C. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Cloud, David S. (January 7, 2014). "Ex-Defense Secretary Robert Gates has harsh words for Obama and Biden". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Altschuler, Glenn C (January 24, 2014). "'Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,' by Robert Gates". SF Gate - the online San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco: Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2014.