Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

From the previous secretary of safeguard, a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his event serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

earlier than Robert M. Gates obtained a choice from the White apartment in 2006, he notion he’d left Washington politics at the back of: after operating for 6 presidents in either the CIA and the nationwide safety Council, he used to be chuffed in his position as president of Texas A&M college. but if he used to be requested to aid a country mired in wars and to help the troops doing the battling, he replied what he felt was once the decision of accountability. Now, during this unsparing memoir, meticulously reasonable in its exams, he is taking us behind the curtain of his approximately 5 years as a secretary at conflict: the battles with Congress, the 2 presidents he served, the army itself, and the large Pentagon paperwork; his efforts to assist Bush flip the tide in Iraq; his position as a guiding, and sometimes dissenting, voice for Obama; the ardent devotion to and love for American soldiers—his “heroes”—he built at the task.

In touching on his own trip as secretary, Gates attracts us into the innermost sanctums of presidency and armed forces strength throughout the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, illuminating iconic figures, very important negotiations, and important occasions in revealing, intimate aspect. supplying unvarnished value determinations of Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Presidents Bush and Obama between different key gamers, Gates exposes the entire spectrum of behind-closed-doors politicking inside of either the Bush and Obama administrations.

He discusses the nice controversies of his tenure—surges in either Iraq and Afghanistan,  how one can take care of Iran and Syria, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Guantánamo Bay, WikiLeaks—as they performed out at the back of the tv cameras. He brings to lifestyles the placement Room throughout the Bin encumbered raid. And, searingly, he exhibits how congressional debate and motion or inactiveness on every thing from gear budgeting to troop withdrawals used to be usually inspired, to his expanding melancholy and anger, extra by way of occasion politics and media effect than by way of individuals’ wants to defend our squaddies and make sure their good fortune.

despite the fact that embroiled he turned within the trials of Washington, Gates makes transparent that his center was once continuously within the most vital theater of his tenure as secretary: front strains. We trip with him to either conflict zones as he meets with active-duty troops and their commanders, awed by means of their braveness, and in addition witness him greet coffin after flag-draped coffin back to U.S. soil, heartbreakingly acutely aware that he signed each deployment order. In frank and poignant vignettes, Gates conveys the human fee of battle, and his admiration for these courageous sufficient to adopt it while helpful.
Duty tells a robust and deeply own tale that permits us an unheard of examine administrations and the wars that experience outlined them.

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He have been very candid with me approximately many stuff, together with his vice chairman, and he inspired similar candor on my half. I left convinced that if I turned secretary, he could anticipate and need me to inform him precisely what i presumed, and that i knew i might haven't any hassle doing that. i used to be in a daze at the force again to the collage. for 2 weeks, turning into secretary of security have been feasible, one I persisted to half-hope wouldn't turn into a fact. After the interview, whereas the president had now not advised me to pack my luggage, I knew what lay in entrance of me. approximately part previous 5 that afternoon, I acquired an e mail from Bush forty-one: “How did it cross? ” I replied, “I might be off-base, yet i feel it went really good. i used to be definitely chuffed on the entire concerns I raised (including those you and that i talked about). … except I pass over my wager, this factor goes to move ahead. ” I went on, “Mr. President, i believe unhappy approximately very likely leaving A&M yet I additionally think lovely stable approximately going again to assist out at a severe time. you recognize, except a handshake while he was once governor of Texas, i actually had by no means spent any time together with your son. this day we spent over an hour jointly by myself, and that i loved what I observed. might be i will be able to aid him. ” I requested him to be circumspect approximately how a lot he knew, and he fast answered, “I don't leak! Lips sealed says this more than pleased, very proud pal of yours. ” actually mins later Bolten known as to inform me the president had made up our minds to maneuver ahead. A one p. m. press assertion was once deliberate for Wednesday, November eight, by way of a televised three-thirty presidential visual appeal with Secretary Rumsfeld and me within the Oval workplace. Cheney, as he wrote in his memoir, had hostile the president’s choice to switch Rumsfeld, who was once an previous good friend, colleague, and mentor. I suspected as a lot on the time and was once relieved whilst Bolten handed alongside to me that Secretary of nation Rice were captivated with my nomination and that the vp had stated i used to be “a solid guy. ” As Bolten stated, coming from Cheney, that was once excessive compliment. I saved Becky expert of all this—I didn’t dare do otherwise—and expressed just one misgiving to her as that Sunday ended. The Bush management through then was once held in beautiful low esteem around the kingdom. I instructed her, “I need to do that, yet I simply wish i will be able to get out of this management with my recognition intact. ” THE assertion On Monday, the ponderous wheels of an important affirmation approach started to movement, nonetheless in mystery. My first touch was once with the White apartment advice, Harriet Miers, to start facing all of the ethics questions linked to my club on company forums of administrators, my investments, and all of the relaxation. The political facet of affirmation started on Tuesday, while i used to be requested to supply lists of individuals of Congress i presumed will be confident of their reactions, in addition to former officers, reporters, and others who may be anticipated to remark favorably on my choice. i used to be requested to be on the White condo at midmorning at the 8th.

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