Gates Insulted Obama Predicted Gates’ Actions
Dave Weigel has identified “The funniest part of Robert Gates’ very serious new memoir.”
So: It’s the fall of 2010, and Gates is meeting with the president and top brass. ”Biden, Mullen, Jones, Donilon, Brennan, and Tony Blinken, the vice president’s national security adviser, were there.” The subject: how to be ready if a conflict between Iran and Israel ignites. Gates worries that the particulars have not thought the scenario through, and advises the president to deploy a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf soon, just in case. The meeting ends.
I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, “For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe, you be my witness.” I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters.
Dave snarks, “Yes, what would give the president that idea?”
Without reading the passage, it’s not obvious in how much detail describes the “sensitive matters” at hand or implies that the president made decisions about Israel or Iran. From my sense of Gates, he didn’t reveal anything he thought should remain private.
Regardless, it’s amusing—not only because Gates did in fact go on to chronicle this in his memoirs but because it seems obvious that the president was making a joke, not covering his ass.