About the only time President Obama showed any emotion for the U.S. military was when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy giving gays more freedom to serve was raised, said former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in his new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War.”
Mr. Gates said during a Sunday interview on television that he was concerned about Mr. Obama’s “absence of passion” on all matters dealing with military strategy. That was a 180-degree switch from former President George W. Bush, he said.
“One quality I missed in Obama was passion, especially when it came to the two wars,” Mr. Gates said, in his book. “In my presence, Bush — very unlike his father — was pretty unsentimental. But he was passionate about the war in Iraq; on occasion, at a Medal of Honor ceremony or the like, I would see his eyes well up. I worked for Obama longer than Bush, and I never saw his eyes well up.”
Mr. Gates also said Mr. Obama was far more involved and emotionally invested in his push to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military policy that prohibited gays from openly displaying their sexual preferences while serving.
He wrote, Fox News reported: “The only military matter, apart from leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ For him, changing the law seemed to be the inevitable next step in the civil rights movement. He presumably was also passionate about health care reform, but I wasn’t present for those discussions.”
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended Mr. Obama on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday and attacked Mr. Gates: “I think one of the things you take away, at least from the excerpts of this book, is that Bob Gates doesn’t like any questions about Bob Gates.”