In the first book penned by a former member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, Robert Gates issued heavy criticism of the Obama administration for the way it handled the war in Afghanistan, as well as its "controlling nature." Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense for two years under President Barack Obama, writes in "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" that he was "deeply uneasy" about the administration's "lack of appreciation - from the top down - of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war." The New York Times published excerpts from the 600-page book on Tuesday. Describing a 2009 meeting where senior officials discussed the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Gates said that Obama showed a lack of faith in General David Petraeus - the man he had chosen to lead the mission - as well as the mission itself.
"As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand Afghan President Hamid Karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his," noted Gates. "For him, it's all about getting out." "I never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission," he added. Gates also expressed his disdain for the "micromanagement and operational meddling" of Obama's national security team, as well as the size and growth of the National Security Council. It was the NSC that issued a statement Tuesday defending Vice President Joe Biden, someone Gates described as a "man of integrity" but who was also "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." The NSC called Biden "one of the leading statesmen of our time," while the White House announced that Wednesday's private lunch shared by Obama and Biden will now be open to photographers, suggesting the president is intent on showing his support for Biden in the face of Gates' criticism. The book will go on sale in the U.S. next week.