Gates was named Defense secretary by President
By early 2010, Gates writes, a "chasm" had opened between the White House and
He recounts sitting in a White House meeting in March 2011 in which Obama sharply criticized Army Gen.
Petraeus later resigned as head of the
The White House sought to play down Gates' harsh comments. In a statement, spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama "deeply appreciates Bob Gates' service" and "welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies."
Gates had favored using heavy bombers to obliterate the compound. The option was less risky because it did not involve putting troops on the ground, but might have left doubts about whether Bin Laden was in fact killed.
"I worked for Obama longer than Bush and I never saw his eyes well up," Gates writes. "The only military matter, apart from leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' " the law prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military that Obama successfully pushed to
Bush was willing to disagree with his military advisors but he did not question their motives or mistrust them, Gates writes. Obama was "respectful" of senior officers but often disagreed with them and was "deeply suspicious of their actions and their recommendations."
Gates takes special aim at some of Obama’s top advisors, including Vice President
Obama worried that top Pentagon officers, including Petraeus and Adm.
The White House defended Biden in its statement, saying Obama "disagrees with Secretary Gates' assessment" of the vice president.
Gates says relatively little about
At the same meeting, Gates implies that Obama also admitted that he opposed the Iraq troop surge as a political ploy.
"The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political," he writes. "To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."
At times, Gates seems to unburden himself from years of pent-up anger and frustration at Washington's grinding politics.
[Updated, 5:59 p.m. Jan. 7: That included
He concedes that the pressures of managing two wars at a time when thousands of U.S. troops were killed and wounded took a deep toll on his psyche. He feared that his concern for the well-being of the troops was affecting his judgment, a concern that led to his decision to resign.
"My fuse was really getting short," he writes. "It seemed like I was blowing up — in my own quiet way — nearly every day."