Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates came out swinging against President Obama, the White House, civilians and anyone who was not connected with our brilliant military leaders who were ready to win the war in Afghanistan until prevented by those damned civilians. He charged the president with lacking confidence in those who led the American armed forces who had the knowledge to defeat the Taliban, but were prevented. “All too early in the administration”according to Gates, “distrust of senior military officials by White House officials–including the president and vice-president–became a problem for me.” In blunt terms, Robert Gates explained why we did not defeat the Taliban. “The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him it’s all about getting out.” In fact, Gates told military leaders not to provide too much information to the president because the enemy was not in Afghanistan, but in the White House.
It is now clear why the US had problems in Åfghanistan. Our military leaders lacked any plan, any strategy to “win” a war that could NOT be “won” by the military! Guerrilla wars are won by gaining support of civilians and denying access to militants of those who live in the countryside. There is not a single example of winning guerrilla wars by bombing and killing militants unless accompanied by civilian leaders who have gained the trust of their own people. Robert Gates and American military leaders never understood the problem was not America, the problem was always inside Afghanistan and its corrupt government, its ineffective armed forces and failure to offer the people a vision of life in an expanding economy run by those who placed the interests of civilians over those of wealthy corrupt men.
Perhaps, Mr. Gates can write another book which places blame for the debacle of the Vietnam War on the heads of American civilian leaders who did not trust the military strategy then in place.