Sunday, June 8, 2014

the last book I ever read (Duty by Robert M. Gates, excerpt nine)

from Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates:

As for the senior members of the team, I had met Vice President Biden a few times on the Hill but don’t recall ever testifying in front of him or having any dealings with him. Biden is a year older than I am and went to Washington about six years after I did, when he was elected to the Senate in 1972. Joe is simply impossible not to like. He’s down to earth, funny, profane, and humorously self-aware of his motormouth. Not too many meetings had occurred in the Situation Room before the president started impatiently cutting Biden off. Joe is a man of integrity, incapable of hiding what he really thinks, and one of those rare people you know you could turn to for help in a personal crisis. Still, I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades. After one meeting at the White House, Mullen and I were riding back to the Pentagon together, and Mike turned to me and said, “You know you agreed with the vice president today?” I said I realized that and was therefore rethinking my position. Joe and I would disagree on many issues over two and a half years, especially Afghanistan, but the personal relationship always remained cordial. While Biden had been in Congress a lot longer than Vice President Cheney, both were very experienced politicians, and I found it odd that they both so often misread what Congress would or would not do. More about that later.

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