Monday, June 9, 2014

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

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

Three days later I went through many of those concerns in the Oval Office with the president. Biden, Mullen, Jones, Donilon, Brennan, and Tony Blinken, the vice president’s national security adviser, were there. I told Obama he needed to consider the ramifications of a no-warning Israeli attack or Iranian provocation, either of which likely would require a U.S. military response within minutes or hours. I said that the principals had not “chewed” on these issues, and they should. To be better prepared for any eventuality in the Gulf, I told Obama I wanted to take several military steps by November 1, including deploying a second aircraft carrier there, adding better missile defense and radar capabilities, sending a third Aegis destroyer, and forward-positioning other equipment. I asked that the policy issues and added deployments I recommended be addressed urgently, in particular because the military moves required significant lead time. Obama said we should look at options, but he would make no concrete decisions now.

I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, “For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe, you be my witness.” I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters.

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