Best Defense

Cohen: Why ex-Defense Secretary Gates was wrong to publish that memoir now

Some little grasshoppers will remember that I am a fan of the memoirs of Robert Gates. But my friend Eliot Cohen argues powerfully in the Weekly Standard that Gates was wrong to publish them now: The publication of this memoir now is a breach of faith and a violation of propriety that is hard to ...

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Some little grasshoppers will remember that I am a fan of the memoirs of Robert Gates. But my friend Eliot Cohen argues powerfully in the Weekly Standard that Gates was wrong to publish them now:

The publication of this memoir now is a breach of faith and a violation of propriety that is hard to understand. If Gates believes that Obama is a disastrous president, surely he should have published this book in 2012, when it might have influenced the presidential election. If he is merely (and appropriately) contributing to our understanding of history, he should have waited until Obama leaves office. If he thinks he can change the president’s modus operandi and worldview by publishing it now, he is deluding himself.

Tom again: This is a strong argument, but I am not sure if the last sentence is correct. I think Gates could have an influence on Obama’s behavior, especially his tendency to favor the advice of political hacks over foreign policy experts.

NB: Unfortunately, money-losing unprofit magazine does not provide link.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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