Jan. 15 - Former U.S. defence chief Robert Gates tempers some of his criticism of Obama, but says the president was unwilling to stress the importance of the mission in Afghanistan. Michaela Cabrera reports.
On a book tour in New York, former U.S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tempers some of his criticism of President Barack Obama. His memoir entitled "Duty" released this week complains that Obama did not believe in his own strategy. He spoke to an audience, wearing a neck brace due to an injury. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES SAYING: "The President made decisions that I thought were the right decisions. Whether it was the Afghan surge, I describe his decision on the bin Laden raid as one of the most courageous acts I have ever seen a president carry out. And so despite the complexity of the problems and the heated-ness of the debates, I was always comfortable with the decisions that he made at the end." But Gates said Obama was lacking in effort to explain why the Afghanistan mission was important. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES SAYING: "The things that troubled me were the suspicion of the military, the senior military and this preoccupation with getting out. And in this context, I didn't mind the speeches about exit strategies. What I missed and what underpinned that quote that you read was the President's unwillingness to go out repeatedly and say why succeeding in Afghanistan was important. Why the mission that he was sending men and women in uniform to fulfill was just and noble and worth their sacrifice. That to me is responsibility of the commander-in-chief, and I did not see that in President Obama." Gates had agreed to Obama's request in 2008 to remain as defense secretary, after serving in the Bush administration. He was the first Pentagon chief to serve presidents of different parties.