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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Renowned Military Analyst Praises Robert Gates’ Memoir

The newly released book authored by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates titled 'Duty' is seen for sale at the Books and Books store on January 14, 2014 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The newly released book authored by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates titled ‘Duty’ is seen for sale at the Books and Books store on January 14, 2014 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thomas Ricks is the author of five books about the U.S. military and says the new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever.”

Thomas Ricks says Robert Gates' memoir is "probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever." (Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

Thomas Ricks says Robert Gates’ memoir is “probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

Ricks makes that case by asserting that Gates’ new book names names and offers insight into the difficult decisions that were made by the two presidents Gates served, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“Gates is writing from both the heart and the head, and what he was trying to do was give the Obama administration a shove for its last few years in office,” Ricks tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. “I think what he is saying in the book is that these people put politics above national security, and that they have too many political voices in the room and not enough national security voices at times of major decisions, and that they are contemptuous of the senior uniform military.”

However Ricks says he’s sympathetic towards President Obama when Gates criticizes him for never taking ownership of the war in Afghanistan.

“Of course he doesn’t own the war — he came into office against this. He called it the good war, contrasting it to Iraq. Nonetheless, it was clear Obama took office never intending to be a national security president and really had his eye on domestic policy,” Ricks says.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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