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White House defends Biden, Obama over former Pentagon chief's memoir controversy

English.news.cn   2014-01-09 07:50:21            
 • White House defended Biden and Obama amid an escalating controversy over Gates' new memoir.
 • Gates unleashed severe criticism against Biden, according to excerpts of the book.
 • Gates also doubted Obama's leadership and commitment to his own Afghanistan strategy.


WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Wednesday continued to defend Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama amid an escalating controversy over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new memoir.

Questions related to Gates' criticism in his new memoir against Biden, Obama and top aides in the White House dominated the White House daily briefing on Wednesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney stressed that Obama and the rest of the White House team "simply just disagree with that assessment" of Gates about Biden.

Gates unleashed severe criticism against Biden, according to excerpts of the book which were released by several leading U.S. newspapers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," Gates wrote.

In defending Biden, Carney said, "As a senator and as a vice president, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time and he has been an excellent counselor and adviser to the president for the past five years."

In his memoir, Gates also doubted Obama's leadership and commitment to his own Afghanistan strategy and accused the White House staff of being too controlling over national security issues, who "took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level. "

Gates described a pivotal meeting in March 2011 to discuss the U.S. withdrawal timetable. "As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand Karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his, " he wrote. "For him, it's all about getting out."

Carney argued that Obama has "great faith" in the troops and the mission itself. The spokesman, however, dodged questions about Gates' assertion that Obama couldn't stand Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying that Obama made foreign policy decisions based only on the nation's strategic goals.

"The issues here are not about personalities, they're about policies," said Carney.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden responded quickly by releasing a statement late Tuesday night, following Tuesday's reports of Gates' new memoir.

"As we noted yesterday, the president greatly appreciates Secretary Gates' service to the president's administration and to the country," said Carney, echoing Hayden's statement.

Carney acknowledged that the White House has received copies of the book on Tuesday night, but Obama has not read it.

"Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War" is scheduled for release on Jan. 14. Gates served as the Pentagon chief for nearly five year, which started from former President George W. Bush's second term and continued into Obama's first term at his request.

It is rare for a former Cabinet member, let alone a defense secretary occupying a central position in the chain of command, to publish such an antagonistic portrait of a sitting president, The Washington Post reported.


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In both leaders' second phone call within a week, Biden encouraged Maliki to continue to work with local, tribal, and national leaders and welcomed his decision to extend state benefits to tribal forces killed or injured in fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), commonly known as al- Qaida in Iraq, the White House said in a statement.  Full story

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Editor: Luan
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