• Duty my foot available for sale

    The most disappointing part of Robert M Gates memoirs are pages dealing with US Afghan War.General Mc Kiernan who Gates sacked as he was not good at sucking with Gates or pen pushers and bureaucrats like Michele Flournoy receives the most evasive treatment in Gates thick but meatless memoirs !As a matter of fact Mc Kiernan appeared as the most effective potential actor in the sordid Afghan drama destroyed by inexperienced chefs like Reidel ,Flournoy , Gates,Mc Chrystal and Petraeus.Mc Kiernan as Gates discussed in his memoirs saw the real issue with destroying insurgent safe havens in Pakistan (page-217).Gates gave this no serious thoughts in his lengthy but barren memoirs.I committed the grave  folly of buying this book and was disgusted at its lack of depth and substance when I finished it today on 23 May 2016.On page 211 Gates claims that 82nd Airborne division had done a great job in 2007 .This is debatable as 2007 saw hardly any fighting with total US casualties as low as 15 in the region held by 82nd Airborne .This was not the entire part of the story.Many US casualties in this region occurred due to the most idiotically and stupidly sited suicidal US post known as Shkin.Gates treatment about why US lives were wasted in barren wastes like Helmands are evasive and ambigious and an insult to the memory of 800 or so US lives pointlessly lost in Helmand.On page 340 Gates offers a lame duck excuse that Marines were sent to be sacrificed for no strategic purpose in Helmand as Marine general Conway wanted them deployed as a marine only show ! This is hilarious as well as ridiculous.Helmand as I worked there on USAID projects in 2004-5 contained nothing strategic except sand and drugs and morphia paste labs and there was nothing strategic in Helmand.Why Gates allowed US lives to be sacrificied for no strategic purpose will always remain an inexcusable blot on Gates shoulders as well as Mc Chrystal and Bruce Reidels shoulders .Helmand was never occupied in force by Soviets as it had no strategic significance.Why Mc Chrystal decided to sacrifice US lives there and why Gates allowed this to happen will always be a hard question to answer in US military history.As I anxiously read Gates memoirs I found no answers and was deeply disappointed with Gates lack of intellectual honesty.Gates does lamely acknowledge that it was his biggest mistake but fails to note the fact that some plus 700 US lives were lost due to Gates mistake .The greatest culprit in this exercise was US president Obama who thoughtlessly and lamely accepted the strategy of one Bruce Reidel who had never set a squadron in the field nor knew the division of battle in Afghanistan more than a spinster !Thus Gates on page-343 describes this super charge of the US Marine heavy brigade in Helmand and East Afghanistan as “ 17,000 soldiers he (Obama) already had approved would take the fight to the Taliban in the south and east ……†.Gates lamely acknowledges Pakistani duplicity about Taliban but fails throughout his book to explain what Gates did in tangible precise terms using tools of war and state craft to arm twist and discipline the Pakistanis all through his long five year long tenure as Secretary of Defence while he enjoyed power and munched KFC meals ! Apart from lacking a powerful pen Gates stands out as a man with a bad appetite and an inclination to like KFC junk meals !On page 344 Gates claims that generals like Mc Chrystal were great tactical innovators but fails to furnish a single proof of what great laurels were achieved precisely by Mc Chrystal in Afghanistan ?On page 345 Gates still remains unable to decide why he fired Mc Kiernan other than citing Michele Flournoy who was hardly a qualified judge to rate Mc Kiernan with only years of apple polishing and pedantry as a DOD civilian bureaucrat !Naturally Gates could not admit that Mc Kiernan was not good at sucking !