'After months of debate with Gates and top advisers, Obama ordered a troop surge in Afghanistan in late 2009. Around 30,000 soldiers were to be the final push for stabilizing the war-torn country before a phased withdrawal starting in mid-2011.
“I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”
Gates writes that after Gen. David Petraeus, then the central commander for both major wars, made public remarks suggesting he was not comfortable to setting a fixed date for the US military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Obama openly chided his military leadership for “popping off in the press” during a major National Security Council meeting.
According to Gates, Obama said,“‘If I believe I am being gamed …’ and left the sentence hanging there with the clear implication the consequences would be dire.”
Gates added:“I was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusing” Petraeus, and possibly Chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gates himself,“of gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus. As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”