Robert Gates Pt. 1

  • Aired:  01/15/14
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Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates addresses the bipartisan bureaucratic mess in Washington. (7:15)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HE WAS THESECRETARY OF DEFENSE IN BOTH THE

GEORGE W. BUSH AND OBAMAADMINISTRATIONS.

HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED "DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR."

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAMROBERT GATES.

SIR --[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

THE BOOK IS OBVIOUSLY YOU'VESUFFERED AN -- APPARENTLY YOU

WROTE ABOUT CHRIS CHRISTIE ANDTHERE WAS RETRIBUTION.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> FINALLY BROUGHT ABOUT

BIPARTISAN ACTION, RETRIBUTION.

>> Jon: RETRIBUTION.

PEOPLE ARE VERY ANGRY AT YOUINSIDE WASHINGTON FOR HAVING THE

TEMERITY TOWRITE A MEMOIR.

I'M NOT SURE WHY BECAUSE MANYPEOPLE WRITE MEMOIRS ABOUT

THEIR TIME IN WASHINGTON.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU FACE SUCHSCRUTINY FOR THIS?

>> I THINK FIRST OF ALL I'MPRETTY BLUNT AND CANDID ABOUT

THE MESS IN THE PLACE.

AND, AS I SAY, IT'S NOT JUSTABOUT THE FACT THAT I WAS

BROUGHT TO WASHINGTON TO TRY TOSALVAGE TWO WARS BUT I HAD TO

WAGE WAR AGAINST THE CONGRESS,AGAINST MY OWN BUILDING, THE

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND ATTIMES AGAINST THE WHITE HOUSE,

OFTEN JUST TO GET THE RIGHTTHINGS DONE IN TERMS OF SUPPORT

FOR MEN AND WOMEN SERVING INAFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ AND EVEN

SUCH HORRIBLE THINGS AS CUTTINGTHE DEFENSE BUDGET.

>> Jon: HAVE YOU BEEN SURPRISEDTHAT THE MEDIA HAS GLOMMED ON TO

THE MORE SENSATIONAL ASPECTS?

>> NOT SURPRISED.

I'VE BEEN AROUND TOO LONG FORTHAT.

BUT I THINK THAT -- PEOPLE HAVEKIND OF PROVEN ONE OF THE POINTS

IN THE BOOK WHICH IS WASHINGTONIS SO POLARIZED THAT ABSOLUTELY

EVERYTHING IS USED TO PROVE ONEPOLITICAL POINT OR ANOTHER.

SO PEOPLE HAVE CHERRY-PICKEDINDIVIDUAL QUOTES IF IT SUPPORTS

THEIR POSITION.

THERE'S STUFF IN THIS BOOK.

IF YOU ARE FOR BUSH THERE'SSTUFF.

IF YOU ARE AGAINST HIM.

THERE'S MATERIAL.

SAME THING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMABUT I THINK IT'S A VERY HONEST

ACCOUNT.

AND I BASICALLY WROTE IT FOR ALLTHOSE KIDS WHO SERVE TO SHOW

THEM, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THEPASSION AND STRONG FEELINGS THAT

BOTH PRESIDENTS HAD ABOUT THESEWARS AND ABOUT THE TOUGH

DECISIONS THEY HAD TO FACE.

>> Jon: IT WAS UPSETTING TOSEE IT

SENSATIONALIZED IN THE MEDIA.

I THINK FOR ME THE BIG QUESTIONIS

WHO IS BETTER?

ANSWER THAT.

BUSH NOD ONCE OR OBAMAJUST DO THAT.

>> HOW ABOUT PUNTING?

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: IT IS -- IT'S VERY

INTERESTING HOW CONGRESS -- LIKEYOU SAY, IF YOU ARE FOR ONE

POLITICAL PARTY OR ANOTHER YOUCAN FIND THINGS ABOUT OBAMA OR

BUSH THAT ARE POSITIVE ORNEGATIVE.

CONGRESS ALMOST UNIVERSALLYCOMES OUTLOOKING VENAL AND

SMALL.

I THOUGHT BOY THAT SOUNDSACCURATE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> AND WHAT A REVELATION.

>> Jon: AND WHAT A REVELATION.

>> I'M SURE IT COMES AS NEW NEWSTO THE ENTIRE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

BUT WHERE I GET INTO IT IS INTHE SPECIFICS ON HOW THEY ARE

THAT WAY.

>> Jon: IT'S OFTEN TIMES WHENYOU WOULD BE TESTIFYING IN FRONT

OF CONGRESS IN TERMS OF PROGRESSON THESE VARIOUS SITUATIONS AND

THEY WOULD BEHIND THE SCENES BESOMEWHAT THOUGHTFUL AND

CIRCUMSPECT AND IN FRONT OFCAMERAS BE COMPLETE BRAYING

IDIOTS.

>> I SAY IN THE BOOK THAT THEEFFECT OF RED LIGHT ON A

TELEVISION CAMERA GOING ON HASTHE SAME EFFECT ON MEMBERS OF

CONGRESS AS THE FULL MOON DOESON WEREWOLVES.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> Jon: THE BUREAUCRACY OF IT,

STRATEGY OF IT ALL THAT STUFF ISFASCINATING BUT ON A GLOBAL

PICTURE, THE IDEA OF -- YOUKNOW, YOU SEE WHAT IS GOING ON

IN IRAN RIGHT NOW.

IT'S DETERIORATED ONCE AGAIN TOTERRIBLE VIOLENCE, AFGHANISTAN

AS WELL.

DOES IT POINT TO AN IDEATHAT MAYBE AMERICA FELL TOO IN

LOVE WITH A MARSHALL PLAN IDEAAFTER WARS AND WE'RE APPLYING

LESSONS WE LEARNED IN WORLD WAR2 TO THESE NEW FIGHTS IN THE

MIDDLE EAST, AND THEY'RE NOTAPPLICABLE

AND THAT STRATEGY IS DOOMED TOFAILURE TO SOME EXTENT?

>> ONE OF THE POINTS I MAKE INTHE BOOK IS THAT IN RECENT

DECADES, I BELIEVE PRESIDENTSWHEN CONFRONTED WITH A FOREIGN

CHALLENGE OR A FOREIGN PROBLEM,HAVE BEEN TOO QUICK TO REACH FOR

A GUN TO SOLVE IT.

I SAID IN ANOTHER BOOK I WROTE15 YEARS AGO THAT THE DIRTY

LITTLE SECRET IN WASHINGTON ISTHAT THE BIGGEST DOVES WEAR

UNIFORMS BECAUSE THEY'VE SEENWAR AND THE CONSEQUENCES AND

THEY'VE BEEN SENT INTO BATTLE,SENT INTO CONFLICT AND SEEN

POLITICAL SUPPORT EVAPORATEBECAUSE OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP,

THE LACK OF POLITICALLEADERSHIP OR WHATEVER.

ONE OF THE THEMES IS THAT WENEED BE A LOT MORE CAREFUL WHEN

WE USE MILITARY FORCE AND BEWILLING TO ADMIT WE DON'T

UNDERSTAND UNINTENDEDCONSEQUENCES AND THAT WE KNOW

VERY LITTLE, USUALLY,ABOUT OUR ADVERSARIES.

WE MAKE ASSUMPTIONS THAT ALLWARS WILL BE SHORT, WE'LL BE IN

AND OUT, 12 YEARS AFTER WE WENTINTO AFGHANISTAN.

THERE'S CAUTIONARY TALES AS WELOOK AT THE ISSUES WITH IRAN YOU

WERE DISCUSSING EARLIER.

>> Jon: IMMEDIATELY THAT'SWHAT SPRINGS TO MIND.

YOU BRING UP AN INTERESTINGPOINT.

IT'S A POINT BROUGHT UPCYCLICAL.

EISENHOWER WAS VERY CLEAR ABOUTTHE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

YOU BUILD THIS MACHINE ANDSOMEBODY WANTS TO USE IT IN

ANOTHER COUNTRY.

DOES IT TROUBLE YOU TO SEE THATTHERE'S A CERTAIN RIGIDITY IN

THE WAY THAT WE LOOK AT THEWORLD AND THE WAY WE LOOK AT

AMERICAN POWER AS BEINGINFALLIBLE.

>> WE HAVE MORE POWER THANANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

I DO BELIEVE WE'RE ANINDISPENSEIBLE NATION.

THERE'S REALLY NOT ANY MAJORINTERNATIONAL

PROBLEM TO BE SOLVEDWITHOUT THE UNITED STATES BEING

INVOLVED OR LEADING THE EFFORT.

BUT THE REALITY IS WE CAN'TSOLVE EVERY PROBLEM.

AND EVERY TIME THERE'S ANOPPRESSION OR TERRIBLE THING

HAPPENING INTERNATIONALLY THEANSWER IS NOT NECESSARILY TO

SEND IN AMERICAN TROOPS.

WE NEED TO PAY --[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

-- MORE ATTENTION.

>> Jon: WE'LL TAKE ACOMMERCIAL BREAK.

WE'LL BE BACK WITH MORE WITHROBERT GATES.

THE BOOK IS CALLED "DUTY"

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