While calling him "an outstanding Secretary of Defense" and "a really decent guy," Vice President Joe Biden said Robert Gates "has been wrong about everything" in an article in the latest edition of The New Yorker.
The salvos escalate a war of words between the vice president and the former SecDef who served as the president of Texas A&M University before President George W. Bush brought him back to Washington to head up the Pentagon. President Barack Obama retained Gates when he won the White House.
In his recently-released book, "Duty," Gates wrote that Biden was “impossible not to like,” but that he was “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Biden's reply: “Bob Gates is a Republican, with a view of foreign policy that is, in many fundamental ways, different from mine. Bob Gates has been wrong about everything! Bob Gates is wrong about the advice he gave President Reagan about how to deal with Gorbachev! That he wasn’t real. Thank God the President didn’t listen to him. Bob Gates was wrong about the Balkans. Bob Gates was wrong about the bombing. Bob Gates was wrong about the Vietnam War, for Christ’s sake. You go back, and everything in the last forty years, there’s nothing that I can think of, major fundamental decisions relative to foreign policy, that I can think he’s been right about!”
The New Yorker notes when Biden was a senator, he voted against Gates when he was the nominee to head up the CIA, saying he had not foreseen the fall of the Soviet Union despite being a top Kremlinologist within the agency. Biden did not cast a vote for Gates when he was being confirmed for the Secretary of Defense job.
“I can hardly wait—either in a Presidential campaign or when I’m out of here—to debate Bob Gates," Biden said. "Oh, Jesus.”
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