A former top Obama administration official’s past criticism of President Biden’s foreign policy failures has resurfaced in the wake of an attack on a U.S. military outpost in Jordan that tragically took the lives of three American soldiers over the weekend.
That official, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, first expressed his displeasure with Biden’s foreign policy positions in a 2014 memoir titled, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” writing that although Biden was a man of integrity, he believed the former senator and then-vice president had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Gates doubled down on those claims when asked about his book during a 2021 interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” saying, “I think he’s gotten a lot wrong.” He then pointed to what he said was Biden’s opposition to “every one of Ronald Reagan’s military programs to contest the Soviet Union,” the first Gulf War, and to their differences concerning the war in Afghanistan.
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Gates also said he believed Biden made a mistake in the way he handled the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan that same year.
First appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2006, Gates was the sole cabinet member to remain in his post after Obama took office in 2009. He stepped down from the role in June 2011. Prior to his appointment, Gates served as the Director of the CIA and as Deputy National Security Advisor to former President George H. W. Bush.
The Pentagon on Monday identified the names of the three U.S. soldiers killed in the Iran-backed militia attack as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Spc. Kennedy Landon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga.
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All were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Ga.
Critics lashed out at Biden following the attack, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who called for the president to hit Iran “hard” in retaliation.
“When the Biden Administration says ‘don’t’, the Iranians ‘do’. The Biden Administration’s rhetoric is falling on deaf ears in Iran. Their policy of deterrence against Iran has failed miserably. There have been over 100 attacks against U.S. forces in the region. Iran is undeterred,” Graham said in a statement.
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The soldiers’ deaths marked a major escalation of violence in the ongoing attacks on U.S. forces in the region. The Biden administration has blamed these attacks on Iran-backed militia groups in Syria and Iraq who have struck American targets in retaliation for the U.S.’ support of Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza that began on Oct. 7.
Per the DOD, there have been 165 attacks in Iraq, Syria, and now Jordan since Oct. 17. Of these, 66 were in Iraq, 98 were in Syria, and one was in Jordan.
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The Pentagon says more than 40 people were injured in the weekend attacks on a small desert installation known as Tower 22 in Jordan. At least eight were medically evacuated and the most seriously hurt service is in critical but stable condition.
An additional 80 U.S. service members have been injured since Oct. 17.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.