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JSPES, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Fall 2014)
pp. 342 –362

A Provocative Look at Robert Gates’ “Memoirs of a Secretary at War”

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, retired

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Robert M. Gates, Alfred A. Knopf, 2014

In this article, we attempt to do something that Robert Gates probably never intended as he wrote these memoirs of his tenure as U.S Secretary of Defense during the middle years of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We are taking his very readable personal narrative and probing deeper than Gates himself has chosen to do. This involves taking seriously the many issues raised by the wars and the policy decisions regarding them, all as touched on in his book. The critique expressed here is intended to be “provocative” by delving into a number of issues that can benefit from more thought.