You Can’t Make This Shit Up

Dave Weigel highlights an unintentionally hilarious excerpt from former Def Sec Robert Gates’ memoir. The scene is at the endpoint of a meeting between the president, VP, top brass, et al, regarding the strategy to handle a hypothetical conflict between Israel and Iran:

I was put off by the way the president closed the meeting. To his very closest advisers, he said, “For the record, and for those of you writing your memoirs, I am not making any decisions about Israel or Iran. Joe, you be my witness.” I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters.

Self-awareness, Mr. Gates. Please procure some at once.






61 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    You have obviously never dealt with DoD procurement regulations.

  2. 2
    Karen in GA says:

    Oh, FFS. I’m just gonna glue my face to my palm, since it’s there so much anyway.

  3. 3
    hildebrand says:

    When Gates plasters himself all over the Sunday chat shows, will anyone have the nerve to call him out on this? That, I would pay to see.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    To be fair, he wasn’t writing about the meeting he was writing about his hurt feelings regarding the closed meeting and the stuff about the closed meeting needed to be there for context. Or something.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @hildebrand: No, because then Gates would write a book about MSM being disrespectful.

  6. 6
    Cermet says:

    Only someone with the ego of a Washington insider could be both so clueless yet aware of a “special” Washington piece of dirt so they could write a line so damning of themselves while still thinking they are spilling the beans on their target – asswipe.

  7. 7
    Big R says:

    @Baud: What does that even mean?

  8. 8
    Citizen_X says:

    STOP ACCUSING ME OF DOING WHAT I’M DOING!

  9. 9
    scav says:

    The Mirror Test. Not passed by all of the so-called higher aka great apes.
    Can I get General Magpie on the phone please?

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    I love this. I hope it gets picked up and he’s mocked all over the place for it.

    @hildebrand: How much time is Gates really going to get on the Sunday shows? Won’t everyone really want to talk about Christie?

  11. 11
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Just between you and me (and all my readers) Obama thinks I can’t keep a secret.

  12. 12
    jl says:

    Pomposity, pomposity, I am surrounded by pomposity.

    Maybe Gates was offended that Obama seems to have directed the joke to that ‘wrong about every important foreign policy issue for the last billion years’ halfwit Biden, instead of a Great, Sound and Worthy Man, Gates.

    Yeebus save us. from these people, I beg and plead.

    Edit: or crap and God Forbid, maybe Gates took that to mean Biden was working on his memoirs and get his published first, so Gatesy better get on the stick and scribble one out quick fast, maybe even while the last administration he served on was still open for business.

    Think, if Biden got one done first, that dimwit would get more attention that Gates. Worse than being thrown into the lowest circle of Hell!

  13. 13
    Bill Arnold says:

    This isn’t hard. He “was offended”. However, he had a change of heart, and was not offended later, while writing the book. [I could see the Sunday shows completely buying this argument.][or what Omnes Omnibus said]

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    Awareness, thy name is not Republican.

  15. 15
    Mike in NC says:

    What job will Bob Gates be angling for under President Christie? I’m going with Chief of Staff since all of the governor ‘s current staff will have long since been fired.

  16. 16
    srv says:

    I think he needed an editor. Or two.

    Seems to run like some stream-of-conciousness thingy.

  17. 17
    kc says:

    I was offended by his suspicion that any of us would ever write about such sensitive matters.

    LMAO!

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Big R:

    Just ignore it.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But doesn’t his book detail sensitive conversations elsewhere?

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    I guess he was offended that Obama was not a complete naif and recognized that Gates was willing to sell him out in his memoirs.

  21. 21
    J says:

    Wasn’t Obama being both funny and in a way complimentary to the grand people in the room who would be writing memoirs?

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    Quite apart from the self awareness issue, why would he be offended by such an obvious quip?

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike in NC: How about “Chief of Blowjobs for 4 Stars”?

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    This will make perfect and total sense to Sarah Palin, though she will not have any idea that there is a contradiction.

  25. 25
    WaterGirl says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: Nicely done!

  26. 26
    aimai says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I misread it too–it wasn’t a “closed meeting” it was “the close of the meeting.” Obama “closed” the meeting with his statement. I think.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    The Freedom Industries spokesperson is speaking–not sure if it’s the CEO or what–and he’s got some sort of a British accent. Reminds me of BP and the oil spill in the Gulf. Oh great, he just drank some water out of a bottle of water. Talk about a poor PR move.

  28. 28
    Trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Easy-peasy: Baron von Tollbooth.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    Oh great, he just drank some water out of a bottle of water. Talk about a poor PR move.

    It worked for Marco Rubio…

  30. 30
    Violet says:

    @Roger Moore: Someone handed him the bottle of water. He’s completely inexperienced in talking in front of microphones and cameras. He keeps walking over to the person who asks the question. They’ve had to remind him to stay in front of the microphones and literally explain to him, “Even if the question comes from over there, we need you to stay in front of the cameras.”

    He also said he was done and it was all he had time for, walked away, and the reporters started yelling after him and he came back and answered more questions. Just completely out of his element.

  31. 31
    Trollhattan says:

    @Violet:

    Don Blankenship is tanned and ready, in case they need somebody to step in and destroy evidencetake charge.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    Ummm…maybe H/T Invaluable Commenter Bill E Pilgrim?

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @srv: I think he needed an editor. Or two.

    There’s a provocative sentence in Woodward’s review about Hillary, Obama and “The Surge”
    He writes: “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”
    that is so badly written you wonder if it isn’t deliberately vague to allow for misinterpretation. Now that I consider that it’s Bob “Norma Desmond” Woodward’s ellipse, i suppose the bad writing/editing could be his. I’m sure if whatever he left out would have reflected badly on That One, he wouldn’t have left it out.

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Violet: I hate that this happened, and I feel desperately sorry for the WVians affected by the chemical spill, but damn, this is funny:

    Oh great, he just drank some water out of a bottle of water. Talk about a poor PR move.

  35. 35
    Mike G says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    This isn’t hard. He “was offended”. However, he had a change of heart, and was not offended later, while writing the book. [I could see the Sunday shows completely buying this argument.][or what Omnes Omnibus said]

    Or, he had no intention of disclosing the meeting, but was so insulted by Obama’s insinuation that he would break confidentiality that he was driven to disclose the meeting. From the Republican “It’s your fault I mistreat you” school of argument.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @Mike G: “You made me hit you.” Typical abusive behavior. Typical Republican.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Those are just there for context as well. The book is obviously the story of Gates’s emotional journey – his feelings are what matter not the facts.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    Honestly, I can’t help thinking Gates is a closet Obama supporter. Why else is he telling all of these stories that sound really juicy to the Village but end up making Gates look bad and Obama look good?

    Did Woodward finally get punk’d by one of his own subjects? Because that would be sweet.

  39. 39
    Ruckus says:

    @Baud:
    I’ve seen some of them. I’ve worked as a subcontractor on DoD projects.
    So your comment is appropriate.

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I’m thinking he really is just an idiot. Not uneducated, but lacks the sense of a cockroach. Or as one of my professors stated, “If more people had common sense, it might be appropriately named”

  41. 41
    Bob says:

    @Baud:

    Just ignore it.

    What does that even mean? It’s the fucking comments where nothing gets ignored and nothing goes unpunished.

  42. 42
    MattF says:

    Oops. Makes you wonder if anyone read the manuscript before it was published. You’d think… an editor would read that line and shoot an email to Bob. “Hey, Bob– this sentence makes you look like you’re unaware of your own pomposity.” Or, maybe not.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @Bob:

    It was a lame, off the cuff attempt at a joke. Wasn’t worth trying to explain. I shall self flagellate in shame.

    @Ruckus:

    Thanks.

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    @MattF:
    Maybe the editor met Bob and found out he really is this pompous.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Big R:

    What does that even mean?

    Yeah, see, Betty said

    Self-awareness, Mr. Gates. Please procure some at once.

    and then Baud said

    You have obviously never dealt with DoD procurement regulations.

    and because Gates used to be SecDef and there was a reference to DoD pro urgent, it was funny.

    To some of us.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I assume pro urgent = procurement? Damn autocorrect.

  48. 48
    Ruckus says:

    @Baud:
    No worries.
    Some people have never been exposed to the world that is DoD. And they would probably never get the joke without that. Could you explain it so they’d believe it otherwise? I didn’t think so.

    ETA And I see that I took it literally and others see the play on words. Works both ways actually.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Ah fuck. Once again auto-correct has its demonic way with me.

    PROCUREMENT, not PRO URGENT.

    Goddammit.

    PROFUCKINGCUREMENT.

  50. 50
    WereBear says:

    @MattF: Makes you wonder if anyone read the manuscript before it was published.

    I honestly don’t think they do that anymore. Editors is expensive!

  51. 51
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud: Yep, see #49.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Thanks.

    Pas de problème.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    I turned autocorrect off.
    Still checks my spelling of course, otherwise my comments would be unreadable for a couple of reasons. And of course it wants to correct autocorrect. Computers are wonderful tools, used correctly.

    However…..

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: Nope, since I discovered it independently. So we know Slate has at least TWO readers.

  55. 55
    sdhays says:

    I’m not going to read it myself (you couldn’t pay me to read these kind memoirs), but in context, is it possible that Gates is actually making a joke here? It seems clear that the President was being light-hearted; you’d basically have to be pretty thin-skinned to take offense to that. Now, Bob Gates was working at the top of the Washington power structure, so there’s a very, very good chance that he does indeed have such a thin skin, but this could also be a case of taking intentional irony a little too literally.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    So we know Slate has at least TWO readers.

    And, sadly, I had previously thought so highly of you.

  57. 57
    Hawes says:

    Please proceed Mr Secretary.

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    @Cermet:

    Only someone with the ego of a Washington insider could be both so clueless yet aware of a “special” Washington piece of dirt so they could write a line so damning of themselves while still thinking they are spilling the beans on their target – asswipe.

    No matter how much I know that the media is 100% in the bag for the GOP, heck, even explain it to other people from time to time, but it still boggles my mind how brazen their bullshit’s become. Gates talks about his hurt fee-fees because Obama suspected him of doing exactly what he’s doing this very second, and nobody says a goddamn thing. Teabagger groups plaster their political affiliation on their front door, scream murder when the IRS considers removing their apolitical-therefore-tax-exempt status, and everyone goes right along with it. I really do expect “War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength” to be officialized as the media’s new slogan any day now.

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:

    Gates, he confirms that he has a totally Republican sense of ethics.

    This is to say, as near to none as is possible and still be a measurable tho tiny gap. Or perhaps even an inverse sense of ethics, that is, to believe that doing wrong is right. Lots of Republicans seem to believe that helping people is evil, and kicking unemployed parents in the face is necessary in order to have a successful government.

    What would you expect from a guy who worked with professional torturers and war criminals?

  60. 60
    balconesfault says:

    Down here in Texas we’d call that just another Aggie joke …

  61. 61
    LAC says:

    @Violet: I guarantee that it will not be by David “how many days do I have left?” Gregory. That man is literally on the five colon a day plan with all the republican ass he eats on that show. So get ready for fawning.

Comments are closed.