January 9th, 2014
10:16 AM ET

White House: Obama Believes in Afghanistan Mission

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' criticism of his former boss President Barack Obama on Afghanistan doesn't align with the commander-in-chief's views, the White House said Wednesday.

In his memoir, which arrived at the White House on Tuesday evening, Gates states Obama "doesn't believe in his own strategy" in Afghanistan.

"For him, it's all about getting out," the former defense chief writes.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, argued Obama had helped "refocus" troops and commanders on the United States' mission in the country.

"The President devised the mission and has great faith in the troops who carry out the mission and in the mission itself, that it's the right mission to pursue in Afghanistan," Carney said in response to a question from CNN Senior White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar. "I think that's been borne out. That doesn't mean it's not a challenge. Of course it is."

Critics have faulted the timing of the memoir's release, though sources familiar with Gates' thinking say he stands by the book and his choice to publish the memoir next week.

He argued the book should be taken in full context, noting a considerable amount of praise for Obama, in addition to the tough criticisms.

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