I’m going to show my readers this paragraph, than walk them through it. Background: it’s part of Robert Gates’ memoir on his time as SecDef. Specifically, Gates (with the help of the military brass) was trying to keep Afghanistan from sliding off of the beam under the new administration, and running headlong into the Obama administration’s apparent inherent inability to understand that wars are messy and not subject to control.
Oh, and the fact that the Democrats advising the President on military affairs were also, by and large, clueless idiots. But you knew that already.
Anyway, after apparently trying one too many times to make the President understand that warfighters need support staff, Barack Obama threw a tantrum:
[JCS Chairman Admiral Michael] Mullen and I repeatedly discussed with the infuriated president what he regarded as military pressure on him. “Is it a lack of respect for me?” Obama asked us. “Are [Petraeus, McChrystal and Mullen] trying to box me in? I’ve tried to create an environment where all points of view can be expressed and have a robust debate. I’m prepared to devote any amount of time to it—however many hours or days. What is wrong? Is it the process? Are they suspicious of my politics? Do they resent that I never served in the military? Do they think because I’m young that I don’t see what they’re doing?”
Oh, dear. This is rather exquisite narcissism, isn’t it? – And no, not self-reflection, either. The President was ‘infuriated,’ remember? That suggests that the President took the entire thing personally, in precisely the way that one should not. It’s not the military’s fault that Barack Obama was not mentally prepared to be Commander in Chief. Neither is it their fault that Obama apparently does not take constructive criticism well. Or at all. And it certainly isn’t their fault that the man thinks that the military updating their needs is somehow an indication that they dislike President Obama.
But I digress.