What little I've read of Robert Gates's memoir is praiseworthy: Unlike so many public figures, who are shallow and self-serving in their indelible statements to history, the former secretary of defense appears to have delivered a forthright manuscript infused with moral criticism of the ruling-class tribe to which he belonged. His critiques are an important addition to public discourse, as you'd desire from a man no longer charged with governing, managing, or administering.
One passage struck me as more troubling and revealing than its author perhaps realizes. It concerns the Afghanistan policy review in 2009 and General Stanley McChrystal's surprise request for a substantial escalation of U.S. forces. The request "surprised the White House (and me) and provoked a debate that the White House didn't want," Gates wrote. "I think Obama and his advisers were incensed that the Department of Defense—specifically the uniformed military—had taken control of the policy process from them and threatened to run away with it."
Civilian control of U.S. foreign policy is rather important. So I can't help but marvel at the casual manner in which this former secretary of defense observes that the uniformed military did take control of the policy process with regard to Afghanistan, and implies that they had the capacity to "run away with" the policy process.