Robert Gates memoir: Top 5 bombshells

Early leaks of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ highly anticipated memoir have yielded a slew of insider tidbits about the personalities and behind-the-scenes struggles of Presidents Bush and Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other top officials as they fought wars on two fronts.

Here are his top five revelations.

2. General's request for more troops

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    This July 23, 2010, file photo shows Gen. Stanley McChrystal reviewing troops for the last time as he is honored at a retirement ceremony at Fort McNair in Washington.
    J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
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The 2009 request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, for a large increase in troops for the war surprised the White House – and Gates.

“I believe the major reason the protracted, frustrating Afghanistan policy review held in the fall of 2009 created so much ill will was due to the fact it was forced on an otherwise controlling White House by the theater commander’s unexpected request for a large escalation of American involvement,” Gates writes.

The request from Gen. McChrystal “surprised the White House (and me) and provoked a debate that the White House didn’t want, especially when it became public.”

The request had the effect of making Obama and his advisers “incensed,” Gates argues, because the Pentagon – specifically the uniformed military – “had taken control of the policy process from them and threatened to run away with it.”

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