One of the striking parts of Robert Gates' new memoir is his complaint that Barack Obama lacks "passion, especially when it came to the two wars." Gates says, "I worked for Obama longer than Bush and I never saw his eyes well up." He reports that George W. Bush, by contrast, would occasionally get teary at Medal of Honor ceremonies.
Gates is a more emotional guy than he usually lets on in public. He says he regularly wept writing condolence letters to the families of military personnel killed in action. Even he admits this tendency may have skewed his judgment. So if Obama has less of it, that may not be a bad thing.
The fact that Obama doesn't well up very often doesn't mean he doesn't have deep feelings. But he surely understands that sometimes presidents have to put aside such feelings in making decisions that may have fatal consequences.
Obama, in any case, has shown his concern for soldier and marines by wrapping up our two wars so more of them won't be killed. Bush's show of sentiment didn't keep him from making disastrous choices that cost American lives in wars that were not likely to succeed.
Obama may lack passion, but passion is not as valuable as hard-headed realism.