Regarding the Jan. 13 Style article on Robert M. Gates [“His war within”]:

The conventional wisdom is that Mr. Gates criticized President Obama by saying that Mr. Obama “had reservations about the strategy” in Afghanistan. Either the conventional wisdom or Mr. Gates is wrong. Do we want only leaders who have no apparent doubts about their decisions, such as former president George W. Bush? How would a leader change his mind and reverse a bad decision if he is not allowed to have doubts about decisions? Abraham Lincoln acknowledged, in his second inaugural address, that we can show “firmness in the right” only to the extent that “God gives us to see the right.”

Richard Joffe, New York