Sep 22, 2010,President Obama wanted an exit strategy over Afghanistan, but his military wouldn’t give him one.
Obama is often at odds with the military brass, including new Afghanistan commander David Petraeus.
Petraeus thinks top Obama aide David Axelrod is nothing more than “a complete spin doctor.”
And Vice President Joe Biden thinks that Afghanistan/Pakistan envoy Richard Holbrooke is “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.”
These are some of the juicy revelations in Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars. It is scheduled to be released Monday, but copies are already starting to leak out.
One theme of the book is that Obama — who began supervising a withdrawal from Iraq — does not want the Afghanistan war to drag out years longer.
“I’m not doing 10 years,” the president is quoted as telling aides. “I’m not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars.”
A White House statement on Woodward’s tome says Obama “comes across in the review and throughout the decision-making process as a Commander in Chief who is analytical, strategic, and decisive, with a broad view of history, national security, and his role. The debates in the book are well known because the policy review process was covered so exhaustively.”
Another tid-bit, which probably won’t surprise many people: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been diagnosed with manic-depression, and doesn’t always take his meds.
The New York Times take on the book:
Some of the critical players in President Obama’s national security team doubt his strategy in Afghanistan will succeed and have spent much of the last 20 months quarreling with one another over policy, personalities and turf, according to a new book.
The book, “Obama’s Wars,” by the journalist Bob Woodward, depicts an administration deeply torn over the war in Afghanistan even as the president agreed to triple troop levels there amid suspicion that he was being boxed in by the military. Mr. Obama’s top White House adviser on Afghanistan and his special envoy for the region are described as believing the strategy will not work.
The president concluded from the start that “I have two years with the public on this” and pressed advisers for ways to avoid a big escalation, the book says. “I want an exit strategy,” he implored at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”
But Mr. Biden is not the only one who harbors doubts about the strategy’s chances for success. Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the president’s Afghanistan adviser, is described as believing that the president’s review did not “add up” to the decision he made. Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is quoted saying of the strategy that “it can’t work.”
Here is The Washington Post, which is Woodward’s home base:
President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him, according to secret meeting notes and documents cited in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.
Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops, Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a classified six-page “terms sheet” that sought to limit U.S. involvement, Woodward reports in “Obama’s Wars,” to be released on Monday.
According to Woodward’s meeting-by-meeting, memo-by-memo account of the 2009 Afghan strategy review, the president avoided talk of victory as he described his objectives.
“This needs to be a plan about how we’re going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan,” Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. “Everything we’re doing has to be focused on how we’re going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint. It’s in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room.”
This post was submitted by somya harsh.
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