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The War Over the War

By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 22 September 2010

Link from MSNBC. Some in the media are trying to report this new Bob Woodward book as explosive and shocking, but I just don't think this will make a big splash. It seems to be getting a ho-hum reaction. President Obama has major, complicated decisions to make regarding his war policy...and-shocker-there is disagreement and apprehension among the big players. Some even wondering if the policy will work. Seems normal to me. I do think this book highlights how President Obama does not take this lightly and does thorough research on big decisions. It also shows that, while the military advisors might think they have the upper hand (especially those who want to remian in Afghanistan for years to come) but the buck will ultimately stop with President Obama. Curious as to your thoughts on the book and the timing.

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.”

Access extensive
Mr. Woodward, the longtime Washington Post reporter and editor, was granted extensive access to administration officials and documents for his account, including an interview with Mr. Obama. The New York Times obtained a copy of the book before its publication by Simon & Schuster, scheduled for next week. The White House had no comment on the book Tuesday night.




From CNN...on a totally separate topic, looks like Woodward is renewing speculation that Hillary and Biden may switch roles for the 2012 election, with Hillary running as Obama's VP. Not sure exactly how I feel about that, but it certainly would appear to be a positive political move (Hillary is very popular with women and Hispanic voters, for example.) I must admit I have been impressed with her role as SOS and I am slowly "warming" to her. It certainly could set up a Hillary run for President in 2016, assuming 70 years old is not too old for her to run.

(CNN) – Some called a Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton pairing the "Dream Ticket" in 2008. It didn't happen.

But what about 2012?

"It's on the table," veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward told CNN's John King in an interview Tuesday on John King, USA. "Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012."

The scenario – whereby Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would switch positions - has been bandied about by political observers for months, seen by some as a potentially savvy strategy to gin up excitement among what appears to be a depressed Democratic base.

But it's never been clear if the idea has been actually discussed in the White House, until now.

"President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the [2008] primaries and, so they switch jobs, not out of the question, and the other interesting question is, Hillary Clinton could run in her own right in 2016 and be younger than Ronald Reagan when he was elected president."

Clinton will be 69 years old and three months in January 2017. President Ronald Reagan was just shy of his 70th birthday in January, 1980.

"Now you talk to Hillary Clinton or her advisers and they say 'no, no there's not a political consideration here,'" Woodward continued. "Of course the answer is, you point out to them that her clout around the world when she goes to Europe, Asia, anywhere is in part, not just because she's Secretary of State or because she was married to President Clinton, that people see a potential future president in her."

The latest politico to predict an Obama-Clinton ticket in 2012 was former Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card, who, during an interview with CNN, said the notion doesn't surprise him.


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