The War Over the War
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.
WASHINGTON — 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.”
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.