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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Bob Woodward's New Book Should Scare the Hell Out of All Americans

Last night I read the front-page Washington Post story on Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars. Frankly the article gave me nightmares. The revelations about Obama’s naive views on terrorism and his lack of a firm commitment to the Afghan War  was nothing really new, they simply confirmed many of the worst fears about our President and the War on Terror. But Obama's priorities, hes desire to place politics before victory was both surprising and upsetting.

The book details how Obama is not trying to win the war as much as he was desperately trying to placate his progressive base, regardless of the safety of American citizens. At one point the POTUS tells Woodward directly:
"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
Holy Cow!! Tell that to the families of the terrorist attack's victims.

Even worse the book reports that President Obama did not even want to hear about many of the terrorist threats:
During a daily intelligence briefing in May 2009, Mr. Blair [former Director of Intelligence] warned the president that radicals with American and European passports were being trained in Pakistan to attack their homelands. Mr. Emanuel afterward chastised him, saying, “You’re just trying to put this on us so it’s not your fault.” Mr. Blair also skirmished with Mr. Brennan about a report on the failed airliner terrorist attack on Dec. 25. Mr. Obama later forced Mr. Blair out.
Obama's Wars,  covers last fall's agonizingly slow Afghanistan strategy review last fall. One of the reasons for the snail-like pace for developing a plan was Obama seemed more interested in mapping out an exit plan than winning the war. The book makes it clear that the U.S. military has been asked to achieve its goals in Afghanistan without the level of troops they requested and in an unrealistic time frame.
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.
The book reports that the recommendations of the Military were dismissed.
Along with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan at the time, they kept pushing for their 40,000-troop option as part of a broad counterinsurgency plan along the lines of what Petraeus had developed for Iraq. The president is quoted as telling Mullen, Petraeus and Gates: "In 2010, we will not be having a conversation about how to do more. I will not want to hear, 'We're doing fine, Mr. President, but we'd be better if we just do more.' We're not going to be having a conversation about how to change [the mission] . . . unless we're talking about how to draw down faster than anticipated in 2011.
Woodward's book gives the reason for the President's desire not to give the generals what they need, in fact he even asked Joe Biden,  the SCHMOTUS,  to argue against the Military's plan.
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.”
Forget everything else you may read about this book, about the infighting and name-calling going on in the administration that happens in every administration. You need to remember just one thing; instead of caring how to win the war in Afghanistan, and how to protect the homeland, the first priority of this President was to appease his party.  There might have been legitimate reasons to pare down the Military recommendation, pleasing the Democratic Party is not one of them.

The same President who was (and still is) willing to spend much of the last year and half going around the country selling an unpopular health care bill to the public, was not willing to spend any time trying to sell the public on an Afghanistan plan that may ultimately protect their children from being blown up into little pieces while riding their bus to school.

By ignoring the needs of the Military Obama is sacrificing crucial U.S. national security interests and leaving the American people more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks. An early exit from Afghanistan would shore up al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorists and once again provide them with a safe-haven from which to conduct their deadly attacks against the U.S. and other nations. But Bob Woodward's book reports that is not the priority of this President, only support from his party is important. And that is a very frightening situation.


Andre (Canada) said...

Explain again why you seem surprised by this?

cube said...

The only surprise here is that Woodward even wrote the book. I'm sure there's worse stuff out there about Obama.