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President Obama - Politics Trump Victory in Afghanistan

Posted By Blackfive • [September 22, 2010]

The Associated Press has read Bob Woodward's book,"Obama's Wars", about the decisions made around ending Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

Most of you will not be surprised that President Obama was more concerned about the certain political fallout resulting from his support of a military buildup in Afghanistan.

..."I want an exit strategy," he said at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Joe Biden to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings.

While Obama ultimately rejected the alternative plan, the book says, he set a withdrawal timetable because, "I can't lose the whole Democratic Party."...

This actually makes sense to me...why Veep Biden was pushing so hard to jet out of there.  He was ordered to push that agenda.  It was stupid and was rolled back.

There's more from the AP about General Petraeus and General (ret) Jones, National Security Advisor.

...Biden called Holbrooke "the most egotistical bastard I've ever met," and a number of administration officials expressed scorn for national security adviser James Jones, the Times said.
<...>
Gen. David Petraeus, who become the Afghanistan commander this summer, told a senior aide that he disliked talking with David Axelrod, the president's senior adviser, because he was "a complete spin doctor."...

The WashPo offers more:

..."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."...

And

..."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."...

And

...Obama told Woodward in the July interview that he didn't think about the Afghan war in the "classic" terms of the United States winning or losing. "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?" he said...

And there's talk of Pakistan being the Cancer in the region.

There's not much there in the book that we didn't already know or even strongly suspect. 

Still, it's not very heartening.  VP Biden went behind Admiral Mullen and developed a hybrid plan with the Vice Chairman.  The President issuing a six page "terms" memo clearly limiting military increases in Afghanistan to prevent mission creep because his bottom line was not victory, but exit strategy.  Most people don't have confidence in the Presidential advisors or Ambassador Holbrooke.  GEN Petreaus is quoted as saying about the President's advisors "They are [expletive] with the wrong guy."

Imagine being Mike Mullen, Bob Gates or David Petreaus?

Update:  Ace writes that Obama is really saying (in reference to the first WashPo quote above) that, for the betterment of our relations with the Muslim world, we just need to be more mature about being murdered.

Update 2: Robert Haddick at the most excellent Small Wars Journal has a piece up about the six page "terms" memo that President Obama issued to the military.

...What was newly revealed this morning is Obama’s discomfort with his own strategy, his disdain for his military advisers, and his urgency to wind down America’s military effort. As a result, Hamid Karzai will redouble his efforts to cut his own deals with Pakistan, the ISI, and the Taliban. And from that follows a higher risk of an Afghan civil war as its ethnic groups prepare to defend themselves...

Be sure to read this short post by Robert Haddick at SWJ.

Update 3 MUST READ:   Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette takes a look at history...

"...we've got to get the job done [in Afghanistan], and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Well, if you know who said THAT quote above, then it's probably not us that need the history lesson...read the whole piece here.


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