Wow, this is worse than I imagined.
Bob Woodward, in his classic way of infiltrating a White House, has done so in his most recent book, Obama’s Wars.
The chaos from this book is frightening. There is no goal in mind. There is no end game. There is simply academic discussions that are never ending.
For example, Obama had reached his wits end with his military commanders regarding Afghanistan. Obama is shown at odds with his uniformed military commanders, particularly Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and They consistently offered 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. So Obama again believed he was the smartest man in the room, but didn’t have the courage of his convictions to act on it.
Even worse: The document – a copy of which is reprinted in the book – took the unusual step of stating, along with the strategy’s objectives, what the military was not supposed to do. The president went into detail, according to Woodward, to make sure that the military wouldn’t attempt to expand the mission. In other words…Obama has no trust in his own military. No surprise there.
Vice President Joe Biden, for one, thought Obama’s strategy is bound to fail. Gen. Petraeus thought it was half-hearted, and neither pulled troops out or gave them enough troops to stabilize the country.
Among such key tidbits from the book:
- Obama refused to talk about ‘victory’ when discussing either Afghanistan or Iraq. “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.
- Obama states that we can ‘absorb’ a terrorist attack, but really fears a nuclear attack. “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.”
- The always professor, Obama actually assigned ‘homework’ to his advisors. Really.
- To his credit, Obama has kept in place or expanded 14 intelligence orders, known as findings, issued by his predecessor. The orders provide the legal basis for the CIA’s worldwide covert operations.
I am going to have to read the entire book…but Obama’s lack of experience shows on these issues more than any others. It is frightening. His lack of decisiveness and control over his subordinates makes me pray that we never have a significant attack on the homeland under his watch, because I have no faith that he would be able to handle it. His own advisors have little faith in his decisions, and many are actively fighting the policy.
In short, this is a White House in chaos…something that we suspected, but something that is still frightening to see in the light of day.