Bob Woodward Says Obama Wants Out Of Afghanistan

Woodward definitely has high level access in Washington, so it’s entirely possible that his claims are accurate. No surprise that Obama’s generals didn’t give him an exit plan from Afghanistan, of course. From the Washington Post:

President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him, according to secret meeting notes and documents cited in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.

Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering 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, Woodward reports in “Obama’s Wars,” to be released on Monday.

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.

“This needs to be a plan about how we’re going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan,” Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. “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.”

Obama rejected the military’s request for 40,000 troops as part of an expansive mission that had no foreseeable end. “I’m not doing 10 years,” he told Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a meeting on Oct. 26, 2009. “I’m not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars.”

Woodward’s book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, “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.”

But most of the book centers on the strategy review, and the dissension, distrust and infighting that consumed Obama’s national security team as it was locked in a fierce and emotional struggle over the direction, goals, timetable, troop levels and the chances of success for a war that is almost certain to be one of the defining events of this presidency.

Obama is shown at odds with his uniformed military commanders, particularly Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command during the 2009 strategy review and now the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Woodward reveals their conflicts through detailed accounts of two dozen closed-door secret strategy sessions and nearly 40 private conversations between Obama and Cabinet officers, key aides and intelligence officials…

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  • Ironaddict06

    If this is true-Americans should be a little disturbed about “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.”

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Not sure I get your point. What did you wanna hear? “Our ancestors spent over 200 years building this nation, and we’re gonna let a handful of lunatics destroy it all on one day?” My God I hope we wouldn’t be such worthless whimps that we’d be willing to close up shop THAT easily.

      • Andrew

        We’re destroying America all by ourselves.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          I may be more optimistic than you, Andrew.

          Yeah, you keep hearing that Tea Baggers represent about 25% of voting age population. And sure the key planks in their de facto platform include an array of right wing positions that ironically amount to abject surrender to Al Qaeda’s own interpretation of Shariah (i.e., religious intolerance, contempt for Englightenment Era notions of civil rights, endorsement of paternalistic misogyny, etc., etc.).

          But that totally ignores the other 75% who find such ideas uninspiring, if not stupid or altogether horrific. Jon Stewart earns his bread as a comedian. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t on to something by organizing a “Rally to Restore Sanity” for the non-batshit 3/4 of the population. http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com

  • Ironaddict06

    If this is true-Americans should be a little disturbed about “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.”

  • Anonymous

    Not sure I get your point. What did you wanna hear? “Our ancestors spent over 200 years building this nation, and we’re gonna let a handful of lunatics destroy it all on one day?” My God I hope we wouldn’t be such worthless whimps that we’d be willing to close up shop THAT easily.

  • Andrew

    We’re destroying America all by ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    I may be more optimistic than you, Andrew.

    Yeah, you keep hearing that Tea Baggers represent about 25% of voting age population. And sure the key planks in their de facto platform include an array of right wing positions that ironically amount to abject surrender to Al Qaeda’s own interpretation of Shariah (i.e., religious intolerance, contempt for Englightenment Era notions of civil rights, endorsement of paternalistic misogyny, etc., etc.).

    But that totally ignores the other 75% who find such ideas uninspiring, if not stupid or altogether horrific. Jon Stewart earns his bread as a comedian. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t on to something by organizing a “Rally to Restore Sanity” for the non-batshit 3/4 of the population. http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com

  • Hadrian999

    most sane people do want out of Afghanistan

  • Hadrian999

    most sane people do want out of Afghanistan