A new book by famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward is driving the
morning news with revelations about the Obama administration's handling
of the war in Afghanistan. Woodward tears the lid off the Obama White
House, exposing a national security team deeply divided and highly
skeptical about the future of Afghanistan. The New York Times and The Washington Post
were given advance copies of the book, titled Obama's Wars, which
arrives in stores Sept. 27. Here are the book's most talked about
- Secret CIA Operations "The book also reports that a secret 3,000-man paramilitary army of Afghans, created and controlled by the CIA, is conducting operations against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban strongholds in Pakistan," notes Tom Kavanagh at Politics Daily. "Obama authorized the elite corps as part of a campaign against safe havens in the Afghan war."
- Lots of In-House Fighting, observe Mike Allen and John Harris at Politico:
The Times article recounts several examples, culled from the Woodward book, of mistrust and malice among the Obama team. For example, Vice President Biden reportedly called Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, 'the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.' Gen. David Petraeus, the Afghanistan commander, is said to believe that White House senior adviser David Axelrod is a 'complete spin doctor.' Defense Secretary Robert Gates allegedly warned that Tom Donilon would be a “complete disaster” if promoted to be national security adviser from his current position as deputy.
- The Constant Threat of Terrorist Attacks "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" writes Steve Luxenberg at The Washington Post. "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.'"
- Karzai's Manic Depression "The book also reports that the United States has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and that he was on medication, but adds no details," writes Peter Baker at The New York Times. "Mr. Karzai’s mood swings have been a challenge for the Obama administration."
- Deep Internal Division, observes Hounshell: "Axelrod apparently asked Obama, 'How could you trust Hillary?' when Clinton was being considered to be secretary of state... Defense Secretary Bob Gates apparently doesn't like Jones's deputy, Tom Donilon, and thinks he would be a "disaster" as national security advisor. Gates was offended by a remark Donilon made about a general who isn't named in the book. Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright don't trust one other -- Cartwright worked closely with Biden on a proposal for a smaller Afghan surge force than was ultimately chosen."