In Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward provides the most intimate and sweeping portrait yet of the young president as commander in chief. Drawing on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of interviews with most of the key players, including the president, Woodward tells the inside story of Obama making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret campaign in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism.
At the core of Obama’s Wars is the unsettled division between the civilian leadership in the White House and the United States military as the president is thwarted in his efforts to craft an exit plan for the Afghanistan War.
“So what’s my option?” the president asked his war cabinet, seeking alternatives to the Afghanistan commander’s request for 40,000 more troops in late 2009. “You have essentially given me one option. ...It’s unacceptable.”
“Well,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates finally said, “Mr. President, I think we owe you that option.”
It never came. An untamed Vice President Joe Biden pushes relentlessly to limit the military mission and avoid another Vietnam. The vice president frantically sent half a dozen handwritten memos by secure fax to Obama on the eve of the final troop decision.
President Obama’s ordering a surge of 30,000 troops and pledging to start withdrawing U.S. forces by July 2011 did not end the skirmishing.
General David Petraeus, the new Afghanistan commander, thinks time can be added to the clock if he shows progress. “I don’t think you win this war,” Petraeus said privately. “This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”
Hovering over this debate is the possibility of another terrorist attack in the United States. The White House led a secret exercise showing how unprepared the government is if terrorists set off a nuclear bomb in an American city—which Obama told Woodward is at the top of the list of what he worries about all the time.
Verbatim quotes from secret debates and White House strategy sessions—and firsthand accounts of the thoughts and concerns of the president, his war council and his generals—reveal a government in conflict, often consumed with nasty infighting and fundamental disputes.
Woodward has discovered how the Obama White House really works, showing that even more tough decisions lie ahead for the cerebral and engaged president.
Obama’s Wars offers the reader a stunning, you-are-there account of the president, his White House aides, military leaders, diplomats and intelligence chiefs in this time of turmoil and danger.
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I'm going to be president of the United States. And I tell you that you have to do it.” Emanuel understood it was a historic moment, the country was in trouble, and as White House chief of staff he could be a kind of deputy president in ...
Lute had arrived in Afghanistan from Iraq, where the United States had 150,000 troops, a 1,000-person embassy that coordinated with the military, and a foreign assistance program of several billion dollars a year.
The report identified Pakistan as a much more strategically troubling problem than Afghanistan, because the sanctuaries there for al Qaeda and other affiliate groups were more of a threat to the United States. The review concluded that ...
If the United States didn't accomplish these three things, it could never claim to be done in Afghanistan. With Pakistan, the review said the U.S. should expand the scope of its aid beyond that country's military and try to stabilize ...
The United States military did not have “war” plans for an invasion of Pakistan. Instead, it had and continues to have one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies, what military officials call a “retribution” plan ...
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - iftyzaidi - LibraryThing
Afghanistan has now become America's longest ever war, and for the most part it has been a war that has been outside the public consciousness, under-resourced and allowed to straggle along with no ... Read full review
Obamas WarsUser Review - luvlaffing - Overstock.com
Excellent book and would highly suggest everyone read it if they want to know what has really been going on behind the scenes and not believe the made up hype on FOX news. Read full review