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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He had been carefully neutral in the 2008 presidential campaign. A 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis—ten years after Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee—and the son of a Hollywood publicist, ...
He thought Obama, stuck on the presidential campaign treadmill, looked like he hadn't slept for a month. “God,” Mullen said, taking Obama's hand, “get some sleep!” “My staff won't let me,” Obama replied. The chance meeting was a bit of ...
He was called “Gentleman Jim” because he treated everyone from presidents to corporals with respect. His national security credentials appeared gold-plated, having served in the Marines for 40 years and rising to the top position, ...
Jones said he would be a better fit as secretary of state than as a presidential aide. “What I can do is set up an organization to get the best people to help you as president” at State, he explained. Noting that he had served as chief ...
He had helped Democratic presidential candidates going back to Jimmy Carter. He had advised Obama in the presidential debates and wanted to be deputy secretary of state. But Donilon had served seven years as in-house counsel to Fannie ...
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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