TIA Daily • September 22, 2010
This is not a criticism of those speculations. They were based on evidence leaking out of the White House at the time, and I was fully on board with them. But Bob Woodward's new book on Barack Obama's war "leadership" reveals that there was no presidential procrastination. Absolutely none.
The president told the armed forces to send him a plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the armed forces sent him plans to escalate the war effort. He repeated his orders, and the armed forces repeatedly re-submitted various plans for troop buildups and wider military operations. The months of apparent indecision were, in fact, due to the military's insubordination. They refused to plan for a defeat.
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 by 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 US 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."...
Obama kept asking for "an exit plan" to go along with any further troop commitment, and is shown growing increasingly frustrated with the military hierarchy for not providing one. At one strategy session, the president waved a memo from the Office of Management and Budget, which put a price tag of $889 billion over 10 years on the military's open-ended approach.
In the end, Obama essentially designed his own strategy for the 30,000 troops, which some aides considered a compromise between the military command's request for 40,000 and Biden's relentless efforts to limit the escalation to 20,000 as part of a "hybrid option" that he had developed with Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a dramatic scene at the White House on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, Obama summoned the national security team to outline his decision and distribute his six-page terms sheet. He went around the room, one by one, asking each participant whether he or she had any objections—to "say so now," Woodward reports.
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.
After Obama informed the military of his decision, Woodward writes, the Pentagon kept trying to reopen the decision, peppering the White House with new questions. Obama, in exasperation, reacted by asking, "Why do we keep having these meetings?"
Along with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan at the time, they kept pushing for their 40,000-troop option as part of a broad counterinsurgency plan along the lines of what Petraeus had developed for Iraq.
The president is quoted as telling Mullen, Petraeus and Gates: "In 2010, we will not be having a conversation about how to do more. I will not want to hear, 'We're doing fine, Mr. President, but we'd be better if we just do more.' We're not going to be having a conversation about how to change [the mission] . . . unless we're talking about how to draw down faster than anticipated in 2011."
This casts all the speculations about whether Obama will keep his pledge to begin withdrawal in 2011 in a new light. The withdrawal will begin, and the military will attempt to slow it down and will attempt to reverse it.
Obama is every bit the evil anti-American, New Left idiot we all suspected he was. His Afghan non-strategy is no exception. It is only the rational insubordination of the all-volunteer military that has prevented a global military defeat.
Once again, Bob Woodward has proved himself to be a superb reporter on the war-making (or un-making) decisions of our presidents. During this long war with radical Islam, he has been one of America's most valuable patriots.
The information in Bob Woodward's book will take a little while to sink in. The book is going to be devastating to the president's current reputation as a reluctant warrior. It shows that he's refusing to engage in the one war that—back when he adamantly opposed the invasion of Iraq and the continuation of the war in Iraq—he claimed was the good war of the two; the "war of necessity," not the evil "war of choice." Woodward's book is going to show that Obama is against both types of wars. Obama is not an American warrior, reluctant or otherwise. He's an anti-American anti-warrior.
As Woodward's book sinks in, it will become more and more difficult for President Obama to pretend that he has any desire to see to the nation's defenses. This will be a particularly ugly issue for the men and women of the US military. They're going to have little choice but to begin rejecting Barack Obama categorically as unworthy of being their commander-in-chief.
Again, this is a very ugly situation to have: a president who has zero desire to defend the United States giving orders—and not giving orders—to the US military to carry out its duties in combat, overseas. The widespread contempt and disgust which a majority of military men felt for President Bill Clinton is nothing compared to what is brewing right now.