Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

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Obama’s Wars is the newest installment on Presidents and politics by Bob Woodward.

True to his reputation, Woodward gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective to the wars that President Barack Obama is waging. Woodward gives an inside view into combat operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the ongoing war within the Obama administration itself.

Woodward earned fame and wealth for his investigative reporting which helped bring down President Richard Nixon and lead to a best-seller he co-wrote with Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men. That book shocked America.

Obama’s Wars is not as surprising as it is dismaying. It is a 428-page partial indictment of the Obama administration that is losing — yes losing — the war in Afghanistan and more importantly, it shows a President that may not be able to protect us.

According to the book, the Obama administration believes that Osama bin Laden is not only alive and well but he remains the principal architect engineering a Jihad that is of a greater threat to America now than it has been at any time since 9/11.

This comes to light after the newly formed Obama administration commissions top secret reports, one by CIA analyst Bruce Riedel. According to Woodward, the Riedel review states that key elements of the enemy reside in Pakistan; a superpower with 100 nuclear weapons that is fearful of India, paranoid about America and has an inept leader in President Asif Ali Zardari.

Woodward reveals that Pakistan’s intelligence services and members of its military are not only providing safe havens for Jihadists to train but, “that at least 20 al-Qaida converts with American, Canadian or European passports were being trained in Pakistani safe havens to return to their homelands to commit high-profile acts of terrorism.”

Woodward collected his information from insiders within the Obama administration and oftentimes provides too much detail, along the lines of a Tom Clancy novel.

Still some passages jump out, including interviews with the important players in administration even the President. We see in the President a man much more in tune with the political intrigues of a city like Chicago than he is with Pentagon planning for military strikes near Kabul.

In the book Obama spoke on the record:

“What you’ve seen is a metastasizing of al-Qaida, where a range of loosely affiliated groups now have the capacity and the ambition to recruit and train for attacks that may not be on the scale of a 9/11,” said the President, adding, “one man, one bomb… which could still have, obviously, an extraordinary traumatizing effect on the homeland.”

Tribal Warfare (Inside the Administration)
Woodward reports on infighting within the Obama administration. Senior military leaders describe the politics of the administration — politics for the Democratic Party and even personal politics.

Obama’s Wars includes insights from members of the administration like Lt. General Douglas Lute, President George W. Bush’s “war czar” and senior military advisor to Obama.

Lute spelled out the disharmony in Afghan terms:

“The Hillary Tribe lived at the State Department. The Chicago Tribe occupied (Senior Political Advisor David) Axelrod’s and (White House Chief of Staff Rahm) Emanuel’s offices. The campaign tribe was at NSC offices and included former Obama campaign aids, who flaunted their relationship with the President.”

Playing a leading role in this soap opera is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many questions continue to swirl around Washington as to whether she is a team player after her bitter defeat to candidate Obama in the 2008 Primary. Her actions, even in the face of a national crisis, have done little to quiet such speculation.

In Chapter 19 in Obama’s Wars we see Secretary Clinton’s true colors:

“It was a crisis meeting on October 9, 2009 which Ms. Clinton opened with these words: ‘Mr. President, the dilemma you face…’

“On the back bench, press secretary (Robert) Gibbs noted that she said ‘you’ as if there was only one person in the boat and she and the others were at a pleasant distance…

“Clinton’s use of ‘you” also floored (Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard) Holbrooke, since she should have said ‘we’… It was a ‘Freudian giveaway,’ Holbrooke later told others. He thought Clinton felt detached from both the policy and the process.”

There are no White Knights in the book, not even Holbrooke who Woodward tells us is petty about such things as whether the President addresses him as Richard rather than Dick in front of Mrs. Holbrooke.

Holbrooke has other issues as well and they call into question the competency of the administration. According to Woodward, Holbrooke astounded members of the administration who were in the midst of a crisis meeting on Pakistan and India:

“Holbrooke introduced a new angle. ‘There’s a global warming dimension of this struggle, Mr. President,’ he said.

To a baffled room he continued:

“There are tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops encamped on the glaciers in the Himalayas that feed the rivers into Pakistan and India, he said. Their encampments are melting the glaciers very quickly. There’s a chance that river valleys in Pakistan and perhaps even India could be flooded.”

After the meeting a lot of important people wanted to know if Holbrooke was kidding. To their shock it turned out he wasn’t.

Woodward also provides insights into a Federal government that is simply falling short.

We learn that Emanuel is shocked when he learns the latest intelligence on bin Laden. “What do you mean we don’t know where he is?” Emanuel explains to Bruce Riedel that some $50 billion a year is spent on intelligence. Then he repeats the question: “And you don’t have a clue where the most wanted man in the history of the world is?”

Woodward is somewhat critical of America’s intelligence services as well as the Bush administration. He points out we let the trail (on bin Laden) go cold back after 9/11 when the Bush administration turned to Iraq.

With Friends Like Pakistan Who Needs Enemies?
After reading Obama’s Wars you get an understanding that the political situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is close to chaos. Little has changed with regard to that region in more than a century.

In the 19th Century, alliances were clouded and identifying the enemy was next to impossible. So too were strategic solutions which were sought unsuccessfully by the best and the brightest of that age.

Woodward takes us into the 21st Century and raises the stakes by including two explosive new elements: Global jihad and nuclear weapons. We learn that terrorists have come dangerously close to occupying areas near some of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

And we also learn that America’s most strategically important alliance is with Afghanistan; a country whose President, Hamid Karzai, is a corrupt and paranoid manic-depressive. We also find out he may be a drug addict. Still, Obama continues to pour money and men into Afghanistan; to fight a war that many within the administration now admit can’t be won.

As a writer Woodward has come full circle. His career began when he became a reporter for The Washington Post in 1971. Early on he covered the events surrounding the Vietnam War; a conflict which the press revealed was unwinnable.

Almost 40 years later Woodward has written Obama’s Wars, a book about another untenable war with no clear objectives being waged by an incompetent commander in chief.

Al Gore: Envirohypocrite

As former Vice President Al Gore preached about the dangers of greenhouse emissions inside a sold-out seminar in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Monday, outside the Volvo that delivered him to the seminar sat empty and idling — for more than 20 minutes.

“It is difficult to understand the brittle shell that protects humanity and the planet,” Gore told the audience. “It is therefore very important that we start taking these two issues very seriously.”

Make no mistake: Gore takes the issue seriously. While it’s easy to write him off as a nut for his obsession with anthropomorphic global warming (the idea that global warming is caused by the activities of man) despite a lack of evidence — and proof through the Climategate scandal that the science behind it was contrived — Gore’s compulsion is economic. He stands to make billions when companies he’s invested in get government subsidies through Cap and Trade legislation.

Gore regularly tells his audiences to get to his events by walking, bicycling, use of public transportation or other “climate-friendly” means. Meanwhile, he arrives via a large jet and personal vehicle followed by an entourage of body guards, hangers-on and a masseuse or two, leaving a carbon footprint that only an elitist could love.

It’s a common refrain for him. In July, 2008 while speaking on global warming in Washington, D.C., two limousines awaited him outside, idling for 90 minutes. His Tennessee home is said to consume as much energy as a small town; whether Gore is at home or not.

Don’t buy into the global warming lie. Were there truth behind it, the elitists that preach to us about how we’re destroying the planet wouldn’t be behaving as envirohypocrites. Gore doesn’t really care about being green. He just wants more green in his pockets.

Burgers Have Grown, And So Will Your Waistline

Did you know that most restaurant and fast food hamburgers are about 23 percent larger than they were in 1977? That’s according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina. In order to avoid the extra fat and calories, why not skip the main dish and order a filling soup, salad or appetizer instead of an entrée. That way your waist — and your wallet — won’t feel the burden from the larger portion.

If Republicans Win, What Then?

If actual election-day results confirm conventional wisdom and House — and maybe Senate — Democrat majorities are swept away like yesterday’s trash, Republicans will have every reason to be giddy. Constitutionalists, conservatives and Libertarians, however, should temper their enthusiasm.

That’s because Republicans have not yet shown they understand what the original Tea Parties — that is those not co-opted by selfish, big money or globalist interests — stood for, nor have they shown they appreciate the mood of the country. This misunderstanding was made manifest in the Contract with American 2010 that House Republicans released in September and are now touting as their action plan if they gain the majority.

This attractive position paper with a fancy cover, lots of photographs of the Statue of Liberty, politicians, Mt. Rushmore, horses, town hall crowds and elegant buildings and monuments, and filled with highfalutin language is simply a propaganda piece designed to appease the simpletons. Republicans understand that Senate Democrats will filibuster sound legislation and Obama will veto whatever they manage to get passed. In other words, the Contract is classic political doublespeak.

While some of the ideas it contains are good first steps — repeal Obamacare, get the government out of the mortgage business by cutting off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extending the current tax rate and requiring the Constitutional authority for each new bill to be cited — others demonstrate the progressive mentality that has infected the GOP — and all of Washington D.C. One of these is the pledge to cut spending back to 2008 levels.

Two thousand eight, you’ll recall, was the last year of “compassionate conservative” President George W. Bush’s term. With the help of six years of a Republican-controlled Congress and two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress, Bush increased government spending more than any of the six presidents that preceded him, including Lyndon Johnson, according to Veronique de Rugy of the George Mason University Mercatus Center.

“During his eight years in office, President Bush spent almost twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton. Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent,” de Rugy writes.

So what the Republicans pledge to do involves rolling a massively over bloated, overregulated, profligate government back to a hugely over bloated, overregulated profligate government. And while the Contract talks in nebulous terms about cutting back on regulations and eliminating fraud and waste, it says nothing about eliminating unConstitutional government agencies, repealing unConstitutional laws, eliminating (or at least auditing) the Federal Reserve, requiring the President to prove his Constitutionally-required eligibility to hold office or defunding the offices of Obama’s dozens of unconstitutional czars.

Nor does it mention ending the permanent, ineffective and fabricated war on terror, except to say that it promises to pass “clean” bills to fund the troops. In essence, Republicans are promising more of the same never-ending, undeclared wars foisted on us by the last four Presidents and funded by fiat, and apparently a Republican Congress intends to continue abdicating its responsibility by allowing the military invasion of the Middle East to continue — and even plans to expand it by strengthening sanctions against Iran.

Those who predict such things anticipate a Republican gain of at least the 39 House seats they need to take the majority… and perhaps a gain of as many as 60. Some are even throwing out numbers like 70 to 100. In the Senate, the Real Clear Politics average gives Republicans 45 seats and Democrats 49, with six races too close to call. In other words, a Republican-controlled House is as safe a bet as there is in politics. But a Republican-controlled Senate is a long shot that would either require all six of toss up races to break for Republicans, or a major surprise to occur in one or more of the leans- or likely-Democrat seats.

With all the Tea Party-backed candidates invading the “hallowed” halls of Congress come January, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) — the man establishment Republicans love to hate — is going to have a lot of company and prospective new House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is going to have a lot of headaches. But at least Boehner has been on board endorsing Tea Party candidates.

Not so Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He’s as firmly entrenched an establishment Republican as there is, having been in the Senate since 1984. He endorsed Rand Paul’s Kentucky primary opponent Trey Grayson. He’s not been very receptive to the Tea Party message and, like most of the rest of the Republican establishment, sees Tea Party candidates as a threat to the status quo. It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s able to lead should the Democrat collapse become complete and Republicans win control of the Senate.

For McConnell, keeping the likes of new Republican Senators such as Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Colorado’s Ken Buck, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Utah’s Mike Lee, Alaska’s Joe Miller, Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, West Virginia’s John Raese, Washington’s Dino Rossi, Florida’s Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomy in Republican lockstep will be akin to herding cats — and probably as successful.

 In other words, Tea Partiers and Constitutionalists, tomorrow is just a first step. While the election will probably derail — or at least slow — Obama’s Marxist agenda, there will still be a lot of work to be done. First, establishment Republicans must be held to their promises in the Contract. Second, establishment Republicans have to be willing to work with their newly-elected brethren by putting them into leadership positions and listening to their ideas — particularly those ideas that got them elected. Establishment Republicans must realize that if they don’t embrace the new batch of Representatives and Senators then there will be more establishment seats on the chopping block in two years.

And finally, the new batch has to stay true to the principles they espoused on the campaign trail. If they betray their voters their terms will be short indeed.

It will behoove the establishment to understand once and for all that the Tea Party is not interested in Republican Party insider politics as usual and has no interest in playing their silly political parlor games. Karl Rove and his establishment ilk can denigrate king-and queen-maker Sarah Palin and Tea Party favorites like O’Donnell and prove their own irrelevance and allow the Republican Party to die, or they can embrace Tea Party candidates and change the GOP’s paradigm.

Tea Partiers are fed up with politics as usual and are clamoring for a return to the Founding principles of small government, free markets, sound money and secure borders. The elected class ignores these issues at its peril.

Coping With Fear

It doesn’t take a major catastrophe or terrorist attack to put you in a survival situation. It could be as simple an incident as stepping off a hiking trail, losing you way on a hunting trip or taking a wrong turn in your car. Before you know it, you’re lost or stuck and on your own.

If that happens, there is one danger that presents more of an immediate threat to your well-being than thirst, cold or hunger. That danger is fear.

Many studies have been conducted that document the body’s response to fear. And while the response can be helpful in some situations, it can be equally as harmful in others.

Writing in his book, 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!, Cody Lundin says that when the brain perceives a threat to survival, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) kicks into overdrive and releases stress hormones — called adrenaline or epinephrine — that affect the body in several ways.

The SNS response is automatic and uncontrollable. Your heart rate increases (from 70 beats per minute to as many as 200 in less than a second), cardiac output increases, blood pressure rises and your blood sugar increases. Blood is diverted from organs to the larger muscle groups (to reinforce in case flight or fight is necessary) and strength is increased. Your breathing rate accelerates to transport more oxygen to the muscles, sweating increases to cool the working muscles and minor blood vessels in the arms and legs constrict to reduce bleeding should an injury occur.

Pupils dilate, reducing depth perception, and the function of axillary muscles decreases, which creates blurred vision. The field of sight narrows and produces tunnel vision. These things combine to create the sensation that time is standing still, which allows for increased reaction time to the emergency.

Unfortunately, all of this also leads to an inability to think clearly and a reduction in fine motor skill and makes simple tasks extremely difficult. It is because of this that you can’t allow fear to take over in times of crisis.

Lundin writes that physiological responses to stress can be broken down into four crucial factors for the survivor:

  1. Fear inhibits your metabolic process. You body produces heat by digesting the calories in the foods you eat. If this is impaired, your body has a harder time of regulating core temperature in cold weather. Thus, the onset of hypothermia can manifest much more rapidly. By metabolizing food, your body creates energy that can be used to create shelter, signal for rescue or make a fire.
  2. Fear impairs your circulation. Basic first-aid training stresses the importance of the ABCs (airway, breathing and circulation). Your circulatory system is how your body feeds itself, delivers oxygen to cells, eliminates waste products and keeps itself warm and cool. In cold weather, blood flow is the primary means by which your body maintains its peripheral temperature, which is automatically restricted by the SNS’s response to stress! Compromising circulation puts your odds for living into a serious tailspin in both hot and cold climates. In addition, the chances are good that your circulatory system will already be impaired due to dehydration.
  3. Fear impairs your good judgment. Good judgment is your number-one tool for preventing or dealing with a survival predicament in the first place. Poor judgment calls, without a doubt, are the hallmark of every single outdoor fatality. Occurrences such as auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, irrational behavior, freezing in place, and the inability to think clearly have been observed as by-products of survival stress. Do what you can to chill out and calm yourself, redirecting your energies away from the fear factors.
  4. Fear impairs your fine and complex motor skills. Although these phenomena have been observed and documented for hundreds of years, and formally studied since the 1800s, there is very little understanding by researchers as to why stress deteriorates performance.

So, if the response is automatic and involuntary, what can you do to overcome it? Lundin’s book has 13 steps to help you control your fear, and six more to help you to control fear in others. To control your own fear:

  1. Be prepared. Accept the fact that a survival situation could, in fact, happen to you, and plan accordingly. Aside from physical practice, being prepared involves advanced planning, mental and physical conditioning, discipline, and an intimate understanding of the emergency gear you propose to carry.
  2. Train! Accepting that a deadly scenario could happen is not enough. Learn all that you can about survival and what your body can endure, and recognize and understand what your reactions to fear will be. Practicing skills builds confidence and strengthens a “can-do” attitude regarding your ability to survive.
  3. Don’t run from fear? When you’re afraid, take a step back from the fear and just notice it. Ignore the urge to analyze, judge, criticize, evaluate, or try to figure it out. Stepping back provides emotional space and reduces much of the charge around the fear energy.
  4. Stay aware of your surroundings. Learn to recognize the early warning signs of dangerous situations. Gain knowledge to reduce the perceived threat of the unknown.
  5. Stay constructively busy. Conserving energy as a survivor is key, yet do all that you can to make your situation more comfortable, reducing difficulties that encourage fear. Staying busy keeps the mind off fearful circumstances and gives you a sense that you’re in control of your destiny.
  6. Keep your imagination in check. Stick to known facts by separating the real from the imagined.
  7. Adapt to your surroundings. Prepare yourself to think and act like an animal without judgment over your actions. In a sense, if you can’t beat fear, join it. Formulate plans B, C, and D before they’re needed.
  8. Discipline yourself to think positively. Even when talking to yourself, strive to use positive, “I AM” statements such as, “I AM going to make it out of here” and “I AM going to be rescued.”
  9. Adopt a positive survival attitude. Keep things in perspective and focus your attention firmly upon the goal of getting rescued.
  10. Use proper breathing exercises to lower the heart rate and reduce stress.
  11. Ask for help. Whether you’re currently walking upon a spiritual path or not, it’s never too late to start.
  12. Use humor. Kind humor transforms crummy attitudes.
  13. In summary, Party On!

To control fear in others:

  1. Be a positive example. Maintain a calm presence and keep control, even if you feel out of control; inspire courage, hope, and the willingness to keep trying.
  2. Maintain discipline. Work toward finding and maintaining order and harmony within the group in a gentle, yet firm manner. Search out people’s strengths and assign them focused tasks to assist the group. Giving people things to do lessens the feelings of helplessness, and takes their mind away from the current situation, while giving them a sense of control regarding their destiny.
  3. Exercise positive leadership. Be firm, determined, confident, compassionate, decisive, honest, and humorous.
  4. Stay alert for early signs of fear in others, and, when recognized, deal with them immediately. Knowing how the people in your group react to and deal with stress is priceless. Be intuitive to the needs of others and offer whatever support you can. Remember that one rotten apple can spoil the bunch.
  5. Cultivate teamwork and mutual support early on. Perhaps no other experience on Earth will require such a tightly knit and supportive group for success than the survival situation. The group that initiates and maintains a positive mental and emotional outlook, putting all of its efforts and concerns into the welfare of the entire tribe, is an extremely powerful force for staying alive.
  6. In summary, Party On!

Dirty Tricks

Reports of ballot problems and possible election fraud are already beginning to surface as the elected elites do all they can to maintain a grip on their power.

In Nevada, where the Service Employees International Union holds a lot of sway and SEIU goons maintain the ballot machines, there are complaints that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s name comes pre-checked on the ballot. In Chicago there are reports that absentee ballots are going through a clearing house before being sent along to their proper court or city clerk. And in Pennsylvania there are claims that candidates are flooding the county voter registration offices with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.

In previous elections — Minnesota Senator Al Franken and Washington Senator Patty Murray to name two — the elites used multiple and selected recounts to skew the results until the outcome fell in their favor. Expect it to happen again.

As you go to the polls, whether it’s in the next few days in early voting or on election Tuesday, watch carefully for irregularities or signs of intimidation. If you see any, report them to an election official or law enforcement. The elites will stop at nothing to hold onto their power.

A Most Solemn Trust

Depending upon what the voting public does, Tuesday’s election could be a watershed event in American history, or it could be one more lost opportunity — and maybe the last opportunity.

If voters elect enough Constitutionally-minded candidates the political establishment will be turned upside down. Be sure you know who they are. As Samuel Adams said, "The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.”

There are a few that stand out: Senate candidates Rand Paul in Kentucky, Joe Miller in Alaska, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware; and there are some good ones running for House seats as well. The Gubernatorial elections this year are likewise important, particularly if you value the 10th Amendment.

No, it won’t be enough to overturn the fascist system that’s been created over the last 90-plus years. But it will be enough to halt the slide into complete totalitarianism — if those newly-elected stay true to their principles.

Voting is an important duty for Americans who value freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, too many have neglected this duty for too long, either  by not voting or by taking the easy route and voting for a name they’ve heard for years or for someone based on the recommendation of friends and relatives. This has put us in the situation we find ourselves.

As you prepare to vote next Tuesday, remember these other words by Adams, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."

It’s Long Past Time To Silence The Regime’s Mouthpiece

The kerfuffle over the firing of National Public Radio (NPR) news analyst Juan Williams for an opinion he expressed on Fox News has put the spotlight on an issue that those favoring reducing the size and scope of Leviathan government have sought for decades: Ending taxpayer funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB.)

CPB, the parent corporation of NPR, received $420 million taxpayer dollars last year. It used the money to spout regime pabulum and leftist ideology. That it is favored by leftists is made evident by its recent gift of $1.8 million by George Soros’ Open Society Foundation to fund the hiring of 100 journalists “to bring greater transparency and accountability to the workings of state capitals across the country.”

To understand just how “progressive” NPR is you need only look at its actions in firing the liberal commentator Williams for expressing on Fox News his opinion that he felt uncomfortable on a plane that had Muslim men dressed in Muslim garb, while it has consistently given a pass to others like Nina Totenberg when they express their opinions from a left-wing perspective. The Left doesn’t tolerate dissent or stepping outside the favored lines of the regime.

While an argument could be made that there was a legitimate need for alternative stations while broadcasting was in its infancy and most markets had access to only two — or at most three — television channels and a few AM radio stations, CPB has long since outlived its usefulness. Now there are hundreds of channels (although they’re all owned by about six corporations) and the AM and FM bands are full (again, owned by a few corporations) and satellite radio is growing.

And then there is the Internet, which is the true source of truthful information (for the time being) that doesn’t conform to Big Brother standards.

Discussing the Williams firing, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently asked whether the GOP will now go after Big Bird. Let’s hope so. And let’s hope they don’t stop there, but include unConstitutional entities like the Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security, for starters.

And if they don’t, then in two years we need to elect a Congress that will.