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Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

November 4, 2010 by  

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.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • ASGreen

    Good review. I think Obama is making a mess out of foreign policy and the review of this book confirms what I have been thinking.

    • s c

      ASGreen, actually, the Two-legged Disgrace in the W H has no foreign policy of his own. He’s a faithful robot who’s following failed foreign policies that date back to Airhead Wilson and WWI. This policy demands that America be constantly involved in foreign wars.
      It is also known as ‘Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,’ in case you haven’t heard of it until now. Unless we find ways to stop it, this insanity will eventually force America to go the route of old Rome.
      Taxation without representation is only part of the problem. If our elected non-leaders knew that they couldn’t count on being able to see the sun come up the next day, they would have to ‘re-evaluate’ their wannabe, infallible behavior.
      Whether I like it or not, America’s predicament has become a classic case of “them or us.” I choose “us.” I have no use for “them,” and it would be immoral for me to give them the benefit of any doubt.

  • http://MSNBC Mary Newlon

    Just bought the book; am anxious to read it. Probably will confirm all I think about Obama, anyway.

  • anticommie

    While Obama is giving away the United States of America with all the money printing, the COMUNIST STATE of Nicaragua is invading the liberty loving and US ally, Costa Rica.
    The communist threat is growing in the US backyard: Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua!!
    Now the communist are taking over liberty and free countries. Meanwhile Obama does nothing!!
    United States citizen, watch out for the communists threats! They very close!! Watch out!!
    The US needs another Ronald Reagan!!

  • Disciple127

    Again people have to realize that President Obama inherited these WARS from the Bush Adm. And it showed that Bush didnt have a solution to the Problem either…I still dont think the U.S. should have been in this mess in the first place if the American Public hadnt been mislead. These Wars are making a mess of our Economy and the Greed on Wall Street is not helping our cause……So there is a whole lot of people to blame than just Obama…

    • Sue Bar

      Just a reminder – Bush did not appropriate the money for this war, Congress is the entity that must take care of that. The information about WMD was given to Congress and Congress is the entity that appropriated the funds. Later, when Dodd found himself at the wrong end of things and it appeared there were no WMD, he flapped his lying lips and said Bush lied – what a croc!

    • s c

      D, you put great stock in the idea that your ‘savior’ inherited much crap from GB. I’d like to know just how much effort you put into trying to understand how EASY it is to fool Americans. Imagine a group of inferior minds (Congress), and these minds got together and decided that an easy way to fool the dumbed-down masses is to tell them that this prez or that prez inherited so much crap from the last prez that this “explains” 99% of what Americans need to know about American politics.
      Can’t you smell a decaying rat when it’s in front of you?
      You sound like someone who never counts change after you make a purchase. You sound like someone who looks at thinking as an unnecessary effort because your ‘leaders’ tell you what to think. You sound like someone who will believe ANYTHING if it sounds good or feels good.
      Frankly, D, you sound like a politician’s dream. You sound like someone whose brain is akin to silly putty. You exercise it just enough to keep it functioning, but rarely do you use it enough to know when to come in out of the rain. Are you related to Al ‘duh’ Gore?

  • Jack

    Suprising how much blind ignorance in this world. No one wants to admit that the Federal Reserve (private global banking monopoly) is financing and controling all of these wars to drain the USA of its economy and resorces. Its aim is world domination and it is slowly winning its objective.
    Jefferson wrote,”I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the US Citizens ever allow private banks to control the Issue of there currency, first inflation, then by deflation, the banksand corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The Feds almost succeed with the first depression but Hitler, when he threw them out and set up German montary system, they had to drag us into World War II. Now we are close to World War III and a one World Government under there control and no one admits it.

    • Marie Stroud

      Best comment I’ve seen today. “Suprising how much blind ignorance in this world.” Nice to know that some do see and understand.

  • Marie Stroud

    FTW – Money connections between Bush Republicans and Osama bin Laden go way back and the political and economic connections have remained unbroken for 20 years. And what appears to be a “new” alliance with Pakistan is merely a new manifestation of a decades-long partnership in the heroin trade.

  • Marie Stroud

    Anyone read this?
    “The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining supercapitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control…. Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.” Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976, killed in the Korean Airlines 747 that was shot down by the Soviets
    “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991.
    “The idea was that those who direct the overall conspiracy could use the differences in those two so-called ideologies [marxism/fascism/socialism v. democracy/capitalism] to enable them [the Illuminati] to divide larger and larger portions of the human race into opposing camps so that they could be armed and then brainwashed into fighting and destroying each other.” Myron Fagan
    “No one will enter the New World Order unless he or she will make a pledge to worship Lucifer. No one will enter the New Age unless he will take a LUCIFERIAN Initiation.” David Spangler, Director of Planetary Initiative, United Nations

  • s c

    It seems safe to say that America is not the only country where leadership is just a word. The vast majority of those ‘leaders’ are expendable, and yet many are allowed to live a life of luxury at the expense of the people they’re sworn to protect.
    It’s as though the world is cursed with the power to extinguish itself, and those who have been put in power to guide the nations have not a clue. Each country is infested with a system of false leaders, advisors who give nothing but bad advise, and people in every country can’t understand why life gets more complicated.
    The old words ring true again. That is, ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities.’ It is time for people around the world to realize that human leadership is not up to the task. Human ability and leadership are illusions. This world is built on sand, human incompetence, greed and Oz-like puppet masters who work for forces that have no earthly names.

  • Anthony

    Marie ….

    The Rockefellers work for the Rothschilds. They are merely puppets.

  • s c

    - update – It is now 5 October ’11, and we still have two monumental LOSERS in the White House. America is still in MANY countries around the world. Our economy sucks, and the boobsy twins in the W H are clueless.
    Leadership is just a word, especially with the non-talented fakirs who infest Congress and the W H. ‘Perpetual war for perpetual peace’ is a fact, and The Anointed One is involved in the Wall Street demonstrations fiasco up to his incompetent neck (via Lerner and Soros). True leaders, WHERE ARE YOU?


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