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Revelations in Woodward book 'Obama's Wars'

Bob Woodward's "Obama's War," to be released Monday, contains revelations about the war in Afghanistan.

By Local Editors  |  September 21, 2010; 11:32 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I love the headline on Drudge this morning - "All the President's Hen" How aptly descriptive, and you just know that Drudge is not even talking about Hillary. I'm sure all you obama voters must be so proud of yourselves. Is this a great country or what?

Posted by: bo1921 | September 22, 2010 8:18 AM

Some excerpts online (ABC news is one) have included the following from the Woodward Book:

The book describes President Obama pushing a withdrawal timetable because, “I can't lose the whole Democratic Party.”

This is a bombshell! So the white house is actually basing our war policy based on internal politics in the Democratic Party! Is that what Obama does? Is that what we voted for? What about WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THE COUNTRY?!?

Posted by: Bmontgomery3 | September 22, 2010 8:19 AM

Sadly, none of these 'revelations' are terribley surprising, given the ideology of the administration and the American left. However, as a veteran of the Afganistan Campaign during that period, they are very disappointing. Pres. Obama promised better. I had hoped for better. American and allied servicemembers fighting under ISAF as well as the American and Afghan people all deserve better. However realistic one might think Pres. Bush's vision for a postwar democratic muslim world, at least he offered a future other than get out. We need to fight wars for a more just peace, not an exit strategy.

Posted by: alanhawk | September 22, 2010 8:39 AM

Obama saya the US can absorb another terrorist attack! You want to to explain that to the survivors of those who dies in 9/11; ask them how well they "absorbed" the attack.

Posted by: Babalou | September 22, 2010 8:43 AM

Most surprising - Obama drafted his own plan. He thinks he is a military strategist - more delusion.

Posted by: reberger | September 22, 2010 9:02 AM

The Obama administration is just a disaster. We elected an empty suit, a completely meaningless man who speaks in platitudes and sound bites. We tried to give him meaning, we wanted to make a world leader, to create a president we could be proud of.
We failed, Obama failed.
We need to start over again, with some hard lessons learned.

Posted by: jonfraudcarry | September 22, 2010 9:13 AM

How utterly silly some of these comments are. Look. President Obama doesn't resort to all of the chest thumping, testosterone driven, macho self regard that you right wing armchair generals are so fond of. Most of you are like that fat, hog-like Rush Limbaugh who talks a big macho game but his his number came up during the Vietnam war he scurried into the safety of a rich Physcian friend of his father's in Cape Girardeau, Mo to dummy up a condition called colloidal reflux--a fancy name for pooping your pants when you get scared.

Most of Obama's right wing war critics fit into this category. They talk big but once the shooting starts, the scurrying for dark corenrs to hide in begins.

Posted by: jaxas70 | September 22, 2010 9:25 AM

Wow! Absorbing a Terrorist attack. Why was this not a poll question? Are we stronger because we were attacked or because of our response to the attack? I think today our response would be very different.

Posted by: killeyz | September 22, 2010 9:31 AM

Surprising? How about NONE of the least to me.

The only thing more obvious than all of these options would be an ink stain in a bowl full of sugar!

Posted by: ChiefPayne | September 22, 2010 9:39 AM

We knew he didn't think of winning in terms of victory. He said so himself, it should be a surprise to no one. Same with an exit strategy.

What I found most surprising, and it did not appear on the list, is the calculated coldness he displays in shrugging off the impact of future terrorist attacks even the size of 9/11. I suppose it's ok then as long as it doesn't hit too close to his own home or impacts his political agenda.

Posted by: spamblocker | September 22, 2010 9:41 AM

Regarding this poll, why would anyone be surprised that Obama would 'push hard for an exit plan' or be adverse to any strategy that would involve 'winning or losing' the war? This is a president who is invested in the decline of America as a superpower and had no qualms about the defeat of the United States when George W. Bush was president. His goal now is to avoid losing while he is president, but to also avoid 'winning' the war because he believes it would somehow damage his image with foreign leaders who hate the U.S. anyway.

Posted by: rstjohn1 | September 22, 2010 9:50 AM

This is too rich, but not really much of a total surprise. No matter how the elections turn out in Nov., this administration if going to be further crippled. You simply cannot put a person in that position with zero experience. You Obama voters were sold a bill of goods. Learn from it.

Posted by: badgerboy23 | September 22, 2010 9:51 AM

To BMontgomery3:

I know you're shocked, just shocked to discover that domestic politics influences foreign policy, but if I may be bold, get over it. You would be even more shocked if presidents didn't think about that. Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and turned to his press secretary and said 'the Democrats just lost the South for a generation.'

The larger question is whether Obama's vision was strong enough to push back on the military's open-ended second $1 trillion commitment overseas. It looks like Obama was right, but weak, and that his Pentagon staff - accustomed to getting whatever they wanted whenever and however they wanted it - were wrong, but stronger. Obama is not the first president to have done battle with the military-industrial-security complex in this country and lost.

Posted by: cbl55 | September 22, 2010 9:56 AM

What is most surprising to me is how Woodward continues to crank out books full of "revelations" that everyone who is paying attention already knows, or why his "higly-placed sources" continue to return his calls. I suspect the latter is because they know if they don't give him something real he'll just make stuff up, like sneaking into a hospital to extract a "deathbed confession."

And with all respect due to any veteran, what we need to do is to choose and plan the wars we fight more carefully so we're not stuck looking for an exit strategy because there's no way to get to anything resembling a "just peace" without unconsionable expenditure of life, fortune and sacred honor. I'd suggest next time listening to some of the people who can create war plans a little bit more detailed than how many trucks we will need to cart away all the rose petals we think the newly liberated people of the next country we invade without good reason will be throwing at us.

Posted by: ex-Virginian4 | September 22, 2010 12:27 PM

None of the above.

What is surprising is after numerous columns/books/etc. by un-named sources that have proven to be partially or fully false that a book based on "un-named highly placed sources" is taken seriously.

Posted by: rlj1 | September 22, 2010 1:01 PM

To: cbl55

Sorry but I won't get over it. We aren't talking about domestic Legislation here. I’ll buy what you are saying for that. We are talking about life and death for Military Families. As an aside we are a Military Family. It galls me to think that our Commander-in-Chief would make strategic war policy based on domestic politics. Wartime policies (if nothing else) I would think should be non-partisan. If they are partisan and guided by anything other than what really needs to be done then I don't care who they are (Republican or Democrat) they have completely lost my respect. I’m not even saying what the right answer is. It could be a complete pull-out or a double-down or something in between. We elected this man to gather a group of advisors and analyze the situation and make a decision (LIFE or DEATH Decision) based on what he really needs to happen. Anything else then he is a complete disappointment

Posted by: Bmontgomery3 | September 22, 2010 1:16 PM

If ever there was an attack on our country, the LAST person I'd want in charge of our military is Obama. The man can't manage his way out of a paper bag, let alone manage the country's response to a terrorist or military attack. Geez ... and to think our soldiers have to salute this guy! I feel for them, I really do.

Posted by: boxermom | September 22, 2010 1:24 PM

No surprises at all. The concept that we can absorb terrorist attacks is just a variation of the idea we deserve them.

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | September 22, 2010 1:34 PM

Woodward is selling a book. Take much of what he's written with a handful of salt since it's his interpretation of information or so-called facts. The US should not be nation building -- its attempts in the past, especially in South America, have been disastrous. And I'd be more worried if advisors and members of a President's staff didn't disagree or express a differing viewpoint. More puffing-up to make the obvious sensational.

Posted by: ccs53 | September 22, 2010 1:38 PM

None of the above. The most surprising revelation was the quote about America "absorbing" another attack. Completely shocking that he thinks so little of the American people...

Posted by: fallenstar2005 | September 22, 2010 1:46 PM

Actually, the president's assertion that the nation can if necessary absorb another terrorist attack reflects a bit of bravado. In other words he is saying that if 9/11 was the terrorists' best shot, then we have less to worry about than others would have us believe. Some however have chosen to take the president's assertion out of context, and spin it to validate their bias against him, a typically lame gesture repeated ad nauseum by those opposed to the Obama presidency. Fortunately, not everyone is blinded by such demagoguery.

moreover, this observer perceives the president as stronger, not weaker as others have suggested, another example of validation bias on the part of the president's opposition. That is what is most amazing; i.e., when confronted by the truth, the president's opposition seeks the solace of their prejudice, blocking out the light, and burying themselves in their own, carefully conceived male bovine excrement.

Posted by: TheghostofLennyBruce | September 22, 2010 1:52 PM

I don't understand people are offended by comments that we could "absorb" another attack. Would you prefer the alternative? Would you like to use a different word, or not think even about it?

I'm glad the administration is looking at different scenarios and outcomes. This is the only way to plan.

Posted by: eeepc | September 22, 2010 2:04 PM

Obama: "We can absorb a terrorist attacK'

Thanks to the appeasement policies of Obama, we are more likely to need to absorb one.

Posted by: georgedixon1 | September 22, 2010 2:13 PM

If Woodward is accurate ;we finally have a President with
"guts and brains".
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were poorly planned and executed with no reasonable exit strategy!
We "must win" in Iraq and Afghanistan makes as much
sense as "we must win the drug war"
Generals are trained to
"win" wars;they are not trained to win against amorphous

Posted by: frank62 | September 22, 2010 2:21 PM

I was pleasantly surprised that after all of the talk about how he is just a guy who gets pushed around, he is, well, the civilian leader of the military we expect the president to be.

Posted by: corbestine | September 22, 2010 2:33 PM

The paramilitary force is at least news. Probably the biggest surprise is the amount of attention Bob Woodward can still attract by recycling some largely predictable gossip.

Posted by: dnjake | September 22, 2010 2:35 PM

I'm glad we finally have a President that tries to view the military staff as advisers, advisers with limitations and biased point of view, a President who is not afraid to over-ride those advisers and go his own way. That is leadership we have not had since Truman.

Posted by: samsara15 | September 22, 2010 2:35 PM

None of the above,

The surprise to me is how the military commanders want victory, even if it takes this and the next generation's life times. Reminds me of the story of a British commander in WWI that was willing to expend 10,000 men to take a hill and his troop leaders cynical comment on his "bloody" generousity.

Getting out of someone elses internal civil war or nation building efforts or the unending cosmic war Al-Queda wants should be the focus. And it sounds like it is President Obama's, thankfully.

For the ones supporting unending war, make sure you encourage your kids and grand kids to sign up, deploy and fight for an undefined, unreachable victory. Keep it up long enough and you can rejoice at their funeral. And, oh yes, please stop complaining about paying high taxes, your war has to be funded and should not be by accumulating debt.

Victory is in having given the Afghans the opportunity to build and defend THEIR nation. America and the NATO allies have spent enough treasure in blood and gold to secure that victory. Come July, we should start the exit.

Posted by: | September 22, 2010 2:42 PM

None of this is news. First it was Bush I, then Clinton, then Bush II, and now Obama. Woodward didn't even have the decency to wait until Obama's 2d year was up. I see no revelations that we didn't already know. I also think Obama has been as transparent as he possibly could be (never show your hand) about what he believes. And he does have every right to change his mind. No story here...NEXT!

Posted by: cholly85241 | September 22, 2010 2:50 PM

Not a revelation, just an observation:
The idiots on this thread who bash Obama are, presumably, the same idiots that thought voting for McCain/Palin was a good idea. I shudder to think about the condition of this country, and our standing in the world, had those incompetents been elected.
It's amazing and sad you braindead rednecks ever learned how to operate a computer.
How many of you cowards blame George Bush for 9-11? After all, he was the president when we "absorbed" that one, wasn't he? Reading a children's book in an elementary school as we were being attacked, as I recall. Then attacked the wrong country. "Empty suit"? "Inexpreienced"? "Unable to manage"?
You idiots wouldn't know incompetence if you had it for eight years. Which you did.
Obama/2012. There is no better alternative from Cowardly Goober Nation.

Posted by: cjbass55 | September 22, 2010 2:53 PM

Watch Democrats run Hillary in 2012 using the same strategy they used with Obama.

"It will be a historic first. The first woman President. Finally we'll be able to bridge the sexism gap running rampant through America."

yada yada yada


Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | September 22, 2010 3:02 PM

Glad the President is thinking on his own..

Especially considering the betrayal and cowardice of the Neocon's.

The big bravado Neocon's who would not fight the wars they started.

The President will leave Afghanistan and may even find OBL

IF that happens the CIA and the Neocon's will be in real trouble.


Posted by: vettesport | September 22, 2010 3:10 PM

The lunatic fringe are up...trying to be POTUS!

[Good sign the country is not only declining but also (going) to fall....]

The military-industrial complex came under Eisenhower's farewell attack (before JFK took over). Try to read that GOP leaders assessment!

The military doesn't make decisions on political issues: it wants the standing Army to fight and win wars and become still bigger and *unilateralist* power.

All at the cost of taxpayer's pocket....while unemployment spells decline of its productive power.

The lunatic fringe doesn't know or even understand Hindu Kush and its environment.

[Obama's young mother studied the people and culture of this Silk Road and wrote about the son must have heard or read it too.]

Bottom line is that there is no nation to build in Hindu Kush. It's ruled by war- loards with distinct ethnic/lingustic origin and militia. Even under UN international law, it'd be difficult to define it as a nation-state (UN Charter).

So, the professor of law and now POTUS understands what a preposterous political cul-de-sac Hindu Kush is in reality. The treasure and wealth of America will not create and/or establish a feasible Afghan nation-state. However it will teach the Pentagon how to refine its strategy and tools of war-making - in Southasia.

Get out by summer 2011 before it's too late!

Posted by: hariknaidu | September 22, 2010 3:11 PM

Boy this really brought out all the chickenhawk commenters.

Like the Cheneys and Roves of the world, you're all gung-ho for a fight -
just as long as someone else or someone else's CHILDREN go fight and die for you.

All cowards and hypcrites.

As for Afghanistan specifically:

Anyone with a brain for history knows that NO ONE has ever been successful in a war in the Khyber region - EVER - and no one ever will.

Exit strategy is the only sane option -

otherwise all you have is another Vietnam, and unlike the 60s / 70s, this time the US doesn't have the financial resources to waste.

Luckily, instead of a dry-drunk cowboy, this time we have a president who is intelligent enough to see Afghanistan for what it is - quagmire, and Osama bin Laden's wet-dream of bleeding the US to death.

If you're so gung-ho, you and your kids sign up today, and go stand a post.

Posted by: daveque | September 22, 2010 3:31 PM

This is not surprising at all. 18 months ago I had hoped that President Obama would show the courage to state that a remake of Afghanistan was impossible (w/o a full scale and incredibly expensive effort) and inconsistent with our security needs. When he announced the plan I just knew that was not what the men in uniform wanted (they always like a war as an opportunity to buy more toys and have a few crises to play with). I also felt that the July 2011 date was when he would say, OK we tried the military approach - it did X and Y, but it's time to leave.

Well done to President Barack Obama

Posted by: sdexnorva | September 22, 2010 3:34 PM

How about "None of the Above," but instead that it's okay for the US to undergo another terrorist attack that kills thousands because "we can absorb it."

Posted by: WildBill1 | September 22, 2010 3:40 PM

We lost Afghanistan when Karzai lost the election and refused to leave office. Now we are just propping up another illegitimate regime with US troops, undermining our own principles of democratic freedom.

We tried this strategy in Iran and Cuba with the Shah and Batista. Notice how well those worked out for us? As long as we use short-term calculations to trump our long term interest in elected democracies who are not our puppets.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 22, 2010 4:18 PM

Unfortunately, none of these are much of a surprise. The main surprise is that he actually voiced these comments (out loud). That he and his advisers can run a campaign is known. But, they can only run the US into the ground. I hope the damage will be minimal. I hope things improve soon under a new leader.

Posted by: henryw1 | September 22, 2010 4:18 PM

A few observations. First, Obama is the Commander in Chief. If he does not want to get stuck in a quagmire, it's up to him to order troops out of Afganistan. His "commanders" are NOT going to offer him a definitive exit plan! If this book is indeed factual, what this expose tells me is that we have a terribly weak President who does not want to stand-up to the military even when he has substantial public support and he knows that exiting Afganistan is the right thing to do AND the only viable option for America at this time.

Posted by: Cloonster1091 | September 22, 2010 4:21 PM

I think the military leadership has failed us -- again -- as in Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq. They are trained to fight in the model of winning by force. That hasn't worked consistently well, considering the Jews (from Roman times to today), the IRA, Viet Cong. An insurgency resident and dispersed among a friendly population will always survive clumsy assaults by big guys with big guns. Neocons urge us to blast away at everything, when the reality is that the factors that cause terrorists to exist have to be dealt with over decades - the soft stuff, like education & jobs.

Posted by: frodot | September 22, 2010 4:38 PM

If 9/11 was Al Qaeda's best shot, America is still standing. There is nothing a bunch of cave dwelling extremists can do that will break America's back. I'm with the man who has that kind of attitude. Enough said.

Those who are criticizing Obama for saying this are either illiterate, or stupid, or both.

Now go rain some more Hellfire missiles on those hiding out in Northwest Pakistan while planning to attack Americans. Iraq and Afghanistan are asymmetric wars, anybody who has studied Vietnam and Somalia knows there's no traditional victory in such a conflict. You think about what you'll leave behind when you exit. That is the goal.

Some of the Generals are still where the puck was 50 years ago, when surrender ceremonies and armistices were the norm. I'm glad there's someone in the White House willing to stand up to them and tell them where puck is going.

Posted by: asja | September 22, 2010 4:50 PM

If this Poll Question had been written for a Republican President, the Post wouldn't have written such soft options.

Here's how the choices would have looked.

How hard President President pushed for a full retreat.

That the President didn't press for a full victory.

The existence of a secret mercenary army in Afghanistan under the direct control of the CIA.

The Presidents statement alluding to Pakistan as a cancer which is the real threat in the region.

Posted by: agentyx2001 | September 22, 2010 5:21 PM

Top those with family who are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan: Of course, every American, including Obama, supports our troups. BUT - the decisions to declare and wage war can be wrong without tarnishing their service. As a family member of those suffering from lack of health care and retirment savings that evaporated - I AGREE with Obama's decision to make domestic ISSUES (not politics) a priority. More people die from preventable disease, obesity and hunger in this country every year than died on 9/11. Should we be "absorbing" those deaths without waging war at home? Go Obama!!

Posted by: karinee | September 22, 2010 5:33 PM

Obama's policies in Afghanistan seem puzzling. If there is not the goal of victory per se, then why are sending all these troops? Would not a counter terrorism strategy work best ? This seems to be split the difference Barry. The military wants one thing, the Democrats want something else.Then, the Bush people want counter terrorism, and so it seems the president has a some counter insurgency, some counter terrorism, and some war on terror. Gee, can't we just get along....

Posted by: peterroach | September 22, 2010 5:49 PM

Woodward was just planting seeds. That he used unnamed sources is irrelevant. The flowers of truth will grow out of them.

Posted by: barbaracjohnson74 | September 22, 2010 6:44 PM

ASJA says "If 9/11 was Al Qaeda's best shot, America is still standing. There is nothing a bunch of cave dwelling extremists can do that will break America's back. I'm with the man who has that kind of attitude."

Come back online after the US suffers the first Nuc strike, either from a dirty bomb on the tip of Manhattan, or one launched from either Iran or Pakistan.

And tell me what a 'bunch of cave dwelling extremists' can't do.

Posted by: dave19 | September 22, 2010 6:48 PM

All the Democrats can talk about is "fighting forever." Winning is not their objective in anything. No wonder they fear the next election.

OK. I exagerrated. But show me when they last dug in and won.

Health care?

And they are letting that slip away.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 22, 2010 7:37 PM

"The existence of a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans controlled by the CIA."

What did you expect? We had CIA Nung armies in Vietnam. The last Bush book by Woodward talked about a new way to find and get rid of enemy leaders.

We can win this war enough to meet our objectives. But we have not even started our offensive. Try it first. Then give up if you must.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 22, 2010 7:41 PM

What, it's almost 9 years since this war started. The last administration played patsy with the Pakistan government, lost it's focos and went asfter saddam and now we are still chasing the guys who started this war. Bring the troops home and make a parking lot out of Afganistan and Pakistan. I'm tired of my family going over there every other year to fight Bush's War.

Posted by: johnturkal1 | September 22, 2010 7:46 PM

To those misguided posters who make irrational comments about Pres. Obama, get this straight: Obama wouldn't be president except for the fact that the Bush administration and far right wing Republicans allowed the U.S. economy to almost fall off the cliff. Unpaid Bush taxcuts, two unpaid wars and unpaid prescription drug plan plus deregulation of the banking industry almost destroyed this country's future.
So when you complain about Obama, think back only 18 months and consider the alternative. It's a joke!

Posted by: jp1943 | September 22, 2010 8:03 PM

Compare Woodward's book about the Bush White House after 9/11 with Obama after his election. It is like night and day.

The revelations just show what a shadow of a President Obama is compared to the heroic figure of his predecessor.

Posted by: millerroberta | September 22, 2010 8:22 PM

First a Big Thank You to JP1943 you are absolutely right.

President Obama wants to end a winless war is nothing new.

Military leaders and their advisors have been said that for years.

Yet the war mongers and people who make money from it want it to go on and on spending billions needlessly all in the name of Bush's err make that Cheney's war on error, yes error.

Spend the money at home on increased intelligence and stop using the men and women of this country for political fodder!

Posted by: Badger21 | September 22, 2010 8:23 PM

Hey RobertaMiller apparently you haven't read all of Woodward's books...this was off a Fox news site mots that call Bush a dunce except the hallucinatory one that right wingers choose to read praising the W _worst ever!

The new book is less critical than Woodward’s last tome, "State of Denial," which savaged Bush for his execution of the war in Iraq. "Denial" ended with the line: "With all Bush’s upbeat talk and optimism, he had not told the American public the truth about what Iraq had become."

Posted by: Badger21 | September 22, 2010 8:28 PM

This is the longest war in U.S. history, unless you count the war on drugs which has been going on since Nixon was president.

There is no justification for either war. There was no justifiable reason to do a "surge" in Afghanistan. Al Quaeda has already moved out of there.

Officially we have ended the war in Iraq, but we still have 50,000 troops there. I don't believe Obama has an exit strategy. He is just engaging in CYA. He is likely to say, I was wrong about leaving in 2011. We need to stay there longer.

I didn't believe we would ever get out of Vietnam, either. It wasn't until the last helicopter flew off the top of the U.S. Embassy in 1975, that I actually believed it. I believe the war in Afghanistan will end the same way as Vietnam.

Posted by: alance | September 22, 2010 9:09 PM

His comment about absorbing 9-11 was meant to be a compliment to the American people, not a cold-hearted shrug, as some seem to see it. Deinitely want to get the book now.

Posted by: dan298 | September 22, 2010 9:12 PM

Somehow, I just don't feel safe with Barack Hussein Obama as our President...

Posted by: thinker16 | September 22, 2010 9:19 PM

Obama has already spent ~trillions~ Only most of it went to his real constituents.

SEIU, UAW, ACORN, AIG, Goldmann Sachs, foreign banks, etc.

We can absorb another 9-11? Is that the plan?

God save the Republic

Posted by: Straightline | September 22, 2010 10:08 PM

Regarding this poll, why would anyone be surprised that Obama would 'push hard for an exit plan' or be adverse to any strategy that would involve 'winning or losing' the war? - Posted by: rstjohn1

Yeah, when Bush spent seven years not trying to win OR exit. In fact, he hardly ever mentioned Afghanistan or al Qaeda after talking big early on about "dead or alive," all while scurrying his oil buddies' terrorist family out of the country while no other Americans could fly.

Posted by: MadamDeb | September 22, 2010 10:43 PM

Obama: "I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party."

Note that he doesn't mind losing the war or the country, however.

Posted by: prosecutor1 | September 22, 2010 11:21 PM

Thanks for the financial community.
Every Empire has ended with financial collapse and our financial community is doing magnificently on that path. Won't take more than 2 more collapses to accomplish that.

Posted by: vishrant | September 22, 2010 11:34 PM

Indians know for ages that real malice or cancer or migraine whatever you call it, lies in Pakistan and not "Af-Pak". Afghanistan is a victim of this Pakistani cancer as much as India, US, UK and other countries. Mr Obama would know that cancer treatment lies not in symptomatic treatment all around but in taking the core head-on. And the nucleus or the "Centre-of-gravity" lies in Pak Army/ ISI. Pak Army has enslaved the entire Pakistani nation. So long as it remained their internal problem, it was OK, but as this cancer is poisoning the surroundings and the entire world, the international community has to shed its cloak of nicety towards Pakistan and take hard steps. Else they will be responsible for suffering of common man and probably a nuclear war killing millions and destroying environment...Meanwhile...we the ordinary citizens...keep waiting and keep suffering...

Posted by: raj321 | September 23, 2010 1:08 AM

Unfortunately, people don't look closely enough at the wars like Vietnam and the war on drugs. There is always a common denominator present in the wars we have lost. JFK and Johnson, fought their wars just as Obama is fighting this war. They chose to ignore their military leaders thinking that they were the end all be all military stratigasts, and as we all know, they weren't. Liberal Democratic leaders refuse to fight to win and not to suprisingly enough, we lost the Vietnam war and we are losing the Afgan war.

And as for the War On Drugs, it would not have even been necessary to have the Drug War if liberal free spirits would stop abusing illisit narcotics. No one would be dying in Mexico in their drug cartell war and the Afgans would have no one to sell their opium to if the United States wasn't full of people buying those drugs. Just think about the money our government could save if everyone just stopped smoking their pot and snorting their cocaine. I bet we could have and aford free health care. Just a thought.

Posted by: clarity925 | September 23, 2010 2:51 AM

Interesting poll results. I'm only faintly surprised by the last choice, even though it's an honest one. The others I was well aware of, and I wouldn't exactly call the CIA's activity a huge secret to say the least. It's not been overt, and they're never an organization for trumpets & parades, but there has been a lot of information published that implied that type of activity.

What does surprise me is how many people are voting for the choice that he didn't frame the conversation in terms of winning or losing. No one ever really wins in fighting an insurgency, parties can only lose less than each other until it's done. While there can be well framed victory and defeat when dealing with organized uniformed forces that follow the rules of war, that's not a result anyone should expect when dealing with decentralized, poorly organized insurgencies where combatants do not follow the rules of war, and are not willing to concede defeat under any terms.

The fight against Al-Qaeda/Taliban is an extremist insurgency where combatant parties do not follow the laws of war. They are uninterested in ever conceding defeat, or in surrender. In these conflicts, the populace is treated as either targets or cannon fodder. Which one is often dependent on the immediate conditions, and opportunities to exploit non-combatants for their ends. Since Al-Qaeda is a group of trans-national imperialists, if they lose in one place and are driven out, or eliminated via death of the combatants (preferably), their strategy is to reform in another location to attempt to subvert whatever nation they're gathering in.

To frame the war in Afghanistan in terms of "victory and defeat" in classic terms is nearly impossible. In those terms, when the Taliban government fell, & the leaders fled to Afghan border regions along with their Al-Qaeda partners, that could be considered a victory. However the enemy did not vacate the field, did not surrender, and continues to try to rebuild strength to retake the country, or any coherent area of the the regions they base themselves in at all costs. Between their tactics of not accepting peace under any terms, and their unwillingness to accept any alternative other than complete and continued goals of empire, they break the model of conventional war. Since they will utterly and completely sacrifice all allies, and all those willing to fight for them towards the end goal of creating an empire, they never accept loss. They believe mistakenly that this ensures that they will eventually win. The ironclad fact that they are wrong about that is something that they choose to ignore. In their minds, unless they're dead or captured, they don't have to accept defeat.

It's useful to make comparisons with both insurgencies that cloak their goals in a false cloth of religious justification to ones that do not. The Columbian struggles against FARC, the civil wars in Liberia, Rwanda, Congo, Indonesia, Nepal, & many other places present good examples.

Posted by: Nymous | September 27, 2010 1:55 AM

The president is right and knows more history than the morons who got us into Afghanistan: Afghanistan is unwinnable in conventional terms. Alexander the Great tried, the Persians tried, the Ottomans tried, the British tried, the Soviets, too. We are wasting good men and good dollars after a bad mission. Let's find Osama and execute him and keep executing Taliban leaders, but let's get the hell outta there. While we are trying to achieve something (what?) in Afghanistan, the Chinese are expanding their empire while we are deeper and deepen in debt. In fact, with us in Afghanistan, bin Laden is winning: he is weakening the "Great Satan" and, yes, destroying 'Our way of life'.

Posted by: hdask | September 27, 2010 4:48 AM

End the war now.

Posted by: bproulx45 | September 27, 2010 8:06 AM

What was surprising about your list of exposes?

1. Obama was elected to get us out of those wars. Why would he NOT fight for an exit plan? He is a Democrat. If his party isn't re-elected, the people who messed up this country will make things even worse than they did before.

2. No one "wins" the war with cockroaches when you live in an infested apartment house. Bugbomb your own apartment and they come in from the next door neighbor's (see number 4).

3. No big surprise; it's been going on for years and it's the reason the world hates us. Yes, those who haven't already beat us in the stuff race still envy our cars, houses, and pools.

4. Bin Laden has moved to Pakistan. Is he not the cancer's epicenter?

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | September 27, 2010 1:42 PM

What is most surprising by a wide margin is the refusal of the military to give the president real options. If they can't give any, they should resign, but they seem to have mislead the prez. That's very very ominous and bad.

Oh, and thinking about "victory" or "defeat" is utterly meaningless if you have any historical perspective on war. Almost all wars end in some kind of negotiated settlement.

Posted by: fredofsicily | September 27, 2010 6:03 PM

HDASK has expressed the whole conundrum perfectly.
And I agree with him completely.
Negotiate with Afghanistan and Pakistan for us to keep certain specific people in place to operate the drones and get out otherwise.
We had a chance to eradicate the source of 90 percent of our illegal drugs, but by going into Iraq, we forfeited that opportunity.
OBL has been laughing his head off.
America is suffering; he has achieved HIS goal.
We just need to stay on his tail until we get him.
That will be done by counter-intelligence, not by military force.
Meanwhile, concerning Obama's comment that the U.S. could "absorb" another strike, consider this:
Britain "absorbed" strike after strike by the IRA for close to a century.
They finally resolved that conflict.
We will eventually resolve this conflict, as well.
We have a strong intelligence apparatus and we need strong borders.
We need to invest in our country, not another.
It's time for us to return our military from Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving only enough force to protect our embassies, etc.
We have to turn our attention to our home.
BTW, re: MILLERROBERTA | SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 8:22 PM --
I pity her.
Going on feelings and shallow manipulated "images".
She really needs to stay the heck away from a voting booth until she grows up.
Her shallow attitude is America's greatest threat.
Obama has taken care of this country much better than I thought he could and I'm proud we finally have grownups in charge, unafraid to confront the powerful forces in the military/industrial complex and the extremely wealthy.
He's beginning to get a grip on the massive financial forces refusing to accept any limitations on their casino.
He is working on massive governmental restructure and it hasn't been easy, but he's doing what I elected him to do and I'm proud of him.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | September 28, 2010 4:32 PM

I am a conservative. In recent years I have normally voted republican. I voted for Bush and McCain in the last three cycles. With this in mind, I find the lack of understanding among others who consider themselves conservative as shocking and saddening. It was Dwight Eisenhower, certainly a conservative, who first warned us of the growing influence of the military industrial complex. It was he that warned us of engaing in enterprise that exceeded our national inclination to pay and following the whims of that complex to completely. It was Richard Nixon, certainly a conservative, who warned Kenedy of the dangers of military adventurism in Central and South America and chided him for not understanding the benifits of establishing a diplomatic approach to growing democracy in our own hemisphere. We defeated the NAZI, rebuilt Europe and Japan after WWII and then defeated the Soviet menance. Those actions were our responsibilaty because the US was the only power on earth capable of confronting those enemies and challenges. When the Soviet menance crumbled as a result of Reagan's policies, the conservative thing to do was to stand down. We can not continue to project our influence militaraly around the globe and expect to compete with Russia and China economically. I think a proper reading of history places Iran, China, Mexico and Russia as our major areas of concern, not Afganastan. Spending a trillion dollars on a war that most military strategist would consider unwinnable in any conventional sense is madness. Please look at a map of the middle east. Iraq and Iran are Central to the region, Afganastan is not. Those nations can not afford to live with utterly rogue states in Pakistan or Afganistan. We can. China and Japan have far more to fear from a rogue Korea than we do. Prior to 1989, our military presence in the world was made necessary by a monolithic Soviet military power. There is no such threat today. We lost 3000 lives and billions of dollars on 9-11. This is a tragedy not of our making. Since then we have spent one trillion dollars for not one but two wars. How do we account for the 7200 lives of US servicemen and mercenaries and perhaps the 300,000 innocent lives lost to collateral damage in those two wars. As a conservative I am actually heartened that Obama did not agree to a new cycle of war. The federal budget in 2009 was approximately $3.5T. Official defense spending was $782B or 23% of the budget. The actual total for defense spending was between $880 billion and $1.03 trillion in fiscal year 2010, when supplemental war spending is included. Conservative thought is a belief in the need for limiting the size of goverment, limiting police power, limiting goverment involvement in areas that it can not solve. Blind support for military infrastructures developed to confront a monolithic global threat when the threats today are cyberspacial, economic, narcoterroistic, and regional is stupid not conservative.

Posted by: tyronekerry | September 28, 2010 7:35 PM

WE elected an unmitigated disaster in November 2008. The guy does not know what he does not know, but does not have a clue that he does not know it!

He is simply an egotist, and a dangerous one at that.

He has screwed up everything he has touched. Watch businesses close or move their headquarters overseas if the democrats stay in power. Obama and his brood are intent on turning the US into a socialist republic --- OR WORSE! HE WILL NOT LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE -- NEITHER WILL PELOSI!

Posted by: wheeljc | September 29, 2010 10:26 AM

The big surprise here is how much Bob Woodward has declined in his ability to investigate Washington.

These were very ho-hum "so what?" articles.

Posted by: honest_jane | September 30, 2010 9:11 AM

Woodward confirmed on thing: Obama is nothing more than a two bit politician who is concerned ONLY for his own personal power.

He fooled us in November 2008 -- NEVER AGAIN! 'NO HE CAN'T!'

Posted by: wheeljc | September 30, 2010 10:40 AM

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