Obama believes 'cancer of terrorism' is in Pak: Book

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by nrj, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    US President Barack Obama believed that the "cancer of terrorism" was in Pakistan and the war on terror in Afghanistan could not be won without attacking and eliminating the al-Qaeda and Taliban safe havens in the Pakistani tribal belt, according to a new book.

    The soon-to-be-released book entitled 'Obama's War', written by noted journalist Bob Woodward, says the then Director of National Intelligence had told Obama soon after his victory in the November 2008 presidential elections that Pakistan was a "dishonest" and "unwilling partner" in the war on terrorism.

    The book, which claims that the Obama administration is sharply divided on the Afghan policy, is set to be released on Monday.

    Two days after he was elected as President, Obama was told by Mike McConnell, the then Director of National Intelligence, that Pakistan was not trustworthy.

    At McConnell's top-secret briefing for Obama, the intelligence chief told the President-elect that Pakistan was a dishonest partner, unwilling or unable to stop elements of its intelligence service from giving clandestine aid, weapons and money to the Afghan Taliban, Woodward wrote in the book, according to 'The Washington Post'.

    By the end of the 2009 strategy review, Obama concluded that no mission in Afghanistan could be successful without attacking the al-Qaeda and Afghan-Taliban havens operating with impunity in Pakistan's remote tribal region, the daily said citing the book.

    "We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan," Obama is quoted as saying at an Oval Office meeting on November 25, 2009.

    Creating a more secure Afghanistan is imperative, the President said, "so the cancer doesn't spread" there, the paper reported quoting from the book.

    "The war in Iraq draws no attention in the book, except as a reference point for considering and developing a new Afghanistan strategy.

    "The book's title, 'Obama's Wars,' appears to refer to the conflict in Afghanistan and the conflicts among the President's national security team," it said.

    The book discloses that the CIA created, controlled and paid for a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans, known as Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams.

    "Woodward describes these teams as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda and Afghan-Taliban havens there," the paper said.

    Source
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Woodward scoop: CIA army operating in Pakistan

    "Obama's Wars" contains significant revelations about U.S. foreign policy, plus stories of interpersonal sniping

    Bob Woodward's new book is coming out on Monday (the one with the bad cover art), and both the New York Times and the Washington Post have preview pieces today. You can read those stories here and here.

    So what will we likely be hearing about for the next month? Gen. David Petraeus once referred to top Obama advisor David Axelrod as "a complete spin doctor," according to the book, titled "Obama's Wars." Joe Biden once called Afghanistan guru Richard Holbrooke "the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met." And national security advisor James Jones once called Obama's political aides "water bugs."

    But what should we be talking about from the book?

    The undeclared, undebated secret war in Pakistan is bigger than we knew, and it's being conducted in part by CIA-trained Afghans:

    The CIA created, controls and pays for a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans, known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. Woodward describes these teams as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens there.

    The Obama administration seems to be enamored with a drone-based foreign policy:

    Mr. Woodward reveals the code name for the C.I.A.’s drone missile campaign in Pakistan, Sylvan Magnolia, and writes that the White House was so enamored of the program that Mr. Emanuel would regularly call the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, asking, “Who did we get today?”

    This is how President Obama defines victory in Afghanistan:

    Obama told Woodward in the July interview that he didn't think about the Afghan war in the "classic" terms of the United States winning or losing. "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?" he said.

    And this is the man who the United States is relying on over there:

    The book also reports that the United States has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and that he was on medication, but adds no details

    Woodward's book presents an opportunity to explore and debate issues that haven't gotten much airing -- the war in Pakistan, the drone strikes, Obama's continuation of various Bush-era policies. Unfortunately, it comes wrapped up with another opportunity: to obsess over sketchily sourced stories of interpersonal sniping within the administration.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Woodward Book Says Afghanistan Divided White House


    WASHINGTON — Some of the critical players in President Obama’s national security team doubt his strategy in Afghanistan will succeed and have spent much of the last 20 months quarreling with one another over policy, personalities and turf, according to a new book.The book, “Obama’s Wars,” by the journalist Bob Woodward, depicts an administration deeply torn over the war in Afghanistan even as the president agreed to triple troop levels there amid suspicion that he was being boxed in by the military. Mr. Obama’s top White House adviser on Afghanistan and his special envoy for the region are described as believing the strategy will not work.

    The president concluded from the start that “I have two years with the public on this” and pressed advisers for ways to avoid a big escalation, the book says. “I want an exit strategy,” he implored at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

    But Mr. Biden is not the only one who harbors doubts about the strategy’s chances for success. Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the president’s Afghanistan adviser, is described as believing that the president’s review did not “add up” to the decision he made. Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is quoted saying of the strategy that “it can’t work.”

    Mr. Woodward, the longtime Washington Post reporter and editor, was granted extensive access to administration officials and documents for his account, including an interview with Mr. Obama. The New York Times obtained a copy of the book before its publication by Simon & Schuster, scheduled for next week. The White House had no comment on the book Tuesday night.

    Although the internal divisions described have become public, the book suggests that they were even more intense and disparate than previously known and offers new details. Mr. Biden called Mr. Holbrooke “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.” A variety of administration officials expressed scorn for James L. Jones, the retired Marine general who is national security adviser, while he referred to some of the president’s other aides as “the water bugs” or “the Politburo.”

    Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thought his vice chairman, Gen. James E. Cartwright, went behind his back, while General Cartwright dismissed Admiral Mullen because he wasn’t a war fighter. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas E. Donilon, who would be a “disaster.”

    Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was overall commander for the Middle East until becoming the Afghanistan commander this summer, told a senior aide that he disliked talking with David M. Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, because he was “a complete spin doctor.” General Petraeus was effectively banned by the administration from the Sunday talk shows but worked private channels with Congress and the news media.

    And the book recounts incidents in which Adm. Dennis C. Blair, then the national intelligence director, fought with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and John O. Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser.

    During a daily intelligence briefing in May 2009, Mr. Blair warned the president that radicals with American and European passports were being trained in Pakistan to attack their homelands. Mr. Emanuel afterward chastised him, saying, “You’re just trying to put this on us so it’s not your fault.” Mr. Blair also skirmished with Mr. Brennan about a report on the failed airliner terrorist attack on Dec. 25. Mr. Obama later forced Mr. Blair out.

    Beyond the internal battles, the book offers fresh disclosures on the nation’s continuing battle with terrorists. It reports that the C.I.A. has a 3,000-man “covert army” in Afghanistan called the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams, or C.T.P.T., mostly Afghans who capture and kill Taliban fighters and seek support in tribal areas. Past news accounts have reported that the C.I.A. has a number of militias, including one trained on one of its compounds, but not the size of the covert army.

    The book also reports that the United States has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and that he was on medication, but adds no details. Mr. Karzai’s mood swings have been a challenge for the Obama administration.

    As for Mr. Obama himself, the book describes a professorial president who assigned “homework” to advisers but bristled at what he saw as military commanders’ attempts to force him into a decision he was not yet comfortable with. Even after he agreed to send another 30,000 troops last winter, the Pentagon asked for another 4,500 “enablers” to support them.

    The president lost his poise, according to the book. “I’m done doing this!” he erupted.

    To ensure that the Pentagon did not reinterpret his decision, Mr. Obama dictated a six-page, single-space “terms sheet” explicitly laying out his troop order and its objectives, a document included in the book’s appendix.

    Mr. Obama’s struggle with the decision comes through in a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who asked if his deadline to begin withdrawal in July 2011 was firm. “I have to say that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

    Reporting was contributed by Julie Bosman from New York, and by Mark Mazzetti, Scott Shane, Brian Knowlton and Thom Shanker from Washington.
     
  5. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Obama groped for Afghan exit strategy: reports

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama groped for an exit strategy from the Afghan war last year amid fierce infighting among top aides and powerplays by the military for more troops, reports said Wednesday.

    Excerpts from a blockbuster new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward suggest that Obama, frustrated with the Pentagon as he sought to stop the war consuming his young presidency, finally dictated his own new six-page strategy.

    Woodward reports that the administration was besieged by warnings of possible terror attacks on US soil and reveals the CIA established a covert army in Afghanistan to hunt and kill Taliban fighters.

    Newspaper reports also say Woodward quotes Obama as saying the lesson from the September 11 strike in 2001 was that the United States could "absorb" a major attack, though he would do everything in his power to stop one.

    The Washington Post and New York Times obtained copies of the new book "Obama's Wars," due to be published Monday, just six weeks before crucial mid-term elections in which Democrats fear heavy losses.

    The book details hardball Washington politicking over Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan last year.

    Woodward, half of the Post duo that brought down president Richard Nixon over Watergate, is renowned for in-depth reporting on successive administrations, which can set media and public perceptions of a new president.

    His account is based on a lifetime of contacts in Washington's political and national security establishment and includes interviews with administration heavy hitters, including Obama.

    Senior officials Wednesday were already seeking to shape the narrative provoked by the book, saying it portrayed Obama as shrewd and strong leader.

    "The president comes across in the book ... as a commander in chief who is analytical, strategic, and decisive, with a broad and clear-eyed view of our national security and his role as president," a senior official told AFP.

    "It shines a light on his strong leadership and his commitment to finding the right strategy in Afghanistan," the official said on condition of anonymity.

    Several officials also argued that it was no secret that there was vigorous debate in the administration last year over the new war strategy, and as such, Woodward had broken little new ground.

    The book reports Obama flatly rejected a prolonged US nation building effort, and was determined to send a signal to the American people along those lines.

    "I'm not doing 10 years," he told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a late October 2009 meeting, Woodward writes, according to the Post.

    "I'm not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars."

    When Obama announced his troop surge in December, he also made clear that American soldiers would begin coming home in July 2011, a timeline that has caused intense debate ever since.

    "Everything we're doing has to be focused on how we're going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint," Obama is quoted as saying in the book, according to the Post, where Woodward worked for decades.

    "This needs to be a plan about how we're going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan," Obama said.

    The president rejected a Pentagon request for 40,000 troops, Woodward said and the Times reported that the famously cool president at times lost his composure as pressure built to make a decision.

    "I'm done doing this!" he exploded at one point, the Times reported.

    The book describes the sometimes personal tone of the debate among the sparring factions within the administration.

    Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as calling senior State Department Pakistan and Afghanistan envoy Richard Holbrooke as the "most egotistical bastard I've ever met."

    Meanwhile, General David Petraeus reportedly told an aide that he considered the president's senior adviser David Axelrod "a complete spin doctor."

    After sacking General Stanley McChrystal as top war commander over unguarded comments to Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year, Obama settled on Petraeus to take over the war -- and the new strategy.

    According to the excerpts, Obama appeared to base the promise of some troop withdrawals in July 2011, partly on domestic political support.

    "I have to say that," Obama told Republican Senator Lindsey Graham when asked about the date. "I can't let this be a war without end, and I can't lose the whole Democratic Party."

    Source


     
  6. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    What's the point of talking all this nonsense? His government just gave a $ 7.5 billion economic aid of which at least 70% is likely to go in military purchases. He should walk his talk sometimes at least.
     
  7. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    His administration & policy makers are divided on their plan as report says. It couldn't be nonsense but divided agenda among powerful persons.
     

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