22 September 2010

Wars Overseas, Wars in Congress, Wars in White House, New Book: Obamas Wars

Wars overseas, wars in Congress and wars in the White House are why our government is not working.

From Denny: Were there really any surprises here? For the past 20 months the President and his staff have argued about the Iraq and Afghan Wars. OK, debate is always a good idea but it seems they are as mired as the Army generals running the wars. Come on, guys, after 7 years for one and 9 years for the other, isn't it about time to call it quits? You have worn out the goodwill of the public and our wallets.

"Obama's Wars" by veteran journalist Bob Woodward portrays a deeply divided White House. Few believed this troop surge would work. Obama wanted faster results from his generals. The generals do what generals do: Tell everyone else they are stupid, we know what we are doing and don't question us.

It turns out that originally Obama did not want to escalate in Afghanistan because he rightly felt he only had two years with the American public and then they would want out of the country. Clearly, the President desired an exit strategy. Guess the Taliban surge changed that idea. When he set a timetable for withdrawal Obama said he had to do it: "I can't lose the whole Democratic Party."

Woodward also stated that the CIA is running an all-Afghan 3,000 strong paramilitary group in Afghanistan to hunt down the Taliban and other al-Qaida targets. It was confirmed today by the usual anonymous sources.

A couple of favorite quotes from the book:

Vice President Biden, known for his spicy candor, called former Clinton administration Richard Holbrooke "the most egotistical bastard I've ever met." Agreed. How a guy with that much bad attitude could ever make it as a diplomat is a mystery.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, fussed about his vice chairman, Gen. James Cartwright, for "going behind his back." Control freak general.

Cartwright blew off Mullen because he "wasn't a war fighter." Childish general who thinks he doesn't have to respect anyone.

Gen. David Petraeus, the new Afghanistan commander, remarked he disliked talking with David Axelrod, the president's senior adviser, because he was "a complete spin doctor." Agreed; the guy is totally tone deaf, ineffective and a lousy choice for a senior advisor when all his decisions have been disastrous.

More in house fighting? Adm. Dennis Blair, then the national intelligence director, duked it out with Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, and John Brennan, the counter-terrorism adviser. Guess the guy likes overwhelming odds.

Woodward also reported about there was intelligence depicting Afghan President Hamid Karzai was diagosed as manic-depressive and on medication. In a country like that where you sweat out staying alive from minute to minute who wouldn't be on meds? Of course, the Karzai team denies it.

Let's hope President Obama changes out a number of his team in favor of people who will work together to solve problems instead of staking out the usual turf wars. Either that or hire a group of referees because it looks like they are going to need them.

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