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  • Woodward Revelations Show Obama’s Weakness on National Security

    Today’s front-page Washington Post story on Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, scheduled for release next week, provides disturbing revelations about President Obama’s views on terrorism and his lack of commitment to securing Afghanistan. The book apparently details how Obama is desperately seeking to get out of the war in Afghanistan, regardless of the consequences for U.S. national security, and is quoted as telling Woodward, “We can absorb a terrorist attack.”

    The article reveals that during the drawn-out Afghanistan strategy review last fall, Obama was more interested in mapping out an exit plan than in achieving U.S. goals in the region that would help avert another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It is now clear that the U.S. military has been asked to achieve its goals in Afghanistan without the level of troops they requested and in an unrealistic timeframe. General Petraeus will continue to seek gains in Afghanistan with the resources at hand, but will likely balk at any suggestion of a major drawdown of U.S. troops next summer.

    The article does not spell out why President Obama is so loath to live up to his campaign calls for strengthening U.S. commitment to stabilizing Afghanistan. Any argument that the U.S. military is over-stretched has been blunted by the draw-down of troops in Iraq, which is providing breathing space for the U.S. military to sustain a long-term commitment to Afghanistan. So one reason for his ambivalence may be a desire to avoid being viewed as a “war-time” president and instead make his mark through a broad-based domestic agenda.

    The tragedy is by under-resourcing and de-prioritizing the Afghanistan war, Obama is sacrificing crucial U.S. national security interests and leaving the American people more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks. An early exit from Afghanistan would shore up al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorists and once again provide them with a safe-haven from which to conduct their deadly attacks against the U.S. and other nations.

    Woodward’s book shows President Obama is deeply at odds with his military leadership over the way forward in Afghanistan. Unless a new page is turned in the Afghanistan war effort, these divisions will increasingly demoralize U.S. troops and deepen the American public’s confusion and frustration with the war. To avoid this disastrous situation, the Obama administration could follow through with the suggestion of respected Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf to establish a bipartisan, non-government Afghanistan-Pakistan study group, along the lines of the Iraq study group. This kind of group would have the advantage of providing recommendations that are untainted by political calculations and premised only on U.S. national security interests. The establishment and work of such a group could help restore an elevated debate on what exactly we are trying to achieve in the region and how best to do so.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Woodward Revelations Show Obama’s Weakness on National Security

    1. Bethany, Washington says:

      Frightening that our President is so blase about an attack on American soil that would lead to the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Americans.

    2. Stephanie, MI says:

      While I was as shocked as anyone to read of Woodward's revelations about the leadership at the top, I'm quite intimately familiar with what is happening with troops on the ground.

      It is a lie that there is any troop 'draw-down' in Iraq. New COMBAT soldiers are being deployed continually to Iraq – there has been NO CHANGE there. Only the name of their assignment has changed. Because the administration wanted to brag about this false premise that things are coming to a close in Iraq, it actually caused insurgencies (and subsequent troop deaths) to RISE in the past few weeks! All this did was encourage the enemies, which still reside in Iraq after 7 years!

      The REAL problem in Afghanistan is not just that the stated mission of 'winning the hearts and minds' never includes actually winning, it's the horrifying Rules of Engagement. Emphasis on preservation of civilians takes precedence over preservation of the lives of our troops. This started with Bush and Obama has made it 10 times worse.

      RoE is a DISASTER.


    3. dom youngross says:

      There are many reasons to dislike Obama but face the facts: Afghanistan would have been just as no-win for McCain, had he won in 2008. And Pakistan would have double-dealed just as much under a McCain presidency.

    4. Cldye Stoltenberg, W says:

      "Stabilizing" Afghanistan won't thwart another terrorist attack on the US. US support for the Mujahideen against Soviet forces provided the foundation for the basic instability which has characterized Afghanistan since the Soviet Union withdrew in 1989. What would "stabilizing" Afghanistan accomplish, exactly? It's difficult to conceive that it could be lasting, in any event. Moreover, to use the present tense in describing the "under-resourcing and de-prioritizing of the Afghanistan War" is more than a little disingenuous, That started with the US invasion of Iraq.

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