Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
You can help

Woodward, Obama & Afghanistan

Posted by on September 22nd, 2010

From our partners at

By Steve Hynd

The main thrust of Bob Woodward's new book "Obama's War" is that powerful men bicker and maneuver to see which of them can become even more powerful. Not exactly a shocker and not all that different from all of Woodward's other books. So what's new about this stuff? Despite the Drudge red highlighter leading most rightwing blogs, Pavlov-style, to concentrate on Obama's (correct) assertion that "we can absorb a terrorist attack", it's not exactly in the same league as a public exhortation to "bring it on".

Well, the Devil's in the details. In between the tales of surge-sceptical senior staff, of back-biting and knives in the back – which the internets have already brought us if not in quite so much embarassing detail – there are thing's like Hamid Karzai's alleged manic depression – Woodward quotes Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador, as saying, "He's on his meds, he's off his meds" or the 3,000 strong private army of local proxies the CIA has amassed. These are new details which throw into stark relief the legitimacy challenge the US faces as an occupying power and add to the body of evidence which calls into question the entire Petraeus/Obama strategy.

One of Woodward's key quotes, one that the Republican party will be snipping to suit their purposes, runs like this:

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."

The "I can't let this be a war without end" part, needless to say, will not appear in any of the horrified recountings of this.  But while Woodward talks about Petraeus and Obama butting heads, the internets have already taken us past that – it's so 2009. It's clear from more up-to-date reporting, as Robert Dreyfuss points out, that they are now "joined at the hip" and that the December review will just be a "rubber-stamp approval of General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency scheme."

Obama has already decided that Petraeus' war without end is the way to go, perhaps because he believes he won't lose the whole Democratic Party if he let's Petraeus take the lead and hides behind the Teflon General. It's up to those of us who believe that would be the very worse course of action for America and Afghanistan to tell him that it'd be the very worse course for Obama's political future too.

Share this:

to “Woodward, Obama & Afghanistan”

  1. Hey! How Can You Not care Welcomed shoulder bags ?

  2. Tummy Diet says:

    I really don't like war. Stop war any more.

Peacemakers take action to lead the charge to end the war. Join forces with the over 100,000 people who make a difference.


Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker

Bronze Telly Award
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.


For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at:

Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.

Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232