Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bob Woodward exposes an administration divided over Afghanistan War strategy

Every President in recent history has had to grapple with the question: "How do we handle Bob Woodward?" George W. Bush joked during an interview with the famed Washington Post editor that his father, George H.W., wouldn't let Woodward near the Oval Office during his presidency. However, the Obama Administration has taken the same approach as his two most immediate predecessors by granting Woodward significant access to officials ranging from Biden, Clinton, and the president himself.

"Obama's War," a book Woodward has spent 18 months on, is slated for release next week, and aside from the inside-look at a supposedly dysfunctional West Wing, the New York Times' review says the book provides new insight into the Afghanistan War.

The book reports that U.S. intel has concluded that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is manic-depressive, and 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."

Like his last book, 2008's "The War Within," "Obama's War" is said to document the decision-making process going on in the White House, and how that process has played out on the Afghan battlefield. And just like last time, this book supposedly paints a picture ripe with dysfunction and infighting.  The Vice President allegedly called Richard C. Holbrooke, Obama's Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, "the most egotistical bastard I've ever met." And for Holbrooke's part, he is said to doubt the President's war strategy,  and is quoted as saying "it can't work."

The question now is how the Obama Administration plans to spin this book with an election on the horizon that has many democrats shaking in their boots. Woodward clearly brought his A-Game, but the ball is now in the court of the West Wing.

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