Woodward Book: Obama's Afghan War Infighting

Wednesday, 22 Sep 2010 09:23 AM

 

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President Barack Obama struggled to craft his Afghan war strategy amid infighting and fierce dissent at the White House and with Pentagon officials, according to media reports Wednesday on veteran reporter Bob Woodward's new book.

Extracts from the book "Obama's Wars" quoted in a Washington Post story said Obama rejected any U.S. effort for "long-term nation-building."

With access to administration officials and even Obama himself, Woodward paints a picture of a White House national security team consumed by dissension as the president sought a way to extricate the military from Afghanistan.

"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.

"It's in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room," Obama is reported to have said.

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

Obama decided in December on a surge of 30,000 troops to battle Afghan insurgents and set a July 2011 date to start an American withdrawal.

The president rejected a Pentagon request for 40,000 troops, Woodward said, chronicling Obama's meetings with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the months leading up to his December announcement.

"I'm not doing 10 years," he told Gates and Clinton in a late October 2009 meeting.

"I'm not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars," he is quoted as saying, according to the Post.

The deployment, accelerating the now nine-year war against Taliban fighters, brought the number of U.S. forces in the country to more than 100,000.

© AFP 2014

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