"We Can Absorb a Terrorist Attack"
Famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward has written a new book, "Obama's Wars", which offers a revealing and disturbing portrait of our Commander in Chief and his administration. Among the revelations:
- The Obama Administration has been bombarded with warnings about possible terrorist attacks on U.S. soil – and is surprised by the difficulty of defending against them.
- In one interview, the President told Woodward, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever... we absorbed it and we are stronger."
- A classified exercise earlier this year revealed the government to be dreadfully unprepared for a nuclear terrorist attack in the U.S.
- President Obama was intensely focused on finding a way out of the Afghan war last year.
- Obama was frustrated because none of the military options offered to him by his commanders involved reducing troop levels.
- Obama ended up designing his own strategy (involving 30,000 troops) with the goal of limiting U.S. involvement.
- Obama's plan takes the odd step of explicitly telling the military what it is not supposed to do.
- The president told General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates: "In 2010, we will not be having a conversation about how to do more. I will not want to hear, 'We're doing fine, Mr. President, but we'd be better if we just do more.' We're not going to be having a conversation about how to change [the mission] . . . unless we're talking about how to draw down faster than anticipated in 2011."
- Obama says he doesn't think about the Afghan war in "classic" terms of the U.S. winning or losing. "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?"
- Relations between the White House and the Pentagon are tense. Woodward quotes one national security adviser as referring to Obama's political aides as "the water bugs," the "Politburo," the "Mafia," or the "campaign set."
- General Petraeus feels shut out by Obama. Petraeus told one aide that in his opinion Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod is "a complete spin doctor."
- Obama continues to keep in place 14 intelligence orders, or findings, issued by George W. Bush. They are the legal basis for the CIA's covert operations.
- U.S. intelligence reports say Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a manic depressive. According to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, "He's on his meds, he's off his meds."
Think we're out of the woods, and that 9/11 is nothing more than a distant memory? Think the war on terror is overblown? Think again.
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