Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Obama's wars

Bob Woodward's new book is due to hit the shelves next week.  The advance word is that it is much like his previous books: the line is blurry between the parts that someone specifically told Bob and the parts that Bob made up to form a narrative.

This article outlines a few of the bombshells in this book.  At first glance it seems pretty damning.  Certainly the egotistical infighting among the staff is not what we were lead to believe we would get from this administration.  But it only shows that this administration is much like all of the previous ones.

In my mind the biggest two points are:
* Obama is laser-focused on getting out of Afghanistan.
* Obama would rather be seen as losing the war in Afghanistan than stay and finish it.

I disagree with him.  But that is what he promised he would do during the campaign.  I must admit that I am surprised that he is actually committed to that course--that it wasn't just an empty campaign promise.  I do think that this demonstrates one of the biggest weaknesses of this administration: they set their goals and made their campaign promises without any plan for how they would actually accomplish any of it.  So they are genuinely surprised when there is no acceptable path to their goals.

I admire the fact that he is trying hard to accomplish his stated goal--withdrawal from Afghanistan.  But I wish he would have asked someone if it was possible before he set that goal.  And when he found out that it wasn't possible, I wish he would have chosen a goal that he could accomplish.  In my mind, that will be the legacy of this administration.

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