News / Asia

Book Says Obama Administration Divided On Afghan Strategy

'Obama's Wars' is a new book by Bob Woodward
'Obama's Wars' is a new book by Bob Woodward
Kent Klein

A new book says U.S. President Barack Obama's top advisers have had stronger disagreements on the Afghan war strategy than previously acknowledged.  Some high-ranking officials are said to have questioned whether the plan will succeed.  

Bob Woodward, an associate editor at the Washington Post, interviewed President Obama and his advisers about the process of deciding on a policy for the Afghan war.

Woodward's book Obama's Wars is to be released next Monday.  Excerpts were printed Wednesday in the Post and The New York Times.

The excerpts say Mr. Obama was calling for an exit strategy in Afghanistan, with no long-term nation-building.  They say military leaders only offered plans for deploying larger numbers of U.S. troops.

The president decided to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, fewer than the military had requested, and announced a deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July, 2011.

The U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, was quoted as saying the strategy would not work.

The excerpted accounts also detail deep personal differences between some administration officials.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs spoke with reporters aboard the presidential plane Wednesday.  He downplayed the divisions revealed in the excerpts.

"I think that the book portrays a thoughtful, vigorous policy process that led us to a strategy to get the best chance of achieving our objectives and goals in Afghanistan," said  Robert Gibbs.

Over several months, Mr. Obama held numerous meetings with his national security advisers to discuss possible Afghan strategies.

Gibbs said the fact that the advisers had disagreements should not be a surprise.

"I cannot imagine that any option that the president looked at would not have engendered some debate," he said. "That is the nature of this process.  The process was, over the course of 12 or 13 meetings, a pretty public one."

A Pentagon spokesman said he had not read the book, and would not comment on press accounts.  He said, however, the Defense Department is fully focused on implementing the president's strategy in Afghanistan.  

According to the Washington Post, the book also reports that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has a 3,000-member paramilitary army consisting mostly of Afghans.  U.S. officials Wednesday confirmed the existence of that force.

The Associated Press quotes a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai as denying an allegation in another excerpt that the Afghan leader has been diagnosed with manic depression.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid