Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obama's Way

Who talks to Bob Woodward? Everybody, evidently. Last September, he got the leak of the Pentagon memo that ignited President Obama's agonized reappraisal of his Afghanistan policy. Now his 16th book lays bare the reappraisal itself, including the day Obama passed out his own six-page war strategy memo:

Obama kept asking for "an exit plan" to go along with any further troop commitment, and is shown growing increasingly frustrated with the military hierarchy for not providing one. At one strategy session, the president waved a memo from the Office of Management and Budget, which put a price tag of $889 billion over 10 years on the military's open-ended approach.

In the end, Obama essentially designed his own strategy for the 30,000 troops, which some aides considered a compromise between the military command's request for 40,000 and Biden's relentless efforts to limit the escalation to 20,000 as part of a "hybrid option" that he had developed with Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In a dramatic scene at the White House on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, Obama summoned the national security team to outline his decision and distribute his six-page terms sheet. He went around the room, one by one, asking each participant whether he or she had any objections - to "say so now," Woodward reports.

You'll get chills reading Obama say how worried he is about a nuclear attack by terrorists.

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