Obama Wars Book Review

Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews Rory Cooper, director of Strategic Communications for The Heritage Foundation, discusses the excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars”.

Georgene: Reading the early excerpts of the book, “Obama’s Wars”, paints an unflattering picture of the president’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But from what I see, very little is said about Iraq.

Rory: That’s right, we have to put all of these snippets we are getting in context. We don’t know what the entire book says, but what we are seeing out of the parts that have been released is very disturbing.  President Obama appears to have a very frightening and cavalier approach to national security. Above all, he demonstrates in the clips that I have seen, he puts party politics ahead national security decisions. And that’s disturbing for most Americans that think these type of issues rise above politics once your in the Oval Office.

Georgene: One of the points that make is these excerpts seem to indicate that our Commander in Chief is cavalier when it comes to national security and that his notion that our nation will ultimately absorb terrorist attacks rather than emphasizing the absolute necessity in preventing them is certainly imposes some serious questions in this area.

Rory: It’s just the wrong language to be using when talking about attacks on our homeland. For one thing, can you imagine the President saying this in the face of a victim of 9/11?  And basically saying that 9/11 was absorbed and that we could handle another attack of that magnitude.  It also ignores the fact that the next attack on the U.S. might not be like 9/11 but ten times worse. If it’s a radiological or nuclear attack, is that something that Americans can absorb?

Georgene: To put it in context, Obama said that we are going to do whatever we can to prevent this from happening, but if it does, we can absorb it.  Is there a link between his comment that we can absorb it and his national security policy?

Rory: There’s no question in my mind that the President will do whatever it takes to avoid another attack. But it’s like getting on a plane and the pilot saying, “Listen I’m going to do my best to not crash this plane but if it does crash, then we’ll try and absorb it.” It’s not going to give the passengers the most confidence.  Americans need confidence that their leaders are taking national security seriously….This is a growing trend in them not taking national security as seriously as we wish that they would.

Georgene: This is a quote from the Washington Post, that published an excerpt from Bob Woodward’s book, “President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisors for an exit plan that they never gave him. Frustrated with his military commanders who consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops so Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a six page document limiting U.S. involvement. He made suggestions of the things that he is unwilling to do, he doesn’t want to see this thing stretch out for a period of time. He doesn’t want to see a lot of money spent on this and he doesn’t want to lose the democrat party.”

Rory: I do not believe that military service is a prerequisite for being the President of the United States but it is certainly disconcerting when you read a story of the President ignoring the advice of his military advisors when his life experience is of a community organizer, basically saying I’m going to create my own military strategy based on my limited experience that ignores the troops you’re asking for and I’m going to set a withdrawal date so I can satisfy the liberal base of the democratic party and that is the sole reason I am doing this. I want a President who puts all of those issues of party politics above protecting our troops overseas.  Right now we are obviously implementing a strategy in Afghanistan that is based off the next election and not success and victory.

Georgene: According to the Washington Post, Woodward’s book portrays the President and the White House as barraged by the warnings of the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty of preventing them during an interview with Woodward in July, the President said, “we can absorb another attack, we’ll do everything can to prevent them, but then he refers to 9/11 and how we absorbed that attack. Does it seem  that there’s a connection between what’s going on in Afghanistan and our national security?

Rory: He has taken some steps, he did increase the troop levels…he voted against the Iraq surge…The President hasn’t done everything poorly in the area of national security.  The problem is that his rhetoric has not matched the actions of our troops and our military advisors….You have a political acumen that is taking over the West Wing when Americans just want to have confidence that national security and the war in Afghanistan are something they don’t have to worry about.

Georgene: Is it surprising to learn that there are broad disagreements among the cabinet?

Rory: No, of course not. If there was no disagreement in the cabinet, then the President wouldn’t be an effective leader. You need to surround yourself with different opinions so the President can have all of the views and make the right decision.  What you don’t need to do is bring in a investigative reporter into that conversation and demonstrate to Americans and our enemies that there is disagreement and disarray. You have those discussions in private, the President makes a decision and then leave the history books for after the President has left office.

Georgene: One of the points Woodward makes is that the President and his advisors have Vietnam conflict very much in their mind as they are prosecuting this war.  You have on one hand, the Vice President that suggested that we need 10,000 troops, you have the military advisors who say you need 40,000 troops to move forward.  Very reluctant to refer to victory to even refer to the enemy by name.  These are somewhat disturbing but very telling aspects of how the administration is prosecuting the war.

Rory: Yes, the troops in Afghanistan are doing a great job, I do believe that the military leaders on the ground are going to be able to salvage a victory out of all of this strategy. But what I don’t think is that the President has his eye on the prize. We need to focus the administration on the two things that matter to American most: the economy and national security.

Georgene: During the campaign Obama promised to extract the U.S. from Iraq and focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Any disclosures that indicate that Pakistan is part of the overall strategy?

Rory: What we have seen from the excerpts is that the President’s advisors have less than flattering things to say about the Af-Pak partnership and the U.S./Pakistan partnership. That make it a little harder to create these coalitions that we need to create to be able to go into Pakistan when the enemy is hiding behind the border.  Which goes back to the point, why do you invite investigative reporters into the Oval Office when your in a war…Bob Woodward has a long track record of getting this type of access but I think the White House should have thought twice about this one.

Georgene: Why would the White House give Bob Woodward that type of access?

Rory: I think that they know that Woodward has a lot of experience with previous presidents and they know that they can shape the book how they would like and Woodward is more likely to tell both sides of the story, rather than just one. It’s shortsighted because you basically end up with a manual for our enemies and allies to see how are deliberations are going and where are weaknesses are and where the President really stands on these issues.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.