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In Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward provides the most intimate and sweeping portrait yet of the young president as commander in chief. Drawing on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of interviews with most of the key players, including the president, Woodward tells the inside story of Obama making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret campaign in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism.    

At the core of Obama’s Wars is the unsettled division between the civilian leadership in the White House and the United States military as the president is thwarted in his efforts to craft an exit plan for the Afghanistan War.   

 “So what’s my option?” the president asked his war cabinet, seeking alternatives to the Afghanistan commander’s request for 40,000 more troops in late 2009.  “You have essentially given me one option. ...It’s unacceptable.”  

 “Well,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates finally said, “Mr. President, I think we owe you that option.”   

It never came. An untamed Vice President Joe Biden pushes relentlessly to limit the military mission and avoid another Vietnam. The vice president frantically sent half a dozen handwritten memos by secure fax to Obama on the eve of the final troop decision.   

President Obama’s ordering a surge of 30,000 troops and pledging to start withdrawing U.S. forces by July 2011 did not end the skirmishing.   

General David Petraeus, the new Afghanistan commander, thinks time can be added to the clock if he shows progress.  “I don’t think you win this war,” Petraeus said privately.  “This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”   

Hovering over this debate is the possibility of another terrorist attack in the United States. The White House led a secret exercise showing how unprepared the government is if terrorists set off a nuclear bomb in an American city—which Obama told Woodward is at the top of the list of what he worries about all the time.   

Verbatim quotes from secret debates and White House strategy sessions—and firsthand accounts of the thoughts and concerns of the president, his war council and his generals—reveal a government in conflict, often consumed with nasty infighting and fundamental disputes.   

Woodward has discovered how the Obama White House really works, showing that even more tough decisions lie ahead for the cerebral and engaged president.   

Obama’s Wars offers the reader a stunning, you-are-there account of the president, his White House aides, military leaders, diplomats and intelligence chiefs in this time of turmoil and danger.

Topics: Presidents, War, Military, American Government, Politics, Barack Obama, American Foreign Policy, Terrorism, The Middle East, Diplomacy, American History, Iraq War, Government, 2000s, Informative, Investigative Journalism, Based on a True Story, and American Author

Published: Simon & Schuster on Sep 27, 2010
ISBN: 9781439172513
List price: $13.99
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This book illustrates the push and pull between politicians and the military in the early part of the Obama administration regarding the approach in Afghanistan. Interesting to note that most of the generals discussed and other key players are no longer employed by the government. read more
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Actually should be called "Obama's Meetings". And altough the book has "Wars" in the title, it's more skewed toward the wars within his own administration, and wars between his chosen advisors and the Military Generals, but this book is all about Afghanistan/Pakistan and the various meetings upon meetings talking about how to fix that war. One of the more disturbing elements of the book, is given the importance of the CIA in today's multi front war, Obama refuses to meet with the CIA director during his transition despite Michael Hayden's repeated attempts, and Hayden finds out about his firing on television, rather than in person from Obama. Another is how Obama's team worries so much about a potential 2012 Presidential run from Gen. David Petraeus that they work to freeze him out and keep key decisions from him so he can't be seen as taking credit. Came away from this book a little more worried about the direction of my country, and at the advice the Commander in Chief gets from his advisors. read more
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This book illustrates the push and pull between politicians and the military in the early part of the Obama administration regarding the approach in Afghanistan. Interesting to note that most of the generals discussed and other key players are no longer employed by the government.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Bravo
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Actually should be called "Obama's Meetings". And altough the book has "Wars" in the title, it's more skewed toward the wars within his own administration, and wars between his chosen advisors and the Military Generals, but this book is all about Afghanistan/Pakistan and the various meetings upon meetings talking about how to fix that war. One of the more disturbing elements of the book, is given the importance of the CIA in today's multi front war, Obama refuses to meet with the CIA director during his transition despite Michael Hayden's repeated attempts, and Hayden finds out about his firing on television, rather than in person from Obama. Another is how Obama's team worries so much about a potential 2012 Presidential run from Gen. David Petraeus that they work to freeze him out and keep key decisions from him so he can't be seen as taking credit. Came away from this book a little more worried about the direction of my country, and at the advice the Commander in Chief gets from his advisors. 
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Woodward's book was interesting in it shows the thought process of conducting a war. The book starts out interesting- ends well but the painful middle was full of White House indecision. Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower made a speech in the late 1950 about the "industrial-military complex." It is alive and well in Woodward's book. It shows the power of David Petraius, Admiral Mullen, and Bob Gates.
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Even a Republican can find some empathy for the President. He seeks counsel from his advisors, they are reluctant to say anything less than full support, and then they go about leaking what they don't like. One could get quite angry with the Military as presented in this book. On the other hand, what can one say about advisors that don't advise? I've placed a lot of trust in Mr Woodward in reading this book. I hope I don't later regret that trust.
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a big bore. good snooze material.
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