• arlewill

    Let me add one more thing here. There were more air strikes/done attacks against the terrorist under this President than the last one.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:48 p.m.

  • arlewill

    Waiting for the troop build up was the right thing to do. Some of the troops was fresh off from Iraq before going to Afghanistan. Second Sam Houston had done the same thing by waiting. Speaking about WWII, you need to learn your history……….American and Allied plans was to knock Germany and Italy first then Japan. General Mc Arthur was complaining about the lack of resources the Pacific Theater was getting.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:44 p.m.

  • jbj

    Hillary certainly had her criticism but it was not about ideology; it was about her statements i.e. Coming under fire in Bosnia and not dropping out of the race with Obama because there might be another RFK moment....

    Again, I don't know the people you're talking about but usually it's about bomb throwers and the you have to admit most come from the right; these days.... Rachel Maddow takes her hits from republicans and lobbyist.

    I think people hold Kathleen Parker, Peggy Noonan, and Nikki Haley in high regard because they have earned it, so I disagree that people are harder on women in general.... I have often said that we need more women in office because they seldom get involved in the scandals.

    September 24, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.

  • Hello arlewill

    I closed my eyes and thought about your comparison of WWII, to president Obama's (I presume)dithering with his decision on escalating the war in Afghanistan.. I didn't see the comparison..

    I remember former vice President Cheney being upset over Obama's 3 month time-frame but if he would have let the weapon inspectors have three more months; we might have saved 4000 plus lives.... General Petraeus said he was fine with the amount of time it took to come to a decision. I imagine it was because we weren't going to send all 30,000 troops at one time, they had to build some new facilities to accommodate more troops and some of them would come from Iraq, after we made our exit; except for 50,000 troops.... The Bush administration ignored Afghanistan for five years.

    September 24, 2010 at 8:47 a.m.

  • Mike
    You are right. This was quite a decision for our President. I wonder what folks would have thought in WWII if our President took three months to make a decision.

    September 23, 2010 at 7:38 p.m.

  • Hilary had her hard knocks too, if I remember correctly. She has had a little more time to adjust since the staying home and baking cookies comment. I do think people are harder on the conservative women, but certainly on women in general.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:33 p.m.

  • jbj

    The president United States is always open to criticism and you'd done little more than your fair share but I also reserve the right to call you on it.... Turnabout is fair play.

    Obama was not talking about his liberal base; he was talking about the entire democratic party. Go back and look at the words. Just because he talked about the politics does not mean that he was not thinking of the troops. I imagine in those 9 meetings; many subjects were brought up that some people will think is self serving and petty.... When I read the entire book, I will put in what I've learned from Woodward's book with some other sources I have read and; and it's likely to influence my opinion.

    I think Hillary would be an excellent choice for vice president because although we're in the 21st century; Obama would be chastised for mocking someone like Sarah Palin... Right now, Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and Liz Cheney can run down the president on a daily basis' without recourse.... Hillary Clinton wouldn't think twice about retaliating with facts and expertise. She could make them look like the dumb people they really are.

    September 23, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

  • I think Hilary would be a good bet, too. Colin Powell is out of the loop for me, although I have liked him in the past.

    I guess I am not supposed to mention what I believe to be a weakness in this president, even tho it is fair game to mention other presidents and their weaknesses. But going ahead, I believe it was Obama himself whose comment opened it up to being about a liberal base. What the soldiers at war are thinking of is not the liberal base, it is probably about surviving and doing their jobs.

    I have given Obama credit when it is earned, in my opinion. That is all this is about, processing info and our opinions.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:46 p.m.

  • Writein
    Democrats gave up on Arthur Davis, that's why he lost by 24 points in the governor's race.

    I agree with Chuck Hagel.

    I don't know anything about Gabreelle Gifford's except that her husband is an astronaut but what makes a congresswoman without any real experience more appealing than someone who knows the ropes?Remember, if the military does not respect you; you got built in problems.

    Jon Tester hasn't done much in the senate but like governor Schweitzer I would rather keep them in their red states where the party is pretty weak.

    I haven't heard any names being thrown around yet; who knows?

    September 23, 2010 at 2:37 p.m.

  • Mike.

    New Blood or a new playbook is need. Someone like Gabreelle Giffords (D AZ), Arthur Davis (D Miss) Jon Tester (D, Montana), my favorite Chuck Hagel (R-Neb; a unity ticket) and my other favorite Gov. Brian Schweitzer ( D-Mon).

    September 23, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.

  • Writein

    I already knew that (Colin Powell 17 years being enough) but Sam Nunn would not be a good candidate right now because he would be against repealing DADT and he is not in the loop of what we're doing today... I don't think Sam Nunn would follow the defense costs cutting measures implemented by secretary Gates.

    Colin Powell is too old and he wouldn't be strong on the domestic issues... With the documents that were released today on Iraq; he would be a drag on the ticket, having to answer questions about his testimony to the United Nations.... Besides, normally you would want someone that would take up the mantle in 2016.... Hillary would be a better choice in my opinion.

    That's what opinions are about... Everyone has one.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:38 p.m.

  • Mike.

    Seventeen years? I think that is enough time. I think Senator Sam Nunn should his Sec of Defense. I would like to see Colin Powell as Obama's Vice President.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.

  • jbj

    Maybe it's because you said"right now our children are there fighting for a cause that is not in any way related to offending or not offending a liberal democratic base."...... Out of all that was written the; you had to find something to criticize the president; as always.

    When President Johnson was making a decision on the civil rights legislation; he said he would lose the south for a long time.... That's reality, wars and domestic decisions involve politics. President Bush would not have stubbornly " stayed the course" without his republican representatives behind him. Today,the government archives just released some documents that proved the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq from day one without any thinking about the children. I already knew this because I had already read several books on Iraq and the Senate Intelligence Committee Phase I & II had already confirmed it.... That was about Dick Cheney Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush(for being a weak president) and not standing up to those two.

    I don't live in an " Alice in Wonderland World," that's why I look forward to books by Woodward and others... It gives me an insight that the " pie in the sky" sound bites and talking points avoid.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:26 p.m.

  • Writein

    If you would have read the last sentence of the first paragraph of this blog where I stated "The White House and the people involved in the book are not the denying the contents of the book ." He names, names as he has always done.... He has written similar books about the Bush administration where he gives sources.... The book would be uninteresting without names and sources; he certainly knows that.

    Not that it matters but Colin Powell last military position was chairman of joint chiefs of staff in 1993... That's 17 years... What's the time frame?

    September 23, 2010 at 1:11 p.m.

  • Mike, how can you say I am making this about a liberal base? Or to rephrase, how can you say "I" am making this about a liberal base? Who is making this about a liberal base? Think about it.

    I am just reading this review of a book neither of us has read, and you quoted someone who quoted our President as saying he does not want to lose the entire Democratic party.

    If we send our children off to defend our country, I would like the Commander in chief of the system to at least focus on their jobs. Their goals. Not his. This is not about him.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:49 p.m.

  • Mike.

    A veteran had to have a “X” amount of years out of the military to be Secretary of Defense. General Powell have at least 3 or 4 more years, if I am correct. Bob Woodward sources is the problem. Would you believe a person or a book with “unnamed” sources?

    September 23, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.

  • Waywardwind

    Perhaps I was wrong as I continue to read dips and drabs of what the Washington Post is leaking... It seems the president is making decisions becuase Obama concluded that no mission in Afghanistan could be successful without attacking the al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens operating with impunity in Pakistan's remote tribal regions. And the Vietnam conflict - does figure prominently in the minds of Obama and his advisers. Vice President Biden warned Obama that a major escalation would mean "we're locked into Vietnam.

    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.

    The president is quoted as telling Mullen, Petraeus and Gates: "In 2010, we will not be having a conversation about how to do more. I will not want to hear, 'We're doing fine, Mr. President, but we'd be better if we just do more.' We're not going to be having a conversation about how to change [the mission] . . . unless we're talking about how to draw down faster than anticipated in 2011."

    Petraeus took Obama's decision as a personal repudiation, Woodward writes. Petraeus continued to believe that a "protect-the-Afghan-people" counterinsurgency was the best plan. When the president tapped Petraeus this year to replace McChrystal as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus found himself in charge of making Obama's more limited strategy a success.

    Woodward quotes Petraeus as saying, "You have to recognize also that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. It's a little bit like Iraq, actually. . . . Yes, there has been enormous progress in Iraq. But there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, and you have to stay vigilant. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives."

    But if you are interested and want to read more than the cut & paste I provided.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:59 a.m.

  • It with a decision that had to be made but perhaps the organization could have use a lot more tact. The Dallas Cowboy organization and fans never forgot Tom landry, they erected a statue, put his name on the ring of honor, and have honored his name on many occasions. It was the same way when Nolan Ryan was shown the door..... I was angry for while but now with all the free agencies, coaching changes, and new ownership, I have become accustomed to professional sports being a business.i.e. When Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman were in trade talks; I wanted to know what the Astros were gonna get in return.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:17 a.m.

  • Mike - Dallas lost me as a fan after they did what they did to Tom Landry........

    September 23, 2010 at 10:03 a.m.

  • That's the great description of those who panic and those who know there will be a tomorrow.

    As for the Cowboys, I believe they still have about 14 games to play and they are only one game out in their division..... I believe seven losses will still get you a play -off spot. It's better to have the talent and make adjustments , than have no talent, where adjustments won't matter.

    I was listening to a commentator last night who reminded me that President Ronald Reagan's advisers were telling him to reign in his policies because he had a low approval rating, lost a lot of seats in the house, and unemployment was up.... President Reagan didn't panic and was rewarded with two terms..... The gloom and doomsayers that are making predictions about this president after 19 months in office are equivalent to those Cowboys fans that are panicking.

    September 23, 2010 at 10 a.m.

  • Waywardwind

    President Obama does not operate in a vacuum and the book does not imply that he is micro-managing... He is very intelligent and is able to grasp what several military advisers, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are telling him. I think people assume because you don't have any military experience, you're not able to tell when someone is lying to you, or is not giving you good advice. You have to be able to look at the whole picture but I'm not disagreeing with you because I don't think the president shouldn't sent 30,000 additional troops but I do think we still owe Iraq for destroying it without just cause; although some will say it wasn't exactly a thriving country when we invaded.i.e. John McCain certainly has military experience but he would've and is still calling for an open ended occupation.

    Your right but I still think there will always be mistakes by commanders on the ground and the civilian authorities; when it comes to war. Most of us like to think that the military commanders are always right and the civilian bosses are always wrong.... You can take it to the workplace and that same feeling is prevalent...... Of course I'm not saying that president Obama is or ever will be a great general but that's not his job; he needs to have command presence and be able to tell fact from fiction.

    September 23, 2010 at 9:50 a.m.

  • KyleC - No. More like the Dallas Cowboys.... You can have all the talent to win, however, if you let Jerry run the team you fail...

    September 23, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.

  • Mike...I fully understand the President is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and that Congress controls the funding. That's NOT what I was referring to. LBJ and McNamara would get together and decide on specific targets for Air Force and Navy bombers AS WELL AS specific routes for the planes. Gee, what a surprise that the North Vietnamese situated AAA and SAM defenses along the routes that we used time after time. We lost a LOT of planes and crews to those decisions that should have been made by the military commanders. There was an interesting rule (from the White House) that NVAF planes could be engaged in the air, but could NOT be attacked if found on the ground! Again, we lost planes and crews.

    What I'm saying is that the president should either let the military commanders do what they are supposed to do -- remember, Obama has NO military training or experience -- or he should pull us out. He doesn't know how to use armed forces and his SECDEF is mainly interested in keeping his job.. (And before you say it, I'll be the first to admit that I don't know how to use armed forces either. But I do know what I don't know.) It doesn't have anything to do with being anti-Obama or pro-military. If Petraeus wants to stay there another decade, he's a fool who should be removed. We can't afford the money OR the blood that would cost. I disagree -- respectfully -- that we have an obligation to rebuild either of those countries. We're BROKE, Mike. We can't afford it. And, we'll never get those people to like us, so I don't think it's worth the effort to try. This is another of those times we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    September 23, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.

  • jbj
    Leave it to you to make this blog about a liberal base.
    In 2006 the democrats joined by the independents thew out the GOP who wanted to stay the course.

    President Obama was talking about an unpopular war that will cause him to lose the whole democratic party if he were to continue to stay the course of spending money and losing lives in a country that is light years away from being able or wanting to defend themselves from the Taliban. He goes on to say that he realizes that only 50 members of al Qaeda are in Afghanistan and about 400 are in Pakistan.... As a book implies the pentagon, White House, and the military commanders in Afghanistan have differences of the path forward.... The president thinks we have a two year window,so that is what he's giving the military generals' in the field and in December of this year, they will look at the situation and develop a plan to go forward.

    War decisions are made at all levels because the secretary of state has to keep heads of states informed of our actions, secretary of defense has to make sure we have the equipment and personnel available worldwide(not only in Iraq & Afganistan) Congress has to keep a check on the finances and the president is kept abreast of all those decisions....i.e. When we had Bin Laden cornered in Bora Bora; it was a civilian decision not to send in more American troops to take him out, as it was in the Clinton administration when the CIA had Bin laden in their sights but the civilian authorities called it off...... Military commanders have been known to exaggerate to get their wishes; it takes civilian authorities and former military commanders to sort it all out.

    September 23, 2010 at 8:56 a.m.

  • "Civilian authorities will always be in charge of a military(not for strategic planning in the battlefield)."

    Battlefield decisions are tactical not strategic. Civilian authorities have control of all strategic decisions and like to dabble in tactical decisions as Johnson did in Vietnam

    Petraeus, probably does not care about the cost because he knows the sacrifice the troops are making - it's hard to tell men to go into battle because we're here to buy a little time so we can leave as soon as possible. You fight to win or you get out that is a strategic decision.

    September 23, 2010 at 8:46 a.m.

  • Writein
    You you said"It is unlawful for General Colin Powell to be Secretary of Defense according to a post WWII military law. ".....: Colin Powell is a civilian and as was former veteran Donald Rumsfeld.... He may be too old and uninterested but he may recommend someone.

    You said "Bob Woodward is apart of the problem in Washington." That's pretty vague; I don't know what you meant.

    September 23, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

  • Waywardwind

    I read a couple books about Vietnam and General Westmoreland wasn't exactly a truth teller but as you well know the civilian authorities will always be in charge of a military(not for strategic planning in the battlefield) and Congress will always control the purse strings. That's the way it was meant to be.... We can all be pro military because it's popular but even former military generals' will tell you they want total control, as much money and troops as they request and they never want to leave the country without a victory.

    You said the president should either let the military fight the war in Afghanistan and Iraq or pull everybody out... If it was that easy, then they wouldn't be an issue because we still have a budget, treaties, and an obligation to restore a country we destroyed that had nothing to do with 9/11.

    If you listen to the words of General Petraeus, he wants to stay there another 10 years and he does not really care if we spend another $1 trillion. He's a military man.

    September 23, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.

  • Mike, what it the right thing? I didn't like this war in the first place, but right now our children are there fighting for a cause that is not in any way related to offending or not offending a liberal democratic base. It seems those on the battlefield and those trying to make decisions that will determine whether we win or lose a war are being managed by a President who does not want to step on any toes.

    September 23, 2010 at 7:41 a.m.

  • Bob Woodward is apart of the problem in Washington.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.

  • This just might be a time to remember the lessons of America's FIRST tarbaby, Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson and Robert STRANGE McNamara tried to micro-manage the fighting in Southeast Asia and ended up getting a LOT of Americans killed -- pilots in particular -- because they didn't know what they were doing. They wanted to fight the war by using their "agenda" and it just didn't work.

    The president should either let the military fight the war in Afghanistan and Iraq or pull everybody OUT and let the Iraqis and Afghans fend for themselves. I know which option I favor. We don't OWE the people over there anything and they don't appreciate our efforts and the blood Americans have shed. The idea of "nation building" in either Iraq OR Afghanistan -- especially Afghanistan -- is a sad joke covered in American blood.

    September 22, 2010 at 6:57 p.m.

  • KyleC
    The bush administration did rule with an iron fist when it came to General Shinseki but one hand know what the other hand was doing in Iraq.

    Perhaps they should have ruled with an iron fist:

    SO, what do we do in Iraq? It is obvious that the Bush administration and its distant and sometimes independent offshoot, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, have been knocked off balance by events. It's not the first time, of course.

    Reuel Gerecht
    March 3,2004
    Weekly Standard

    September 22, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.

  • I have not read Bob Woodward's book(it hasn't been released) so I don't really know the context of those terms but according to a Newsweek article by Jonathan Alter, the president and his generals got together and laid out the terms, so there would be no misunderstanding. I would imagine that the president sent the detail of those terms to the pentagon...I don't know that for a fact.

    As was described in the excerpts, the generals' were divided, so there was not a clear and decisive, truth certain decision.

    I'm well aware there will be those there will put their spin to it and run with it

    September 22, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.

  • Just like Bush/Rumsfeld and Shinseki, Hicktoria?

    September 22, 2010 at 3:57 p.m.

  • How about that? Why would Obama assign "terms" to the Generals that know how best to fight the situation? Obama reminds me of a CEO I worked for. He ruled with an "iron fist" and would not listen to those who knew best for the company. Needless to say that company no longer exists.

    September 22, 2010 at 3:46 p.m.