Bob Woodward has a new book coming out on “Obama’s Wars.” Peter Baker does a synopsis, with this little beauty reminding me of what the CIA’s William Casey did way back when:
Beyond the internal battles, the book offers fresh disclosures on the nation’s continuing battle with terrorists. It reports that the C.I.A. has a 3,000-man “covert army” in Afghanistan called the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams, or C.T.P.T., mostly Afghans who capture and kill Taliban fighters and seek support in tribal areas. Past news accounts have reported that the C.I.A. has a number of militias, including one trained on one of its compounds, but not the size of the covert army.
Once Gen. McChrystal imploded inside Rolling Stone magazine it was clear COIN, as well as what Obama wanted to do, didn’t have a prayer. ABC’s Martha Raddatz confirmed the completely unwinding inside Afghanistan on Bill Maher’s show last Friday, when she said that the Taliban is gaining strength every day, and although there is a lot of great work being done around Afghanistan there is no connectivity. Raddatz didn’t see how it all could possibly come together.
Back in the 1980s, William Casey ran his own secret war against the Soviets. Today’s CIA’s duty inside that country isn’t secret from Obama, but it is reminiscent. It’s a reminder that you can’t win a conventional war in Afghanistan. Cloak and daggers is the only path, which will make a lot of Pres. Obama’s fans squeamish, because they don’t want to be in Afghanistan in the first place.
Richard Holbrooke is quoted as saying Obama’s COIN strategy for Afghanistan cannot work. That’s been proven correct. McChrystal telegraphed that months ago. So, at this point I think it’s pretty safe to say that whatever was hoped for inside Afghanistan when Obama called it the necessary war isn’t happening and isn’t going to.
So, the question now is why is Pres. Obama intent on staying until summer 2011 when the covert CIA mission is likely the only headway we’ll make? We don’t need 100,000 troops inside Afghanistan, most of whom are simply target practice for the Taliban at this point, with U.S. casualties mounting.
Oh, and if anyone is keeping score, Joe Biden was right, which means Gates and Clinton were wrong, going way out on a limb on the current Afghanistan strategy that isn’t even working under Gen. Petraeus. That goes double when you consider what Baker reports from the Woodward book. That the Pentagon asked for 4,500 “enablers,” with Pres. Obama replying “I’m done doing this!”
No other journalist has gotten the access to 1600 Pennsylvania’s residents that Bob Woodward has enjoyed. His access got him into a bit of a snag back during the Valerie Plame affair, when Woodward was revealed to know a lot more than he had revealed in public.
Screen capture from Politico.