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Cancer Of Terror Lies In Pak, Says Obama

Tags:obama, bob woodward WASHINGTON: US president Barack Obama is reported to have said at an Oval Office meeting that the cancer of terrorism lies in Pakistan, reports Times of India.  According to a new book
PTI September 23, 2010 11:20 IST
PTI
Tags:obama, bob woodward

WASHINGTON: US president Barack Obama is reported to have said at an Oval Office meeting that the cancer of terrorism lies in Pakistan, reports Times of India.  

According to a new book “Obama's War” by Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) that has hit Washington DC, Obama is quoted to have said at an Oval Office meeting on November 25, 2009: “We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan”. Creating a more secure Afghanistan is imperative so the “cancer doesn't spread”, Obama is reported to have said.

The book, "Obama's War", portrays a president anxious to pull US troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, and at odds with his military commanders and some senior advisers, who openly question whether his strategy will work.

 The book, which is officially slated to hit the stands next Monday but excerpts of which were published in the US media on Tuesday, also shows Obama's deep distrust of Pakistan, a possible explanation for relentless drone strikes on the country despite its misery from floods.

According to the book, Mike McConnell, the then director of National Intelligence tells Obama soon after his victory in 2008 elections that Pakistan is a dishonest and untrustworthy partner, unwilling or unable to stop elements of its intelligence service from giving clandestine aid, weapons and money to Taliban.

 By the end of the 2009 strategy review, Obama concludes that no mission in Afghanistan could be successful without attacking the al-Qaida and Taliban havens operating in Pakistan's tribal region.

But it is the picture of a dissent-ridden and dysfunctional administration that emerges from the book which is considered most damaging to the Obama presidency six weeks ahead of a major mid-term election in which Democrats are fighting to save their majority in the Congress and Senate.

Besides military commanders butting heads with the civilian leadership, the book also details personality clashes within the administration. National security adviser James Jones privately refers to Obama's political aides as "the water bugs", the "Politburo", the "Mafia", or the "campaign set" while Gen David Petraeus describes president's senior adviser David Axelrod as a "a complete spin doctor".  

At another point, Petraeus, feeling undermined by the administration, tells aides, the administration was "(expletive) with the wrong guy." Defense secretary Robert Gates threatens to walk out of another meeting after an offensive comment against one general by an Obama aid.

The book shows that Obama is not so much interested in winning the war outright as securing America. In an interview with Woodward in July, Obama says he didn't think about the Afghan conflict in "classic" terms of winning or losing: "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?"