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Steve jackson games united states secret service: Overcoming Inertia: Why It’s Time to End the War in Afghanistan

When Obama entered office in 2009, the senior military leadership strongly favored a troop surge in Afghanistan. According to Vali Nasr, at the time a senior adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Department of State, the White House was “ever afraid that the young Democratic President would be seen as ‘soft’” if he went against the military’s recommendations. 43 Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, says that the administration’s Afghanistan policy review was “shaped by leaks from the military designed to box Obama into sending more troops into Afghanistan.” 44 One member of Obama’s National Security Council, a colonel who was also an Iraq war veteran, told the president that, if he were to “defy [his] military chain,” the top brass may resign in protest. 45 “No Democratic president can go against military advice, especially if he asked for it,” advised Leon Panetta, then CIA director. 46 Obama’s secretary of defense, Robert Gates, described the troop surge recommendations as “the classic Henry Kissinger model … You have three options, two of which are ridiculous, so you accept the one in the middle.” 47 Obama expressed frustration at this. In the end, advisers presented him with four options, two of which were indistinguishable. “So what’s my option?” Obama asked. “You have essentially given me one option.” 48 He complained to journalist Bob Woodward that the military was “really cooking the thing in the direction that they wanted . . . They are not going to give me a choice.” 49

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