Gossiping Over Afghanistan and Obama

I read the Bob Woodward book, "Obama's Wars." It's a detailed look at the in-fighting and decision-making process that led to the ramp up of forces for the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan had been left on the proverbial backburner. And President Obama wanted to establish goals and limits. As he has often said the United States mission there is not to usher in a Jeffersonian Democracy. What happens next is at times excruciating -- ego clashes, turf battles. Not surprising perhaps in a place where ambition is well-rewarded. The most important part of the book, though, is the rough consensus that the war in Afghanistan is perhaps less about that country and more about next-door neighbor Pakistan. What most of the participants agree on is a failed Afghanistan would create massive and unacceptable instability in a neighborhood where the prize could become Islamabad's nuclear weapons. The gossipy parts of Woodward's book are the draw. The reality of the mess we're in is the real payoff.

Just a minute. I'm Harry Smith, CBS News.


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