Jake Tapper of ABC News cut a segment today for ABCNews.com in which he discussed Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Little America: The War Within The War In Afghanistan; Chandrasekaran showed up for an interview. Said Chandrasekaran:
We squandered the troop surge, as you know, because of this nasty bickering in Washington. Shortly after President Obama took office, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke to essentially be the point man for Afghanistan policy …. He was brought in to try to find a path toward eventual peace talks with the Taliban ….
He was undermined by the White House, by the very members of his own team. They just didn’t like him. Senior members of Obama’s national security team thought he just had too big of an ego …. They spent more time bickering with one another.
Chandrasekaran said that Obama’s people twice tried to fire Holbrooke. Holbrooke called Clinton; Clinton told Obama that she objected. Obama immediately backed down, not wanting to go over Clinton’s head. Obama’s team wasn’t on the same page as Holbrooke’s team, said Chandrasekaran.
Chandrasekaran also pointed out that the first wave of authorized troops were sent to the “wrong part” of the country. We sent them to Helmand province rather than Kandahar thanks to infighting at the Pentagon, says Chandrasekaran. He continues by saying that the surge was a mistake; we need long-term support, letting the Afghans secure their country rather than sending more Americans to do the job.