Book Details White House Split Over Afghanistan; Egg Recall Hearing Ahead
President Obama “urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him,” according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars,” to be released on Monday, centers on the strategy review of the war in Afghanistan, and “the dissension, distrust and infighting that consumed Obama’s national security team as it was locked in a fierce and emotional struggle over the direction, goals, timetable, troop levels and the chances of success for a war that is almost certain to be one of the defining events of this presidency.”
President Obama’s top White House adviser on Afghanistan and his special envoy for the region are described as believing the strategy will not work.
Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell writes: “If you thought the Rolling Stone article that got Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired was damning, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
The most explosive revelations, Hounshell continues, “center around the Obama’s decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan but set a controversial July 2011 timeline for beginning to withdraw — an awkward compromise that Woodward’s sources seem eager to portray as very much the president’s own. And Bob’s got the goods: Obama, who comes across as deeply skeptical about the war and overwhelmingly concerned with finding an ‘exit strategy’ rather than winning, personally dictated a six-page ‘terms sheet’ outlining the conditions under which he was sending the troops.”
President Obama is shown at odds with several military commanders and national security staff, particularly Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, with tensions often turning personal, reports the Post.
Egg Recall Hearings to Begin
The owner of the Iowa egg company whose eggs may have sickened as many as 1,600 people in an outbreak of salmonella poisoning this summer is scheduled to testify before a House subcommittee Wednesday. The panel will ask Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, to explain their business methods, the unsanitary conditions documented by federal investigators and what steps they have taken to address salmonella contamination found at their farms.
In testimony released by the company, Wright County Egg, the two men say they believe an ingredient sold to them by an outside supplier may be to blame for the outbreak that led to a nationwide egg recall.
The New York Times’ William Neuman looks deep into Austin DeCoster’s past and his ties to previous outbreaks:
“Mr. DeCoster’s frequent run-ins with regulators over labor, environmental and immigration violations have been well cataloged. But the close connections between Mr. DeCoster’s egg empire and the spread of salmonella in the United States have received far less scrutiny.”
Bomb Kills 10 at Military Parade in Iran
A bomb exploded at a military parade in northwestern Iran on Wednesday, killing 10 spectators and injuring 57, Iranian media reports said. An Iranian official blamed Kurdish separatists for the attack.