September 30th, 2009
07:56 PM ET
13 years ago

An expert's view on Afghanistan strategy discussions

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Hadley says he believes advisers will help Obama feel 'comfortable making the decision ... only he can make.'"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A meeting between President Obama and his national security team Wednesday could be a turning point in the war in Afghanistan, says someone who's been in similar meetings.

Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser in the Bush administration, said the meeting would be a "vigorous debate" in which "views will change ... may be some emerging consensus."

"And one of the purposes of the kind of process that they're going through now is to take people with the range of views, express their views to the president and see in an interactive process," Hadley said.

"Again, the fact that the president is interacting directly with his national security principles and hopefully with his diplomats and military officers in the field, allows for a process in some sense that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," he said.

But in the end, the decision rests solely with the commander in chief, who Hadley said sets the tone and direction of the negotiations with his advisers. "What we know and what we're told about this president is that he's very deliberate and that he wants to hear from everyone in the room. ... I think they [Obama's advisers] will speak freely ... and it will put him in a position where he feels comfortable making the decision that, really, only he can make."

But the president faces varying opinions from within his administration, including recent reports that his vice president is urging a counterterrorism strategy that would focus on targeting al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

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soundoff (24 Responses)

    Really, we have a President that is "listening to other's views" and
    doesn't hurrrrry a decision to BOMB, BOMB, BOMB............!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Remember those famous words of a Pres. Candidate that many
    Americans actually voted for!!!!! Remember, Americans, that some
    almost made another "deadly" mistake!!!!!!

    September 30, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. terry, va

    Obama has changed his mind on what he called "the war of necessity" like most people change their underwear. He either doesn't know whether to @hit or get of the pot or is the most spineless poll driven politician ever. Either way he is unfit to be commander in chief.

    September 30, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. eolufemi

    We chose well when we chose ipresident. Whatever decision he makes will have been made after careful decision of all the evidence, relevant qualified opinions, and long term repercussions. That's leadership.

    September 30, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Idiot_Pelosi

    Well it is clear that OBUMMER doesn't know what to do...

    Uh, Er, Uh, CHANGE, Er, Uh, Uh, CHANGE.

    OBUMMER will read whatever these advisors put up on his Tele-Prompter.

    September 30, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. jon

    If President Obama doesn't win the war in Afghanistan, he will go down in history as the worst president since LBJ. The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history was launched and supported from that country.

    September 30, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Buddy Gilmour

    I'm generally not in favor of war, and that includes our involvement in Iraq, but these Taliban are bad news and have allied themselves with Al-Qaeda who very much want to kill us. As we saw on 9/11, with modern technology its possible to kill thousands at a time. So its really just not an option to ignore them because left to their own devices they will cause us great harm. Please understand this is not a fight of our choosing, they attacked us and have made it clear they intend to attack us again and again until they destroy us. We have no choice but to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

    September 30, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. victim of republican greed

    I am confident that Obama will make the right decision. It is a decision that should have been made by the former president.

    September 30, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    Bush spent 4 days as a spectator at the Olympics in China while we were in two wars and the economy was tanking. Yet the wingnuts cannot give our president 23 hours to bring the olympics to the US and that could create almost a million jobs. The GOP is sick.

    September 30, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. ran

    If only Bush had been this deliberate in his action. We would be out of war by now and never been in Iraq.

    The GOP will never support this President in anything and the sooner the Democrats get it the better we all will be.

    Democrats just stand together and get things done already.

    September 30, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. lhberain

    it's time!

    we've been over there for 8 years. and nothing's come of it. we were in Vietnam, lost thousands of our troops and still never resolved the war.

    for every al-queda we kill or capture, ten more take their place. they will not rest until they have caused us alot of harm. al-queda is not ONLY in Afghanistan, but all over the world. they're HERE, obviously! They're in the U S, and working.

    it's time to bring our troops home to fortify our defenses! we need to make sure that we've fortified our country. there are problems here we need to correct before the war comes to us, AGAIN!

    bring them home & let's prepare to fight for our lives.

    September 30, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. Willy Brown

    Obama’s Vietnam. He rather go abroad by the orders given to him by Mayor Daley

    September 30, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |

    Bring them all home, kick out all the non-citizens and SEAL the Borders.

    September 30, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. American Citizen

    He will probably withdrawl the troops and then go and apologize to the terrorist for invading their country.

    September 30, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. m smith

    This is a very complex issue and no matter what the President decides he will take heat. I can see them lineing up now.

    September 30, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    And in the mean time troops are dying as Obama sits on his thumbs trying to come up with a game plan which would not upset his far left base. A community leader yes, a presidential!

    September 30, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    He's right. Sorry GOPers. Insert another quarter if you'd like an extra life.

    September 30, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. pa independent and fiscally responsible

    The men in the field know best...not Joe Biden. Obama's mission was clearly stated, he has no military experience so let those do the job and don't hinder the military.

    September 30, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  18. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    No point advising our KENYAN-IN-CHIEF. His experience as a community organizer makes professional military advice totally unnecessary. 😉

    September 30, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. annie against biased news

    obama is still trying to figure out how to vote 'present' on these type of decisions. Maybe obama hasn't been able to get thru to soros.

    September 30, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    Let us just make sure that after our civilian leaders have finished their talks and came up with their ideas, that our military commanders are consulted and asked whether or not the final ideas are militarialy acheivable and whether or not the necessary resources are avaiable. Then lets see if our civilian leadership is w illing to make those resources avaiable to our military to finish the job once and forever.

    September 30, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. No Incumbents 2010

    Why does CNN go to Bush's cheerleader for torture for comments about anything? To resusitate his reputation?

    September 30, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    "...decision rests solely with the commander in chief..."

    I think we need to ask our War President:
    – why is Obama assassinating people in Somalia?
    – why is Obama sending more troops to war?
    – why is Obama not REALLY withdrawing from Iraq?
    – why is Obama not REALLY closing war prisons?
    – why is Obama still OK with torture by a different name?

    And why aren't we asking?

    September 30, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. Nea

    All i know is that this President have a lot on his plate and he really need people surrounding him that are there to help him and build him up and the country as well, not bring him down. And we as Americans can do our part as well instead of criticizing this President why not Just PRAY for him in a positive way by asking GOD to give him wisdom on how to lead this country because like him or not we are all in this together.

    October 1, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  24. Wanderer

    Whatever strategy will come up, it will be a waste of lives and money. If we don’t want foreign force in our land (the U.S.A.), neither do any other nation. So, it is not hard to understand that the mind of the inhabitants in the nation that has foreign troops is mostly occupied by the picture that their nation is being occupied. They would do anything to expel the foreign force, either passively or actively. Like the Vietnam war, if we want to win the war in Afghanistan or Iraq by force, we must use nuclear weapon if that is what the U.S.A. wants to win these wars that way. Otherwise, there will be no winner. Furthermore, the U.S.A. must not forget that the militants in Iraq and Taliban of Afghanistan are not the only its enemies. It could be China, Russia, North Korea, some nations in Latin America, etc. They may not be able to confront the U.S.A. face to face now, but they may be waiting for the right moment to come e.g. political division, racism, economic meltdown, etc. These are the very obvious factors that are latently weakening our nation. The U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world but also the one that has the most enemies.

    October 1, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |