Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Amb. Richard Holbrooke.
Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Reporter Peter Baker has thumbed through a copy of Bob Woodward's forthcoming book, Obama's War.
In The New York Times this morning, he says "some of the critical players in President Obama's national security team doubt his strategy in Afghanistan will succeed and have spent much of the last 20 months quarreling with one another over policy, personality and turf."
According to Baker, "Richard C. Holbrooke, the president's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is quoted saying of the strategy that 'it can't work.'"
On Talk of the Nation today, NPR's Neal Conan asked Holbrooke to put that quotation in context.
"Gosh, I thought you'd never ask," he replied.
I haven't seen the book. I have no idea what that phrase refers to, when I'm alleged to have said it, if I said it at all, what the context is. I think that the best thing for me to do is to duck and just say I'll look at the book, I'll find out what the allegations are, I'll deal with them later, but i just don't have time to do it right now.
Amb. Richard Holbrooke, on Bob Woodward's 'Obama's Wars.'
Holbrooke is in New York City for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, where he said 75 percent of his time has been occupied with meetings about the recent flooding in Pakistan.
Conan persisted, asking Holbrooke if the president's policy can succeed.
"I signed on for the strategy we're now carrying out, and we are doing the civilian portion of it in ways that I am actually quite proud of," he said. "I'm supporting the strategy and implementing the policy under the direction of the president and Secretary of State Clinton."
Amb. Richard Holbrooke, on President Obama's Af-Pak strategy.
Holbrooke said a power vacuum in Afghanistan could be "a strategic catastrophe for the region."
I'm not reasserting a domino theory left over from another war in another place in another century, I'm simply referring to the obvious interaction between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and above all, th epeople who threaten our homeland so directly and operate on the border region in Pakistan and then Afghanistan.