President Obama, after being warned repeatedly by his advisers about the threat of another terror attack on U.S. soil, said in an interview two months ago that the United States could “absorb” another strike.
The comment was included in the new book by journalist Bob Woodward, “Obama’s Wars,” excerpts of which were reported by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
The book depicts the contentious debate the Obama administration endured to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan. According to the Post, Obama spent the bulk of the exhaustive sessions pressing for an exit strategy and resisting efforts to prolong and escalate the war.
Despite warnings of another attack, he suggested the United States could weather a new strike.
“We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger,” Obama reportedly said.
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According to the book, Obama said, “I have two years with the public on this” and pressed advisers for ways to avoid a big escalation in the Afghanistan war.
“I’m not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars,” he reportedly told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in October 2009. “I want an exit strategy,” he said at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Biden to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings.
While Obama ultimately rejected the alternative plan, the book says, he set a withdrawal timetable because, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”