About this series
This series of articles is adapted from Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars." The core of the reporting comes from written records, including National Security Council meeting notes, personal notes, memos, chronologies, letters, PowerPoint slides, e-mails, reports, government cables, calendars, transcripts, diaries and maps. The dialogue comes mostly from the notes and other forms of the written record.
Information for the book was provided by more than 100 people involved in the Afghan war and national security during the first 18 months of President Obama's administration. Those interviewed include key White House aides and senior military, intelligence and diplomatic officials with firsthand knowledge of the events in the book. Many interviews were conducted within days or even hours after critical debates or decisions. Woodward interviewed Obama on the record in the Oval Office for one hour and 15 minutes on July 10.
Most of the interviews were conducted on background, meaning that the information could be used but the sources would not be identified by name.
When thoughts, conclusions or feelings are attributed to someone, that point of view came from that person directly, from the written record or from a colleague whom the person told.
Monday | No option
Tensions rise between President Obama's inner circle of White House advisers and the military hierarchy during the administration's 2009 Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy review. Military leaders keep pushing for an Afghan war strategy that requires 40,000 more troops, while the president seeks a more limited approach with an exit plan.
Tuesday | Locked in
As Obama makes the choice over Thanksgiving weekend to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, he is warned that the new strategy faces four cumulative risks that threaten the mission's success. The risks become even more pronounced in the months that follow.
Wednesday | The Pakistan conundrum
On May 19, the U.S. national security adviser and CIA director meets secretly in Pakistan with that country's leaders. The two officials warn the Pakistani president to stop tolerating terrorist groups operating from havens within that nation's borders, threatening action if attacks plotted there are ever carried out successfully on U.S. soil.