A new book gives an in-depth look at the Obama White House as officials made momentous choices about the war in Afghanistan—and author Rajiv Chandrasekaran sees some major missteps. Among them: Despite former top Afghanistan adviser Richard Holbrooke's expertise on ending wars—he played a role in peace deals for Vietnam and Yugoslavia—other aides couldn't stand to have him around, in large part thanks to a personality that included a "thirst for the spotlight," Chandrasekaran writes in an excerpt printed in the Washington Post.
Other top advisers went out of their way to sideline him—even attempting to fire him, a move halted by Hillary Clinton—as he pushed for a negotiated solution to the conflict. The "staggering cost," according to the author: "The Obama White House failed to aggressively explore negotiations to end the war when it had the most boots on the battlefield." Elsewhere, the book takes issue with Obama's troop surge, revealing that the president intentionally skipped over a CIA memo suggesting the 30,000 extra troops hadn't provided much improvement on the ground, according to the AP. Joe Biden strongly opposed the potential 40,000-strong surge, citing serious flaws with an Iraq-style counterinsurgency effort. Click through for a lengthy excerpt.