Here is Bob Woodward’s Cast of Characters from his book Obama’s Wars (read).
President Barack Obama: Not motivated to continue the Afghanistan War. Enneagram Personality Type 9w1. More of a lawyer and professor than Commander-in-Chief. More of a politician than a leader. Nice guy, though. Those of you who dehumanize him or think he’s Castro are mistaken.
Joe Biden, Vice President: Enneagram Type 8- The Challenger. He is very outspoken- it’s not an act. He was sent on a secret mission to threaten Hamid Karzai face to face- and he did. He is on the same page as Obama because they are both die-hard Democrats, however Obama keeps him at a distance. This is not Bush/Cheney. Biden is known for sucking the air out of the room because he talks too much and generally doesn’t want us to spend time and money in Afghanistan. He is more hawkish in terms foreign policy, but mostly by threatening to pull funding for countries that are not cooperating, as opposed to war with troops. Overall, I would say he’s more influential behind the scenes than how we see him in the MEDIA. In addition to diplomatic missions, and having a lot of time to speak at meetings, he also pushed a “hybrid” Afghan War option which everyone was forced to consider, and the military had to create rebuttals and simulate his hybrid option. However, Obama has no obligation to listen to him.
Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, does have Obama’s ear in the Inner Circle. In fact, he’s the #2 man in the country, and it could be argued that his influence makes him #1. Always full of manic energy, and as a full fledged member of Obama’s Inner Circle, he does whatever he wants, including standing up and shaking his hands to burn energy during long boring meetings. He’s a Chicago politician, capable of anything. He’s an Enneagram Type 3 and dangerous. He is always in campaign mode. I get the impression that Obama gave him free will to do things by any means necessary for the greater good (The Democratic Party), kinda like God and Satan. He is confrontational. He doesn’t appear as much in the book as others because I’m certain he can be featured in his own book. He’s against the war, of course, and would be okay with the U.S. sending advisers, not more troops. You can tell he influenced Obama’s distrust level with the military. Emanuel like to read who the CIA blew up yesterday.
David Axelrod, Senior Adviser, Inner Circle member. He’s the one who created The Messiah image that America bought into during the campaign. In this book, he’s behind the scenes and pulling strings. He is on the same page as Emanuel, and blocks people from speaking to Obama. I guess you can see he’s the Pope. Was a major obstacle for the military and CIA to develop a coherent plan, since he’s focused on polls and The Party. Part of the team that created the “public narrative” of the war. Was against Obama selecting Hillary Clinton, but Obama did it anyway for The Party.
Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, Inner Circle member. His job is to spin half-truths. The benefit of this book is that we were able to finally see the buildup and debate before he reads an official press release, so we can see what was left out and why something was phrased a certain way. His is a master spin doctor, and not objective at all, he is an apologist. Not much more to say about someone like that.
General James Jones, National Security Adviser. In many ways, Jones is a major player and source in Obama’s Wars. By all accounts he is a good guy and was repeatedly sidelined by The Inner Circle and denied access to the president even though he was a high ranking official. Critics say that Jones, who was retired, was not cut out for the fast-paced White House mentality, where everyone works 12+ hours a day. Because Jones is level-headed and a truth seeker, he managed to piss off both sides, including General McChrystal. One could find fault in some of Jones’ theories, but his intentions were good, and he wanted to serve the president’s interests. Never truly bonded with Obama, and was eventually replaced after the book was published. He attacked The Inner Circle on the record, which is a career killer.
Thomas Donilon, Deputy National Adviser. You know things are bad in a chain of command when Rahm Emanuel talks to the Deputy National Adviser instead of General Jones. Donilon didn’t have a whole lot of respect for the military and was part of The Inner Circle thanks to his buddy Rahm. Donilon is in the bulk of the book as well. He is very efficient and productive, and a Washington insider. He’s not 100% protected like Rahm, Gibbs, and Axelrod because his job had too much official responsibility. General Jones expressed his frustration with him directly, and even pegged him as his successor, which has now come true as of this writing.
Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, Senior Adviser and Coordinator of AfPak. Super expert on the War, worked for President Bush, highly intelligent and objective. Lute was the first person to use the word “defeat” regarding the Taliban. Also told Obama that things in Afghanistan will probably be exactly the same come July 2011, the date of “thinning out” U.S. forces. Lute, perhaps, was the most pragmatic adviser, and a realist, which other generals did not like, since they are eternal optimists when it comes to their plans. As the true expert in that country, Lute wasn’t buying General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency Iraq plan, either. Lute did his job as an adviser, without the politics. Did not like the way the war has been handled all of these years.
Mark Lippert, former National Security Council Chief of Staff: Was part of The Inner Circle, but made the mistake of leaking too many lies to the MEDIA about General Jones to undermine him and sideline him, but Jones found out and told Obama about it. Lippert was sent back to the navy. Lippert had been a campaign aid, and was “brothers” with Obama.
Denis McDonough took his place. He was already part of The Inner Circle, as he and Lippert were part of Obama’s NSC during the campaign. Obama called his “brothers” Thing 1 and Thing 2, from Dr. Seuss. McDonough made sure everyone knew his personal relationship with the president, and was on the same page as the other members of the Inner Circle.
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. She knows her role, and she smells what Barack is cooking. She seems to be biding her time, but does her job and is serious about it. She obviously has her own agenda and campaigners, but she comes well prepared. Although she denied it, e-mails imply that she took the position to enhance her resume. In the book, she is just another voice in the Situation Room, equal to everyone else who is not in the Inner Circle. Only once did she give a passionate speech- even slamming her fist on the table- when she supported McChrystal’s request for 40,000 troops. Of course, in the end she was overruled, but was asked to sign a document like everyone else saying they agreed with the final plan of action. No one disagreed with it when asked directly by Obama.
Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for AfPak. Kinda weird. Actually linked global warming to Afghanistan or something like that. Egotistical and critical, and likes to hear his voice. No one takes notes when he speaks at meetings. Generally teams up with Biden, and believes Al-Queda is more dangerous than the Taliban, so sending so many troops to Afghanistan doesn’t make sense.
To be continued at a later time- profiles on Robert Gates, David Petraeus, Stan McChrystal, Michael Mullen, Hamid Karzai, and many more.