Biden: Don’t Get Locked Into Vietnam

We all knew Vice President Joe Biden was an Afghanistan skeptic, but Bob Woodward’s new book reveals the full extent of his opposition to the president’s strategy in the war: Biden warned President Obama to not get “locked into Vietnam” as the president finalized his war strategy for Afghanistan in late 2009, according to Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars. Biden had been intensely pressuring Obama for months, and fired off six memos from a vacation home in Nantucket before Thanksgiving that year, hoping to keep the president from calling for a huge escalation. Obama told Biden that there was no good option. Biden countered that the potential fall of President Hamid Karzai’s government wouldn’t be that bad. Obama said he was sending 30,000 troops, 10,000 fewer than the military wanted, but Biden said his objection was “not the number, it’s the strategy.” Biden got increasingly nervous, pushing to meet alone with Obama, which Obama rebuffed. The veep ambushed Obama before a national-security meeting, urging the president to understand that his six-page “terms sheet” for the war would constitute a presidential order, and if he didn’t stick to them, “we’re locked into Vietnam.” Obama said he wouldn’t let his ego compel him to stick to a losing fight.