Le “prisonnier de la guerre” vu par Bacevich

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Le “prisonnier de la guerre” vu par Bacevich

En nous référant à notre Bloc-Notes du 24 septembre 2010 sur les descriptions que fait Bob Woodward des débats au sein de la direction Obama sur la poursuite de la guerre en Afghanistan, nous signalons l’excellent article de Andrew J. Bacevich sur ce même livre de Bob Woodward (Obama’s Wars). (Bacevitch, sur TomDispatch.com, le 26 septembre 2010.) Bacevich a, comme introduction bienvenue, quelques mots assez méprisants pour Woodward, qui conviennent au personnage et à sa production en série :

«Once a serious journalist, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward now makes a very fine living as chief gossip-monger of the governing class. Early on in his career, along with Carl Bernstein, his partner at the time, Woodward confronted power. Today, by relentlessly exalting Washington trivia, he flatters power. His reporting does not inform. It titillates.»

Plutôt que s’attacher aux anecdotes toujours semblables de livre en livre et d’administration en administration de Woodward, Bacevich en vient à l’essentiel qui est l’appréciation involontaire que Woodward donne du processus de décision, ou de “non-décision” en un sens, du pouvoir US. C’est la même formule qui lui vient sous la plume (et qui lui sert de titre), notamment à propos d’Obama : “Prisonnier de guerre” (“prisonnier de la guerre”).

«Obama’s Wars also affirms what we already suspected about the decision-making process that led up to the president’s announcement at West Point in December 2009 to prolong and escalate the war. Bluntly put, the Pentagon gamed the process to exclude any possibility of Obama rendering a decision not to its liking.

»Pick your surge: 20,000 troops? Or 30,000 troops? Or 40,000 troops? Only the most powerful man in the world – or Goldilocks contemplating three bowls of porridge – could handle a decision like that. Even as Obama opted for the middle course, the real decision had already been made elsewhere by others: the war in Afghanistan would expand and continue.

»And then there’s this from the estimable General David Petraeus: "I don't think you win this war,” Woodward quotes the field commander as saying. “I think you keep fighting... This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives.“

»Here we confront a series of questions to which Woodward (not to mention the rest of Washington) remains steadfastly oblivious. Why fight a war that even the general in charge says can’t be won? What will the perpetuation of this conflict cost? Who will it benefit? Does the ostensibly most powerful nation in the world have no choice but to wage permanent war? Are there no alternatives? Can Obama shut down an unwinnable war now about to enter its tenth year? Or is he – along with the rest of us – a prisoner of war?

»President Obama has repeatedly stated that in July 2011 a withdrawal of U. S. troops from Afghanistan will commence. No one quite knows exactly what that means. Will the withdrawal be symbolic? General Petraeus has already made it abundantly clear that he will entertain nothing more. Or will July signal that the Afghan War – and by extension the Global War on Terror launched nine years ago – is finally coming to an end?

»Between now and next summer attentive Americans will learn much about how national security policy is actually formulated and who is really in charge. Just don’t expect Bob Woodward to offer any enlightenment on the subject.»

Bacevich se réfère notamment, pour ces divers détails, à un article du Washington Post du 22 septembre 2010. (Il semble n’être pas nécessaire de lire les bouquins de Woodward pour en connaître le contenu.) La citation qu’il fait du général Petraeus, lorsqu’elle est restituée en entier, nous apprend, en passant, que la guerre en Irak n’est pas finie, – cela reconnu par Petraeus, malgré le standing de “vainqueur en Irak” qu’il devrait avoir à défendre auprès de ses pairs et de son commandant en chef, le président Obama. Cela en dit long, par défaut, sur ce qu’il pense de la situation irakienne… «Woodward quotes Petraeus as saying, “You have to recognize also that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. It's a little bit like Iraq, actually… Yes, there has been enormous progress in Iraq. But there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, and you have to stay vigilant. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives.”»

 

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