“Since you chose not to quash this petty squabbling while it was occurring, I believe the only solution now is to remove Gen. Lute,” Wolf wrote.
The book excerpt details much of the infighting between Holbrooke and Lute, as well as then-National Security Adviser James Jones. Jones tried get Obama to fire Holbrooke, prompting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to step in.
“Mr. President,” Clinton said, “you can fire Richard Holbrooke — over the objection of your secretary of State.”
But Jones, Clinton said, could not, according to the excerpt.
The report said that NSC officials would schedule key meetings when Holbrooke was out of town, refused to allow him to use a military airplane and tried, unsuccessfully, to exclude him from Obama’s Oval Office meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The book excerpt says that Obama “could have ordered a stop to the infighting; after all, he favored a negotiated end to the war.”
“But his sympathies lay with his NSC staffers — Holbrooke’s frenetic behavior was the antithesis of Obama’s ‘no-drama’ rule,” Chandrasekaran wrote. “The president never granted Holbrooke a one-on-one session in the Oval Office, and when he traveled to Afghanistan in March 2010, he took more than a dozen staffers, but not Holbrooke, who was not even informed of the trip in advance.”