Bob Woodward's latest book provides an insider look at the Obama administration's handling of war, and the tidbits released to promote the book, as is usual with Woodward products, reveal infighting in the White House. Wodward's modus operandi is to get insiders to talk with him in the knowledge that if they don't, others -- their rivals -- will present their side of the story, and look good at the expense of those who are not Woodward sources.
The most starling quote so far is this, as highlighted in the Washington Post:
"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
The usage reminds one of the boxing expression "absorb a blow" and is oddly detached, fully consistent with Obama's Mr. Cool style. But war is not boxing. You can't toughen you abs to the point where losing downtown Dallas or the Mall of America is OK and we can move on. People will die, cities will be disrupted, and our national psyche wounded.
Where is the talk of the necessary retaliation in such an event? Perhaps Woodward has more details in his book, not yet released, in which Obama sounds like a commander in chief, rather than a historian describing wars of centuries past. This feeds the growing impression that Obama's level of detachment is scary in a man supposed to lead and protect the United States of America.