The Plank

About That 3 a.m. Call...

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During the 2008 primaries an infamous Hillary Clinton ad warned that Barack Obama was unprepared for that hypothetical middle-of-the-night phone call announcing an international crisis and demanding a fast and decisive response. But real life is now demonstrating that national security decision-making is, with rare exceptions, something completely different. Obama's Afghanistan policy deliberations aren't about emergency phone calls and snap decisions. They're about grinding through meeting after meeting after meeting, over the course of weeks (even months, depending on how you want to measure) and reaching a hard decision after weighing vast loads of evidence and opinion. As the NYT details:

The meeting on Wednesday was Mr. Obama’s third with his full national security team. Another is scheduled for Friday to talk about Afghanistan and then a fifth is planned, possibly for next week. Mr. Gibbs said the president was still several weeks away from a decision.

For his part, meanwhile, Obama once zinged Hillary at an Iowa primary debate by joking that he was "looking forward to you advising me" in the White House. This photo from today's principals' meeting is a vivid reminder of who was more prescient on both scores.

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