President Obama and the Pentagon are at odds over the Libyan intervention due to a lack of a working relationship between the president and his national-security team, former and current U.S. officials said Wednesday. “It’s a mess,” said one senior U.S. official. Sources attributed the lack of relationship to a “culture clash” between the White House and the military officers—leading to a policy paralysis. On Libya, the White House wanted the Pentagon to draw up a low-cost plan for regime change—and under no circumstances should U.S. service personnel be involved—while the military insisted no such option existed. Some officials predict the friction will only get worse once Robert Gates steps down as defense secretary, and some analysts said they expect the problem to exist long after even Obama leaves office because many military officers—with a decade of combat experience—are not content with the traditional role of providing advice to policymakers.
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