Tuesday: 20.April.2004

Plan of Attack: Bob Woodward

Bought the new Woodward book everyone is talking about: Plan of Attack, a 450-page excavation of the decision-making process that led to the war with Iraq. Wanna see for myself what's causing such a stir. I heard the White House is recommending the book on its web site, suggesting people read it, so it can't be *that* scandalous. Or maybe they view it as less damaging than John Dean's Worse Than Watergate, or Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies.

I'm already several chapters into it. Digging it, so far. What I like best is how it makes the different personalities come alive. (You know, at heart, these guys are a bunch of ego-maniacs.) General Tommy Franks, in particular, seems to be a colorful character. The book is an easy, engaging read.

Looks like Cheney was the driving force behind the war. I think Secretaries-of-Defense should be barred from running for higher office .. since the waging of war is an exceedingly expen$ive proposition, one from which their old cronies in the Defen$e industry benefit greatly. This conflict-of-interest is simply too great. (Can you say "Halliburton"?)

continued

Here's a quote from the book (bottom of page 4):

"On the long walk-up to the war in Iraq, Dick Cheney was a powerful, steamrolling force. Since the terrorist attacks, he had developed an intense focus on the threats posed by Saddam and .. al Qaeda. It was seen as a "fever" by some of his colleagues, even a disquieting obsession. For Cheney, taking care of Saddam was high necessity." [end quote]

If nothing else, there's force-of-habit to contend with. If you spend a good portion of your career designing war strategies, what activities would feel most natural when you get your new job? Seems like it would be easy to slip back into your comfort zone. And we know from Viet Nam that *starting* a war is the easy part.

It also looks like Colin Powell had the most accurate/realistic assessment about the war. He said, "Do you realize what you're doing? If you BREAK it (Iraq), you OWN it." (known as the Pottery Barn rule)

Some journalists have criticized Powell for a lack of loyalty. I don't see it that way. I mean, what about his wisdom, forsight & understanding? And his courage to question the President's ideas? He's the closest thing to a hero we have in this book. Time will tell whether Powell's reluctance to invade Iraq was well-founded or not. But, right now, he's looking like the smartest guy in Washington.

Speaking of Colin, I overheard an interesting conversation yesterday where it was speculated that an interesting ticket for the '08 presidency would be Schwarzneggar/Powell vs Hilary/ (I forget the last name). Is America ready for that?

But we would first have to change the law to allow people not-born-here (Arnold) to run for President. Hey, I have no problem with that. At least, not with Arnold. He's actually doing a surprisingly good job here. Hard to do any worse than Gray Davis, tho, our last governor.

Personally, I like that guy from Connecticut: Shays. He talks straight & makes sense, but I don't think he's interested in running for Prez.

One of the more surprising tidbits from the book is that GWB (claims he) never asked his father for his opinion about going to war with Iraq. I find that hard to believe.

Before closing, I want to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for our men & women in uniform, who live daily in harm's way. I proudly served 6 years in the nuclear Navy myself. Sadly, none of our politicians encourage their sons or daughters to enter the military. If it was their OWN kids they were sending to war, do you think they might be a little more reluctant? If the kids of every President and Senator & congressman were required to serve in the military, I don't think our government would be so quick to go to war.

If you need more info, here's a Google search pre-configured for the terms: "plan attack woodward book"





Posted by Rad at April 20, 2004 07:05 PM

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White House Chose to Promote New Book

Posted by: Mitch at October 10, 2004 06:38 AM