Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bob Woodward's book

The Washington Post has published two excerpts from Bob Woodward's latest book, "The State of Denial". The links are below.

The first excerpt, "Secret Reports", gives an insight into behind the scenes thinking on Iraq:

A powerful, largely invisible influence on Bush's Iraq policy was former secretary of state Kissinger.

"Of the outside people that I talk to in this job," Vice President Cheney told me in the summer of 2005, "I probably talk to Henry Kissinger more than I talk to anybody else. He just comes by and, I guess at least once a month, Scooter [his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby] and I sit down with him."

The president also met privately with Kissinger every couple of months, making him the most regular and frequent outside adviser to Bush on foreign affairs.

Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.

In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress.

In a column in The Washington Post on Aug. 12, 2005, titled "Lessons for an Exit Strategy," Kissinger wrote, "Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy."

He delivered the same message directly to Bush, Cheney and Hadley at the White House.
Victory had to be the goal, he told all. Don't let it happen again. Don't give an inch, or else the media, the Congress and the American culture of avoiding hardship will walk you back

.............In a meeting with presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson in early September 2005, Kissinger was more explicit: Bush needed to resist the pressure to withdraw American troops. He repeated his axiom that the only meaningful exit strategy was victory

The Second Excerpt, "Should he Stay", concerns Donald Rumsfeld:

Cheney had suggested Rumsfeld to Bush in late December 2000. Rumsfeld was so impressive, Bush told Card at the time. He had had the job in the Ford administration a quarter-century before, and it was as if he were now saying, "I think I've got some things I'd like to finish."

But there was another dynamic that Bush and Card discussed. Rumsfeld and Bush's father, the former president, couldn't stand each other. Bush Senior didn't trust Rumsfeld and thought he was arrogant, self-important, too sure of himself and Machiavellian. Rumsfeld had also made nasty private remarks that the elder Bush was a lightweight.

Card could see that overcoming the former president's skepticism about Rumsfeld added to the president-elect's excitement


Anonymous said...

its taken Woodward a while to "grow a set" - but he has finaly taken the Whitehouse to task on this.... and good for him.

It makes a change from the (wonderful) Sy Hersh - who is hated by the right in the USA since Vietnam era reporting he did. When Sy said something (battle plans for Iran) the right would ALWAYS attack the messenger and never what he was saying - thius proving two things:
A) everything he was saying was true.
B)The right holds a grudge A LONG TOME. (ask John Kerry about Jon O'Neil)

Woodward's previously friendly books towards the Shrub administration put himm on good terms with the "Right" people - except now they are turning on him - harking back to watergate to show his "liberal" bias.

Watching Andrew Card (former chief of staff to shrub) on Fox the oher night was wonderful - he could not flat out deny ANYTHING he was asked about what was ahppening in the white house. It was all "well, i can see where he got the impression that......." or "there are several ways data can be interpretted".....but not a single "he's wrong".

Woodward is back on form.

Political Umpire said...

I was impressed on my recent American trip by how much open debate there was on even the mainstream media (I didn't watch Fox) about the war; the Whitehouse is certainly not having it all its own way.

If there's one thing they should have learned from Vietnam, it was that you can win every battle in the field but still lose the war. Funnily enough, Bush campaigned on the basis of a more isolationist foreign policy, and made jibes about not wanting the 82nd airborne to be trying to build third world villages, or something to that effect.

I still think the most ironic aspect of it all is that in removing Saddam Hussein they removed an _ally_ in the war on terror - someone who would never have allowed the likes of Al Zaqawi to get a foothold in Iraq before the invasion