State of Denial

Stateofdenial235State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III
by Bob Woodward

just downed this book on audible … another casualty of it raining a lot and me not being able to read while walking to work …

the book had little surprises … i guess if you read all the articles that came out because of the book, you’d gain little from reading it.

but after reading this Woodward book (and i’ve read 4 or 5 others), i’m always amazed that anyone actually speaks to him. it seems he had dozens of meetings with Don Rumsfeld (who comes off horribly), most of Rumsfeld’s past deputies (though it seems he has little insight from Wolfowitz), Andy Card, and even Newt Gingrinch.

here is an example of an interview Woodward had with General Peter Pace that was printed in the book:

GEN. PETER PACE: The attacks are up because folks want that place to be ungovernable so that when it is ungovernable we would walk away so that they could then take over. So you can expect the attacks to stay up because every day Prime Minister Malaki and his parliament meet and make decisions is a bad day for those who are creating those attacks. You will see the numbers go up in Afghanistan probably also because in both of those countries as those governments stand up and get stronger, it’s a bad day for the anti-Iraqi, anti-Afghan forces.

That does not mean that we should not be sensitive to these numbers, which we are, and we should be doing what we’re doing, which is trying to drive them back down. But we should understand that part of the reason for that is the understanding of the enemy, that they’re on the ropes as far as if this parliament continues to function, this prime minister continues to function, the enemy’s ability to have the caliphate that they want to have is diminished.

MR. BOB WOODWARD: Okay, but are they on the ropes?

GEN. PETER PACE: Wrong word.

MR. BOB WOODWARD: Yeah, you’re going to sound like Dick Cheney. Do you want to retract that?

GEN. PETER PACE: I would like to retract that, thank you. Thank you — I appreciate the courtesy.

MR. BOB WOODWARD: Yea, no. Good, because it didn’t seem to me where you were going – because it is, I’m not — I mean, I was surprised —

GEN. PETER PACE: I’m not surprised because I’ve been watching it, so I’m not surprised.

now the interview is pretty long, but Woodward seems to pull out the worst quotes from General Pace to make him look somewhat bumbling and not in control. Woodward makes Gen Pace seem like a Yes-Man who has no courage and no thoughts of his own. but the full interview reveals a much more nuanced picture of the General — one that Woodward fails to convey in the book.

overall, the book is very entertaining … but I’m not sure as to the veracity of it. it is hard to determine how much is fact or fiction.

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