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Blind Into Baghdad (Whoopee Cushions & Desparate Housewives WH)

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 10:53 PM
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Blind Into Baghdad (Whoopee Cushions & Desparate Housewives WH)

On July 20, 2005, a remote-activated explosive device detonated during a senior staff meeting at the White House. That device, according to Bob Woodward's remarkable new book, was a new form of stealth whoopee cushion, placed strategically under the chair of Karl Rove, senior adviser to the president, and discharged to cacophonous laughter all around. The prank had been planned for a staff meeting on July 7 but was postponed because of the terrorist bombings in London that day. July 20 was deemed a much more propitious day -- all that happened was the release of a new survey of the war placing the total number of Iraqi dead at 25,000.

A week after its hasty release, millions of Americans have heard the stunning accusations leveled in State of Denial . If journalism is the first draft of history, President Bush is going to have a very hard time in the posterity he is now approaching. Woodward's new book, the third in his trilogy on George W. Bush, conveys a great deal of information, none of it good for the president and his team. It gives far more operational detail on Iraq than its predecessor, Plan of Attack . It also goes much further in asserting the author's distaste for the war and the administration's handling of it than anything Woodward has written previously. In fact, it is the angriest book Woodward has written since his first, All the President's Men . Like that masterpiece, State of Denial feels all the more outraged for its measured, nonpartisan tones and relentless reporting. It is nothing less than a watershed.

The book begins in December 2000, with a shaky president-elect searching for the right secretary of defense and giving in to Dick Cheney's suggestion that his old friend Donald Rumsfeld is available. The story continues to very near the present (July 2006), when Woodward conducts the last of his many interviews with Rumsfeld. It gives a full chronicle of the Iraq adventure, including far more than has been previously reported on what our leaders said and did after the apparent victory of March 2003. In so doing, it reveals a government crippled by dysfunction at precisely the wartime moment when leadership was most necessary.

For many years, we have been hearing the stories of both the failures and the successes coming out of the Iraqi desert. It now appears that the failures were more pronounced than we knew and the successes more fabricated. Judging from the alacrity with which nearly everyone on the Bush team has talked to Woodward, it seems the entire enterprise is now foundering under a pessimism completely out of sync with the cheerful optimism of presidential pronouncements.

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