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State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III Paperback – September 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- Ted Widmer, The Washington Post Book World
"Serious, densely, even exhaustively reported, and a real contribution to history in that it gives history what it most requires, first-person testimony....This is a primer on how the executive branch of the United States works, or rather doesn't work, in the early years of the 21st century."
-- Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
"Never-before-reported nuggets in every chapter....It offers the most revealing in-the-room glimpse of the Bush administration that we have so far."
-- Walter Shapiro, Salon.com
"State of Denial is brimming with vivid details about White House meetings, critical phone calls, intelligence reports, and military affairs....Impressively detailed and eye-opening revelations about the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and its aftermath."
-- Chuck Leddy, The Boston Globe
"Woodward's book is packed with details about the gulf between the information the administration had and the picture it presented."
-- USA Today
"Woodward's trilogy on the Bush administration at war is essential, and compelling, reading."
-- Foreign Affairs
Top Customer Reviews
I emerged from reading State of Denial, the follow-up to Woodward's two previous books concerning the Bush administration, not only shaken and depressed but renewed in my sympathy for those American troops enduring the nightmare that is my nation's ongoing and misguided military presence in the crumbling, nominal country of Iraq. This book is beyond pessimistic but its message that things will only get worse in the future is backed up by data and testimony that seems all but undeniable. Here Woodward has interviewed top policy makers and those who were or are involved in running our shallow national policy on the Iraq War. As a result Donald Rumsfeld is exposed as a dictatorial yes-man whose frequent careless mistakes have cost many lives. It is revealed that a number of insiders, including the First Lady pleaded with the President to replace Rumsfeld with someone else: preferably an old guard GOP figure like James Baker. Tommy Franks and other generals are shown as short-sighted and clueless figures, often hamstrung by Washington, unable to plan for those long-term goals that should have followed an apparently easy victory in 2003.Read more ›
Selecting Cheney as V.P. running-mate also helped set things in the wrong direction - his bias towards finding evidence of WMD (eg. digging into unverified intelligence cables), focus on secrecy and regaining executive powers underlay much of the Iraq War marketing. Then there was Bush's selection of Rumsfeld for Secretary of Defense - partly based on the idea of proving Bush #1 wrong (didn't trust Rumsfeld, thought him too self-sure and arrogant), and Rumsfeld's subsequent selection of Joint Chiefs Chairmen that were easy to roll over (eg. reduce requested Iraq troop strength; fail to take their issues directly to Bush, per Nichols-Goldwater).
(Failing to send enough troops into Iraq probably is the single most disastrous mistake made in Iraq War II, other than invading in the first place.Read more ›
Now, much of this information has been available in less reputable sources for quite a while. What Woodward accomplishes is to provide a well reasoned and researched indictment of the Bush White House. Time will tell if the facts in here are correct, but assuming the majority are the conclusion is that the US has been poorly served by an incompetent government.
One of America's most venerated (if not also infamous) investigative journalist succinctly restates our case in his most recent book. At this point, it's not that he is making the case that Bush is a dangerous incompetent; it's at this particular point in this specific administration and pulling all of the information together with his conclusion. Their elaborate house of cards now rapidly falls down, but the Bush administration officials honestly continue on believing that their public policy is totally workable because they have constructed policy which intentionally does not require functioning in a state of reality.
Since one of the general criticisms of Bush and his administration is their being locked away in `fantasy world' reading this work filled me with both a sense of comedic relief and ironic dejavu. How much further will America have to slide into chaos before we finally leave Iraq?
Interviews conducted with Former White House Press Secretary Andrew Card drive home the point that Iraq was an operation just waiting to be bungled and the Administration knew how badly things were going all while feeding the American people spin otherwise.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book really painted George W. in a likable manner. I personally still don't think he was a great president, but this book made me see him as another flawed human being. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Taylor
This certainly has to be one of the best books written on the subject. Woodward was careful not to go into scorched earth territory, something that the talented but angry writer... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Fred Houpt