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The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 by [Woodward, Bob]
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The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 Kindle Edition

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Product Details

  • File Size: 19993 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (September 3, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 8, 2008
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001EHF8VY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,215 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The War Within" is Woodward's 15th book, and his fourth about the Bush administration. I received an advance copy.

Woodward interviewed President George W. Bush twice, and he interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

I've noticed that in all of Woodward's books about Bush, he seemed to be full of praise for Bush when Bush was flying high in the ratings. But when Bush was low in approval ratings, so was Woodward's opinion. So I've got to question if Woodward has gone from the great investigative reporter he once was to an establishment me-too type.

After reading this, one can only be grateful that the Bush presidency is close to an end. Trouble is, it leaves a mess behind.

According to Woodward, the surge has worked but Bush failed to lead and made numerous blunders that were very costly.

The White House's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, put out a statement Friday, Sept. 5, prior to release of the book, disputing some of the assertions made by Woodward.

Woodward says that Bush has not told the American public the truth about Iraq and the war in general. But I found it of interest that Bush allowed Woodward to interview him and give him access. He said that Bush seems to have aged considerably during his long tenure in office --- he has a "paunch" and slumps when sitting.

Of Bush Woodward says, "He did not seek sacrifice from most of the country when he had the chance. He did not even mobilize his own party. Republicans often voiced as much suspicion and distrust as Democrats. The president was rarely the voice of realism on the Iraq war.
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Format: Hardcover
"The War Within" begins portraying the Iraq chaos in 2006 - violence and American casualties are increasing, while Bush portrays a rosy picture and his staff realize our strategy needs to be reviewed. Bush agrees, but the "really bad news" is that this strategy review had no deadline and the emphasis was on it being conducted "under the radar" to avoid causing consternation during an election year.

General Casey, head of U.S. forces in Iraq, is trying to convince Bush to reduce troops in Iraq - we were making the Iraqis dependent on us and our large pressure was a sign of disrespect for them. He and General Abizaid had seen how the ethnic groups in the Balkans didn't reconcile until the violence got totally out of hand. Nonetheless, Bush seemed plugged into an attrition strategy (keep killing them until they run out of bodies), but Vietnam had proved that didn't work. Rumsfeld supported Casey - in fact, this was in line with his "new, light" Army vision.

Bush's decision-making style was "gut driven" - thus, his decisions lacked a process to examine consequences, alternatives, and motives. Further, he refused to allow talks with Iran and Syria - even though wanted by his area chief, Admiral Fallon. Finally, lacking deadlines, strategy reviews were underway, but with no seeming movement to fruition.

Retired General Jack Keane emerges as the hero in all this internal chaos, warfare, and delay. Being a member of the Defense Policy Board, he had access to up-to-date information on Iraq, and was encouraged by fellow member Newt Gingrich to take his thoughts to Rumsfeld. Keane's one-man, self-initiated effort outperformed those of all the other groups (eg.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From "The War Within":

"In Baghdad, [General] Casey appreciated the president's repeated public votes of confidence. But he kept asking himself: What do civilian leaders bring to such a war? After all, neither the full capacity of the U.S. government nor the American people were ever mobilized. No one ever articulated a grand strategy about what the heck the United States was doing. Nearly everything fell to the military."

Actually, the U.S. did have a strategy in 2006 as articulated repeatedly by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. That strategy was 1) train up Iraqi security forces so they could take over the mission and 2) disengage the U.S. military so it would provide additional impetus to the Iraqis to help themselves. The problem was, this strategy wasn't working and had not been working for the previous three years. General Casey was frustrated and he was right about one thing--there was no "grand strategy" that had been formulated and that was being executed by the Bush Administration to bring both political and military resources to bear to strive towards a successful outcome in Iraq. That would come later.

I have always been amazed at the access that Bob Woodward has to high level sources who share with him the inner discussions, challenges and decisions that are made at the highest civilian and military leadership levels. Even President Bush gave extensive interviews to Mr. Woodward who was able to weave the various point of views together to produce a coherent and fresh look at a complex and vexing situation which has cost an enormous amount of human lives and national treasure. History is still being written. The jury is still out.
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