Friday, September 29, 2006

Will The Woodward Book Keep Iraq In The News?

I watched the 8:00PM repeat of The Colbert Report last night. During the segment known as "The Word," Colbert said he couldn't remember what the word was and began searching through different newspapers to see if the headlines would jar his memory. He saw the Clinton/Wallace blow-up, the Condi/Hillary "smackdown" and some other meaningless tabloid stories but nothing that helped him remember "The Word."

Later it turned out "The Word" was Iraq.

No wonder Stephen couldn't find anything in the news to help jar his memory. The news media relegates all the Iraq stories to page A20.

But Bob Woodward, the official court stenographer of the Bush administration, has a new book about the Iraq war coming out called "State of Denial" and The New York Times front-pages that story:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”


Robert D. Blackwill, then the top Iraq adviser on the National Security Council, is said to have issued his warning about the need for more troops in a lengthy memorandum sent to Ms. Rice. The book says Mr. Blackwill’s memorandum concluded that more ground troops, perhaps as many as 40,000, were desperately needed.

It says that Mr. Blackwill and L. Paul Bremer III, then the top American official in Iraq, later briefed Ms. Rice and Stephen J. Hadley, her deputy, about the pressing need for more troops during a secure teleconference from Iraq. It says the White House did nothing in response.


Vice President Cheney is described as a man so determined to find proof that his claim about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was accurate that, in the summer of 2003, his aides were calling the chief weapons inspector, David Kay, with specific satellite coordinates as the sites of possible caches. None resulted in any finds.


The book describes an exchange in early 2003 between Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the retired officer Mr. Bush appointed to administer postwar Iraq, and President Bush and others in the White House situation room. It describes senior war planners as having been thoroughly uninterested in the details of the postwar mission.

After General Garner finished his PowerPoint presentation — which included his plan to use up to 300,000 troops of the Iraqi Army to help secure postwar Iraq, the book says — there were no questions from anyone in the situation room, and the president gave him a rousing sendoff.

But it was General Garner who was soon removed, in favor of Mr. Bremer, whose actions in dismantling the Iraqi army and removing Baathists from office were eventually disparaged within the government.

Leaving aside Bob Woodward's own "state of denial" about his relationship with the members of the Bush administration for the moment, this book comes out at the wrong time for the administration.

Already trying to quell the furor over an NIE report that says the Iraq war is fomenting terrorism and making the United States less safe in the war on terror, now the administration is going to have to deal with Booby's book tour and appearances on the Sunday talk shows/cable shows for the next week or so where the storyline is the administration completely fucked up the post-war phase of the Iraq occupation.

The administration is desperate to move the political conversation away from Iraq toward anything else. They would prefer to talk about terrorism, of course, since they think that conversation gives them a political advantage come November, but frankly they would even talk about the health benefits of playing mah jong if they could avoid the Iraq war conversation.

So how do they turn the conversation away from Iraq? As Colbert noted in yesterday's show, the news media is already predisposed to giving the war little to no coverage. 68 American military personnel have died this month, but rarely outside of the Lou Dobbs Show do those casualty numbers get reported. The New York Times and The Washington Post still cover the war, but they rarely place the stories on pages where people are actually going to read them.

The Bush administration has had to do little else but provide some dog and pony shows over domestic surveillance or detainee rights in order to get the news media to forget completely about Iraq and cover what the administration wants them to cover. The NIE report changed that somewhat. Booby's new book will continue that trend. But it remains to be seen for how long. The news media are like little dogs eager to follow the bouncing ball wherever it goes and you know that Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman (Abramoff's favorite guys) have a whole month of bouncing balls for the news media to eagerly follow in October.

That aside, the details in Woodward's book about just how much the administration fucked up the post-invastion are horrifying. That anyone, even the most ardent Bush apologist, would take these fucking guys and girls seriously about anything, is beyond me.

It always amazed me that anyone could take Bush seriously. Even during the 2000 campaign, he looked and acted like a 12-year-old pretending to be a grownup.

I think Woodward's book is a mild foreshadowing of what history is going to say about this administration. They've taken incompetence and arrogance to an entirely new level.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?