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The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008

The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008

Написано Bob Woodward

Озвучено Boyd Gaines


The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008

Написано Bob Woodward

Озвучено Boyd Gaines

оценки:
4/5 (7 оценки)
Длина:
6 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
8 сент. 2008 г.
ISBN:
9780743570510
Формат:

Описание

As violence in Iraq reaches unnerving levels in 2006, a second front in the war rages at the highest levels of the Bush administration. In his fourth book on President George W. Bush, Bob Woodward takes readers deep inside the tensions, secret debates, unofficial backchannels, distrust and determination within the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq. With unparalleled intimacy and detail, this gripping account of a president at war describes a period of distress and uncertainty within the U.S. government from 2006 through mid-2008.

The White House launches a secret strategy review that excludes the military. General George Casey, the commander in Iraq, believes that President Bush does not understand the war and eventually concludes he has lost the president's confidence. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also conduct a secret strategy review that goes nowhere. On the verge of revolt, they worry that the military will be blamed for a failure in Iraq.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly opposes a surge of additional U.S. forces and confronts the president, who replies that her suggestions would lead to failure. The president keeps his decision to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from Vice President Dick Cheney until two days before he announces it. A retired Army general uses his high-level contacts to shape decisions about the war, as Bush and Cheney use him to deliver sensitive messages outside the chain of command.

For months, the administration's strategy reviews continue in secret, with no deadline and no hurry, in part because public disclosure would harm Republicans in the November 2006 elections. National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley tells Rice, "We've got to do it under the radar screen because the electoral season is so hot."

The War Within provides an exhaustive account of the struggles of General David Petraeus, who takes over in Iraq during one of the bleakest and most violent periods of the war. It reveals how breakthroughs in military operations and surveillance account for much of the progress as violence in Iraq plummets in the middle of 2007.

Woodward interviewed key players, obtained dozens of never-before-published documents, and had nearly three hours of exclusive interviews with President Bush. The result is a stunning, firsthand history of the years from mid-2006, when the White House realizes the Iraq strategy is not working, through the decision to surge another 30,000 U.S. troops in 2007, and into mid-2008, when the war becomes a fault line in the presidential election.

The War Within addresses head-on questions of leadership, not just in war but in how we are governed and the dangers of unwarranted secrecy.
Издатель:
Издано:
8 сент. 2008 г.
ISBN:
9780743570510
Формат:

Об авторе

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post where he has worked for 50 years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his Watergate coverage and the other for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored 20 national bestselling books, 14 of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers.


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  • (4/5)
    In "The War Within," Bob Woodward offers a fourth book that considers the behind-the-scenes decision-making of the George W. Bush White House. Picking up where the previous book, "State of Denial," ended, this volume covers the period from mid-2006 to mid-2008. In particular, it explores the debates which led to the controversial surge of troops in Iraq under the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus.As in previous books, Woodward taps into his extensive network of sources and uses his stature to gain interviews with most of the principal characters. He also has access to certain secret documents prepared and used in the administration and military during this time period. Woodward's interviews and research reveals the contentious debates within the administration, particularly between State Department, the national security advisor, and key generals and military leaders. It also reveals that the president ignored the wishes of key advisors to approve the surge.Woodward's tone in this book oozes with disdain for the administration's approach to the issue, much like the previous volume on the Bush presidency. In particular, he is frustrated by the lack of transparency and honesty he perceives from Bush and other top officials regarding the war in Iraq. Having already attributed this, at least implicitly, to a poor decision-making structure in the administration, Woodward is a skeptical portrayer of these events. (In fairness, the military success of the surge was still very much in doubt when this book went to press.)Ironically, despite obvious problems in the sharing of information throughout the administration, the depiction of President Bush improves in this volume, though not in Woodward's own eyes. While the president still is less curious and probably less imaginative about the military conflict in Iraq than would be ideal, he proves to be a surprisingly capable leader in this volume. By following the advice of his national security advisor, he pushes for a reevaluation of the strategy in Iraq when it becomes obvious to him that it is not working. Unlike many others who were looking for the least painful solution to leaving Iraq – in some ways mirroring strategic discussions near the end of the Vietnam War – the president believed that the war was still winnable, or at least salvageable, contrary to most people, including many on his own staff. Some might see this as desperate hope, but the ability to execute such a dramatic strategic realignment mid-war should not be underappreciated.Despite some significant problems, including the unfortunate emotional tone, the book still features an excellent first draft of this key period in the Bush presidency. It is well-written and well researched, and offers some intriguing insights into the personalities of several of the key players, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of the key generals.
  • (4/5)
    Woodward' interviews on which this extensive library of books is based is a treasure of reporting on 20th century American history. That he is continuing with "Obama's wars" shows that we can probably expect these to continue so long as the author lives. An essential for any libraries on the American presidency.
  • (4/5)
    Bob Woodward’s The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 isn’t exactly a description of something secret about the Bush presidency. The judgment, as with all four Woodward books about the Bush presidency, is in the tone. At first, Woodward seemed to be impressed with the can-do mentality Bush radiated. However, the tone rapidly changed in following books. The last installment is in some ways as bizarre as the war in Iraq itself - in the end of course the main theme of all books. How to be enthusiastic about the ’surge’ without discussing the validity in historic perspective? By now it’s even clear to the staunchest of Bush aficionados that the Iraq war was an unjust war without a cause, which from a military viewpoint started with way too few troops. The so-called surge was no brilliant strategic move but a mere correction of a flaw known from the very beginning in a war that shouldn’t have been.The story of the book is simple. Bush lets generals decide, careful to avoid the bad example of Lyndon B. Johnson’s micromanagement of the Vietnam war. He assures his generals “tell me what you need, and I take care you’ll get it.” But in the end Bush becomes dissatisfied with the progress and slowly tips over to the surge solution. The tale is a horrid one about postponing decisions in a bloody and unjust war due to electoral considerations.The supposed nefarious role of the VP in the Bush administration is nowhere to be found in this book. Bush seems to be in control with his “gut feeling only” decisions. Careful analysis and subtle operations are nowhere to be seen. Logical - because were such qualities available in the Bush administration the Iraq war never would have taken place. The absence of Cheney might be caused by something else. It’s clear the VP isn’t very elated about telling the outside world what happens in the White House. It’s clear his agenda was not so much starting a war, but securing unlimited presidential powers. His forte was undoing constitutional guards that followed the criminal actions of the Nixon government.It’s weird however. Living through the Watergate area and collecting about everything I could find about it Nixon remained a tragic figure, mainly struggling with himself. A clever man turning to the Dark Side because of his fears and inferiority complexes, especially regarding the Kennedy’s. But George W. Bush never looks tragic in all his disastrous decisions. After eight years of number 43, it’s clear this man simply is what in the schoolyard we call a bully. And he’s surrounded by his kin as well. Some more subtle, other less. Nixon doubted all of his life. Bush never have seemed to. That might be the problem of this administration: they never doubted. They knew all the answers. But it was all preconceived wisdom. They didn’t care about subtleties, analysis and careful considerations. That’s what makes them all so unsympathetic: basically they all were a bunch of bullying know-it-alls. Woodward’s books might contain some admiration for Dubya, but it doesn’t seem to hide that cold fact.
  • (4/5)
    Bob Woodward has provided another candid, incisive, and informative window into the personalities, key players, and power brokers who have helped shape and implement the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. He provides detailed accounts of candid, sometimes back room discussions among the key figures who have shaped American military policy in Iraq in the waning years of the Bush administration. This includes figures such as Bush's key advisor Stephen Hadley, Peter Pace, Stephen Petraeus as well as the obvious Bush officials Condi Rice and Dick Cheney.Woodward's portrait is well-balanced and highlights both shortcomings, such as internal debates about Iraq policy (or lack thereof) among his senior aides; to the apparent success of measures like "the surge" and "Anbar Awakening." He then turns to providing some developing impressions about Bush's possible legacy, as well as what the next president (at the time of publication it was down to McCain and Obama), and what he will inherit.Woodward, who has authored countless acclaimed books on presidential politics, including three previous books in the "Bush at War" series, was granted unprecedented access. He also provides clear, cogent analysis of the key players and factions in Iraq- from the dubious initial role of Chalabi, to the missteps of Bremer's transitional government, to the election of Maliki as the president of Iraq. He also interestingly observes how, among the three main factions in Iraq (Sunni, Shia and Kurds), the Shia, in addition to being the most numerous, also control the lion share of the vast, rich, oil fields of southern Iraq.Overall an excellent book by an acclaimed, award-winning author and reporter, who as many may remember, broke the Watergate story way back when along with Bernstein.My one critique of this book is that, while the access and detailed reporting are outstanding, I was hoping for more analysis and narrative commentary from Woodward. Then again- that is not really his "shtick." If you like Woodward's other books and his columns you will love this book, but be mindful that he leaves the reader to connect a lot of the dots and draw their own conclusions from his detailed accounts of this arguably dubious era in presidential history.
  • (3/5)
    Woodward always writes well and this book is informative to us white house junkies. I lost interest about 2/3 through as did my husband as it felt like the same things were being said over and over.