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The War Within
September 8, 2008 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Bob Woodward has a new book released today titled The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. The Politico has a lengthy review by Mike Allen. Bloomberg also has an early, less flattering, review.

From the Politico:
“[Bush] remains a man of few doubts, still following his gut, convinced that the path he has chosen is right. But in other ways, the 61-year-old president I encountered in May 2008 was a different man entirely. … Seven years of war have taken a visible toll. His hair is much grayer, and the line in his face deeper and more pronounced. …

“During the first years of the Iraq War, the president always spoke about ‘winning’ or ‘victory.’ By 2008, he seemed to have tempered his expectations. Twice in the interview when he mentioned ‘win,’ he immediately corrected himself and said ‘succeed,’ a subtle but definite scaling back of his one fiery rhetoric. …
While hard to believe, the Politico also reports from the book that:
“Bush later acknowledged in interviews with me that he did not seek recommendations [on Iraq] from four key people: his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who had overseen the first Gulf War in 1991; Secretary of State Colin Powell; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; and CIA Director George Tenet.”
The Bloomberg review delivers an excellent one-liner:
"The War Within,'' the fourth volume of Bob Woodward's Bush administration chronicles, radiating certainty, strength and presidentialness. It must have been a challenge for him to walk so confidently with Woodward's lips attached to his backside.
posted by McGuillicuddy (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Humanizing... villains... Confirmation of Confirmation Bias's... Did not seek reccomendations... Cheney fishing... (slumps)
posted by cavalier at 2:35 PM on September 8, 2008


The WaPo has been running excerpts. (Hope the link works...)
posted by rtha at 2:37 PM on September 8, 2008


Haven't read the articles (yet), but I saw the 60 Minutes piece last night (1 2).

What's with the newfangled military technology (or is he talking about a technique?) about which Woodward is slyly dropping hints? Are we really supposed to believe the military has created a new piece of equipment to rival the tank or the airplane, and somebody spilled the beans to Bob Woodward?

If so, isn't he worried they're going to use it on him?
posted by jckll at 2:39 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are we really supposed to believe the military has created a new piece of equipment to rival the tank or the airplane

It's called The Contractor, and it operates by avoiding the Geneva Convention and other "reality-based" rules. Terrifying stuff, if I were Woodward I'd be scared too.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:53 PM on September 8, 2008 [9 favorites]


Seven years of war have taken a visible toll. His hair is much grayer, and the line in his face deeper and more pronounced.

I too have grayer hair and deeper lines than I did seven years ago. It must have been the war! There is no other explanation of how these changes could have occurred over so many years.
posted by brain_drain at 3:29 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seven years of war have taken a visible toll. His hair is much grayer, and the line in his face deeper and more pronounced.

I too have grayer hair and deeper lines than I did seven years ago. It must have been the war! There is no other explanation of how these changes could have occurred over so many years.


Yeah, I don't think it had to do with the war or being president. I mean, did you see how much time that guy took off down in Crawford? He should have aged backwards.
posted by starman at 3:44 PM on September 8, 2008


What's with the newfangled military technology (or is he talking about a technique?) about which Woodward is slyly dropping hints? Are we really supposed to believe the military has created a new piece of equipment to rival the tank or the airplane, and somebody spilled the beans to Bob Woodward?

I googled "secret operational capabilities" and found this washington post article.

At the end is this note:
[On Saturday, a Washington Post report by Joby Warrick and Robin Wright provided a more detailed look at U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq. They reported that "fusion cells" of special forces and intelligence officers, using spycraft with sensors and cameras that can track targets, have captured or killed hundreds of suspected terrorists and their supporters in recent months.]
I think that the "new equipment" is UAVs with very sophisticated cameras that are capable of staying in the air for hours (days?). Imagine that tied to facial recognition software. Track anyone you want. Then just send in the UAV with the bomb.
posted by Bort at 4:21 PM on September 8, 2008


Here's much more info I just found on the fusion cells.
Huge computer screens hang from the ceiling, displaying aerial surveillance images relayed from Predator, Schweizer and tiny Gnat spycraft. The Bush administration's 2009 supplementary budget request included $1.3 billion to fund 28 unmanned aircraft, officials said, and all will go to the interagency teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the Air Force.

For the Joint Task Force, the CIA provides intelligence analysts and spycraft with sensors and cameras that can track targets, vehicles or equipment for up to 14 hours. FBI forensic experts dissect data, from cellphone information to the "pocket litter" found on extremists. Treasury officials track funds flowing among extremists and from governments. National Security Agency staffers intercept conversations or computer data, and members of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency use high-tech equipment to pinpoint where suspected extremists are using phones or computers.
posted by Bort at 4:30 PM on September 8, 2008


Seven years of war have taken a visible toll. His hair is much grayer, and the line in his face deeper and more pronounced.

I too have grayer hair and deeper lines than I did seven years ago. It must have been the war! There is no other explanation of how these changes could have occurred over so many years.


I have to say that I've always seen stories written about the toll the Oval Office takes on the appearance of the President. I remember such a story about Carter, for heaven's sake! And he was only in office for one term.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:45 PM on September 8, 2008


“Seven years of war have taken a visible toll. His hair is much grayer, and the line in his face deeper and more pronounced.”

This would be predicated on him, y’know, caring about the war.
Nah. Not enough fiber.

Boy, locking in a strategy is the best way to win something. That’s why I always go with ‘rock,’ every time, instead of flimsy ‘paper’ or radical ‘scissors.’ Good ol’ rock. Nothing beats that.

“Retired Army General Jack Keane, formerly vice chief of staff, the number two man in the U.S. Army, told Woodward: “Let’s be frank about what’s happening here. … Let’s assume we have a Democratic administration and they want to pull this thing out quickly, and now they have to deal with General Petraeus and General Odierno. There will be a price to be paid to override them.”

I would hope that price would be large boots up their General asses if they have a problem with following the directives of civilian leadership.
...’course, it’s the democrats...
posted by Smedleyman at 5:05 PM on September 8, 2008


reading Woodward's obscenely deferential books about Bush made me seriously wonder if Nixon after all was innocent
posted by matteo at 5:29 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huge computer screens hang from the ceiling, displaying aerial surveillance images relayed from Predator, Schweizer and tiny Gnat spycraft.

Out of curiosity, I Googled the Gnat and found this. Is this what they're talking about? 'Cause a craft with a wingspan of over 40 feet doesn't exactly count as tiny in my book. I was imagining some scary little contraption that can fly through doors.

/derail
posted by brundlefly at 6:25 PM on September 8, 2008


I think that the "new equipment" is UAVs with very sophisticated cameras that are capable of staying in the air for hours (days?). Imagine that tied to facial recognition software. Track anyone you want. Then just send in the UAV with the bomb.

We don't have to imagine it, we can see the consequences on MetaFilter.
posted by Chuckles at 7:46 PM on September 8, 2008


That 60 Minutes piece did nothing but confirm to me that a once great servant of the American people is now nothing but a tool wielded by the Administration. The guy is so far up the Admin's ass it's amazing they could get a camera on him for the interview. Notice how the over-all theme of the piece was that the surge was a success?? Interesting approach with what, two months to an election? What a piece of crap.
posted by spicynuts at 8:02 PM on September 8, 2008


Also, if this 'new equipment' is so freakin good in Iraq, WHY THE FUCK AREN'T THEY USING IT IN AFGHANISTAN or PAKISTAN WHERE THE FUCKING AL QAEDA HEADQUARTERS MOST LIKELY EXIST????
posted by spicynuts at 8:03 PM on September 8, 2008


Just be patient. We will all find out what this new equipment or technique is when it gets out of the testing phase and they start to use it here at home against us.
posted by chillmost at 3:52 AM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also I notice a pattern:
1. Woodward granted 1 on 1 access to the president and other admin officials.
2. Woodward writes revealing book about what went down on the inside
3. Bush administration denies what was in the book, despite being supported by recorded candid interviews with president and others.
4. Profit.
5. Rinse
6. Repeat.
posted by chillmost at 4:08 AM on September 9, 2008


Dirty Wars in Baghdad
posted by homunculus at 8:52 AM on September 9, 2008


related question: can someone please explain to me from a tactical perspective why the "surge" was such a complicated issue? My understanding is that from the very beginning the military wanted to send in vastly more troops than the civilian leadership was comfortable with. If I'm a Democrat running against a Republican who backed the surge (I'm looking at you, Obama!) I'd be making points like "Sure, the surge worked, too bad the leadership took such careless decisions back in 2003 that have contributed to the deaths of some 4000 of our soldiers and the wounding of countless others, American and otherwise."
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:25 AM on September 9, 2008


If I were a Democrat running against a Republican, I'd point out the dirty secret which niether of the current candidates want to talk about, namely that the drop in violence is largely due to the brutally effective ethnic cleansing which took place.

I would not be a very successful politician.
posted by homunculus at 2:20 PM on September 9, 2008


The Rising Cost of the Iraq 'Surge'
posted by homunculus at 2:22 PM on September 9, 2008


What's with the newfangled military technology (or is he talking about a technique?) about which Woodward is slyly dropping hints?

Danger Room suggests it might be the "Tagging, Tracking and Locating" program.
posted by homunculus at 4:06 PM on September 9, 2008




This is interesting: Killer drones that can see through walls.
posted by homunculus at 4:58 PM on September 17, 2008


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