Monday, November 06, 2006

State of Denial

Bob Woodward's State of Denial is an enjoyable read about a distressing subject. Many of the other major books about the war have focused on problems in Iraq itseld, whether they be applying the wrong military strategy, mismanaging the reconstruction or failing to address the insurgency. This book puts much more focus on the interagency process in Washington, or more appropriately, the lack thereof.

Rumsfeld is the books, in some ways tragic, villain. He is clearly intelligent and perceptive. He is also portrayed as micromanaging and cruel. He appears to be more interested in winning bureaucratic battles than those Iraq. In some sections I was just dumbfounded at how he seemed to block reasonable efforts because they weren't made by "his" people. You also realize that Rumsfeld quest to prove his transformation concept was workable was one of the reasons for the war.

Woodward's books are always gossipy so you get to read what various figures think of each other. David Kay calls Condi Rice the worst national security advisor since the job was created. There are lots of negative labels thrown around in the book.

There are many more subjects covered, including the failures of intelligence (the DIA is made to look rather bad,) the strange hunt for WMD and the role of Prince Bandar (called by the President "my best asshole who knows about the world.) It is all immensely depressing.

1 comment:

lisa_emily said...

It's worse that I could ever imagine----depressing...