"Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year." This was the secret Pentagon assessment sent to the White House in May 2006. The forecast of a more violent 2007 in Iraq contradicted the repeated optimistic statements of President Bush, including one, two days earlier, when he said we were at a "turning point" that history would mark as the time "the forces of terror began their long retreat."
State of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves. Two days after the May report, the Pentagon told Congress, in a report required by law, that the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
In this detailed inside story of a war-torn White House, Bob Woodward reveals how White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, with the indirect support of other high officials, tried for 18 months to get Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replaced. The president and Vice President Cheney refused. At the beginning of Bush's second term, Stephen Hadley, who replaced Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser, gave the administration a "D minus" on implementing its policies. A SECRET report to the new Secretary of State Rice from her counselor stated that, nearly two years after the invasion, Iraq was a "failed state."
State of Denial reveals that at the urging of Vice President Cheney and Rumsfeld, the most frequent outside visitor and Iraq adviser to President Bush is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who, haunted still by the loss in Vietnam, emerges as a hidden and potent voice.
Woodward reveals that the secretary of defense himself believes that the system of coordination among departments and agencies is broken, and in a SECRET May 1, 2006, memo, Rumsfeld stated, "the current system of government makes competence next to impossible."
State of Denial answers the core questions: What happened after the invasion of Iraq? Why? How does Bush make decisions and manage a war that he chose to define his presidency? And is there an achievable plan for victory?
Bob Woodward's third book on President Bush is a sweeping narrative -- from the first days George W. Bush thought seriously about running for president through the recruitment of his national security team, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the struggle for political survival in the second term.
After more than three decades of reporting on national security decision making -- including his two #1 national bestsellers on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush at War (2002) and Plan of Attack (2004) -- Woodward provides the fullest account, and explanation, of the road Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the White House staff have walked.
Bob Woodward's latest book on the Bush administration (following Bush at War, 2002; and Plan of Attack, 2004) doesn't pick up where Plan of Attack left off but instead sweeps back to offer an overview of
the Presidential life and times of George W. Bush, from the days when he first thought seriously about running for President, through the recruitment of his national security team, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his second term as President.
The media reviews for State of Denial are mixed. While most praise
the book itself, a number of reviewers comment on the considerable delta between Woodward's depiction of Bush in his first two books and his portrayal of him in State of Denial. Woodward's portrayal of Bush as an intellectually
incurious man whose religious convictions make him disinclined to deviate from his chosen path even if, in Bush's words, "Laura and Barney are the only ones who support me" (Barney being the presidential dog), stands in contrast to the
resolute leader of Bush at War (2002), standing firm at the helm of his country. As Rick Perlstein, writing for the New York Observer asks, "Why couldn’t Mr. Woodward have exploited his
unique insider access to alert the Washington establishment sooner about the danger of harboring this feckless man-child in their midst? ... Or to put it in a way Bob Woodward would find familiar: What did the reporter know and when did he know it?" (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The New York Observer - Rick Perlstein
Considering that the subject and substance of Mr. Woodward’s three books overlap, doesn’t the revision indict the originals? If Part III is the better book because it’s a more accurate portrayal of the Bush administration’s abject failures and inadequacies, doesn’t that make the author look worse? What was he withholding? (The word “Bandar,” for instance, is absent from Bush at War.) What was the eureka moment? Why couldn’t Mr. Woodward have exploited his unique insider access to alert the Washington establishment sooner about the danger of harboring this feckless man-child in their midst?
The New York Times Book Review - Franklin Foer
For the past decade, [Woodward] has received unending abuse .... His critics have turned him into a symbol of journalism's rot, a leading force in the sad demise of adversarial reporting ..... With 'State of Denial, you sense this (somewhat overwrought) critique has rattled Woodward. It has forced him to change his style. There's less of his signature omniscience here -- a style that not only reflected his proximity to power, but captured the self-confidence of the Washington Establishment. In its place, he has grown self-referential, nervously mentioning his past books, as well as inserting himself as a character into his own tale. That Bob Woodward has strayed from the Bob Woodward method tells you a lot about the state of American journalism.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
As depicted by Mr. Woodward, this is an administration in which virtually no one will speak truth to power, an administration in which the traditional policy-making process involving methodical analysis and debate is routinely subverted.
The Boston Globe - Chuck Leddy
[B]rimming with vivid details about White House meetings, critical phone calls, intelligence reports, and military affairs ..... Woodward's impressively detailed and eye-opening revelations about the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and its aftermath are meeting with some of the same "denials" referenced in the book's title. `"With all of Bush's upbeat talk and optimism," Woodward writes, "he had not told the American public the truth about what Iraq had become."
The Wall Street Journal - Peggy Noonan
Serious, densely, even exhaustively reported, and a real contribution to history in that it gives history what it most requires, first-person testimony....This is a primer on how the executive branch of the United States works, or rather doesn't work, in the early years of the 21st century.
The Washington Post - Ted Widmer
Woodward's new book, the third in his trilogy on George W. Bush, conveys a great deal of information, none of it good for the president and his team. It gives far more operational detail on Iraq than its predecessor, Plan of Attack. It also goes much further in asserting the author's distaste for the war and the administration's handling of it than anything Woodward has written previously. In fact, it is the angriest book Woodward has written since his first, All the President's Men. Like that masterpiece, State of Denial feels all the more outraged for its measured, nonpartisan tones and relentless reporting. It is nothing less than a watershed.
Starred Review. If there ever was a crystalline indictment of a president's wartime decisions, this is it.
The Sydney Morning Herald - Bruce Wolpe
Is Bob Woodward about to bring down his second president of the United States? While George Bush is unlikely to be driven from office by State of Denial, there is every prospect that this enormously sober and painful exegesis of what happened after Bush launched the war in Iraq will help seal, as All The President's Men did for Richard Nixon, the public's judgement of his presidency.
Robert Upshur Woodward, known as Bob, was born in March 1943 in Geneva,
Illinois. He studied history and English literature at Yale, receiving his
B.A. in 1965, after which he spent four years as a Naval officer. He was
discharged as a Lieutenant in 1970 after serving as an aide to the Chief of
Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas H Moorer. He was hired by The Washington
Post but was let go after his two-week trial because he lacked any experience as
a journalist. After a year working for the Montgomery Sentinel, he
reapplied to The Washington Post and was given a job in August 1971. Less
than a year, later Woodward and Carl Bernstein were assigned to investigate the
burglary of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in a
Washington D.C. hotel called Watergate, which led to them uncovering various
"dirty tricks" used by Nixon's re-election committee. The resulting book,
All The President's Men, became a bestseller, and the movie staring
Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein turned them into...
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