Idrees Ahmad points out to me that there’s an American Enterprise Institute connection in Bob Woodward’s new book:
Last night I finished Woodward’s new book, The War Within.
Unlike some of his past works this one has little that is of any value. Filled with mundane and insignificant details about people in and around the US government, the book’s few revelations don’t arrive until 379 pages in. Most interesting for me was how much influence AEI still exerts over the administration.
According to Woodward, Bush’s national security policy is completely dominated by Stephen Hadley, which really means Cheney. And in the face of resistance from the military, Defense, State and Intelligence, Hadley has been employing a back channel through AEI’s Jack Keane (former general) to push for the surge. They circumvented the chain of command to push the surge in the face of the military’s opposition by establishing a direct line from Cheney>Keane>Petraeus, bypassing the Joint Chiefs and Gates. Despite repeated warnings from generals, Keane keeps visiting Iraq and returns with rosy pictures that he relays directly to Cheney-Bush. Woodward makes no comment on the fact that what Keane is relaying has little resemblance to actual developments in Iraq.
The other revelation is that apparently on his return from that
famous walk in the Baghdad market, McCain told Rice in private the war was a disaster and that the US was losing.
Finally, on Woodward’s journalistic practices: when he gets a chance to interview Bush, he uses part of the time to ask such questions as ‘Do you pray for your policies’, ‘do you speak to your pastor’. In another place he reveals that US has been using special ops death squads to target resistance leaders. However, he says his sources told him that revealing details would jeopardize these operations. And Woodward is certainly not one to do that.
The totality of the book’s revelations are between page 375-382. The rest one can safely skip!