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January 15, 2009



I got two lessons from Woodward, one was that he didn't open his yap about Armitage early or widely enough, and the other is the depth of the depravity of Mark Felt.

Thomas Collins

My favorite is #9, in which Woodward cites Clinton's economic policies as a fine model of strategic thinking. Somehow missing from Woodward's analysis of Clinton's strategic thinking is Clinton's strategy in dealing with the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the African embassy bombings and the USS Cole bombing.

Danube of Thought

We now see that Woodward should have been president all along.



In May 2008, Bush insisted to me that he, of all people, knew all too well what the war was about.

How dare the President say that when we all know Wormwood knows so much more. He wrote books and did interviews and stuff...


Good grief. Did he write a 10 lessons from Clinton for Bush?


Let's ask an radical atheist to give ten lessons one could learn from the Pope.

mark l.

didn't woodward just write a book that suggested that it was the generals that Bush was fighting with over the surge, which eventually was vindicated?

had he followed woodwards's suggestion number three:

"3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

The president should not micromanage, but understanding the ramifications of his positions cannot be outsourced to anyone.

For example, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004-07, concluded that President Bush lacked a basic grasp of what the Iraq war was about. Casey believed that Bush, who kept asking for enemy body counts, saw the war as a conventional battle, rather than the counterinsurgency campaign to win over the Iraqi population that it was. "We cannot kill our way to victory in Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus said later. In May 2008, Bush insisted to me that he, of all people, knew all too well what the war was about."

Casey opposed the surge, right?


Come on Mark. Don't interrupt Woodward's windbagginess with facts.

Ralph L

Like the rest of us, Bush wanted to know that we weren't just taking casualties in Iraq--that we were reducing the enemy.

Ralph L

Lesson #1: Don't talk to Woodward, and don't hire people who do (Powell).

mark l.

"4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure bad news makes it to the Oval Office."

I'm thinking that the press did a decnt job of conveying bad news for all to see.

maybe this one was meant for the messiah, becuase I tend to doubt that the media will be as effusive with bad news during his tenure.


Cheney, in recent comments, states that he is going to write a book and name names. I. Can't. Wait.

mark l.

point taken ralph.

If the kia's were Iraqis, it might have been of lesser importance.

Every AQ corpse meant fewer fighters in Afghanistan.

Every dead bombmaker was one that would never ply his trade elsewhere.

The numbers of the casaulites was an essential guage in understanding the flux and change of the war, when you look at the subcategories, distinguishing between indigenous Sunnis and imported fighters.

I can think of no better guage of the state of war than body count...if they don't matter, why has the left obsessed on our losses?


I hope he writes fast and publishes soon.


Among them from the clans, Quahtani,(Baghdad & Fallujah)Ghamdi (Mosul, the son of the Saudi Ambassador to the Sudan) and Uteibi, no specific location. So now that Bin Laden's capture is no longer a priority and we apparently can deploy faster out of Iraq, and into Afghanistan, sending Effendi Quahtani back home, closing down Gitmo,it's like conceding to all their demands at once, isn't it

It didn't help that Zelikow kept giving him copies of State Department cables; which appeared in "State of Denial"


I. Can't. Wait.

Neither can I.


LUN for the actual FISA ruling in case anyone is interested.


states that he is going to write a book and name names.

settle scores I. Can't. Wait. Too.


I'm just impressed about an appeals decision that actually cites the relevant law; look how my standards have fallen.


narciso! I'm busy and leaving town tomorrow. Pls respond to my last emial or I will shot and skin you...maybe..


As well as the length of your posts, narciso.

Off-Topic: Has anyone here ever seen local currency like the LUN???


Plane down in NY (Hudson River) - see LUN.

Danube of Thought

Nothing written by Woodward should ever be read without an understanding of his cozy relationship with the jack-legged backstabber Colin Powell. Powell was a very ready source of anonymous Powell-favoring, ass-covering leaks to Woodward before and during Gulf War I, and has curried favor with him (in return for fawning, sycophantish treatment) ever since.


Luck doesn't exist. We should use like diplomats, NASA and now dems and deny like dyslexia.

I'll take the winning lottery numbers now. I'll even stare at shit.

Captain Hate

settle scores I. Can't. Wait. Too.

Countdown for lefty heads exploding. He'll be Olberdouche's permanent worst person in the world.


#3 was never Casey's call. Gen Holland's call, but it was not given to Holland. Biggest mistake of the war.


I date the collapse of journalism to Watergate. To be sure, it was a public service to expose Nixon's support of supra-legal activities, but it left journalism a 40-year poisoned legacy of "gotcha" and celebrity journalism. They unknowingly broke journalism and still don't know that they did it, let alone what they did.


Yup, sbw, and it was a resentful snitch, too.


Told you, Will Smith to Play Obama.



"THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. I've given serious thought to writing a book. I never have, and my family has been bugging me about it. I've got 40 years since I came to town to stay 12 months. I've got a lot of stories to tell, and a few scores to settle. So I'm giving that some serious thought."


It seems to me that if Clinton had been a little smarter about AlQaida, Saddam and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that list of Woodward's might be different. I always get the feeling that liberals think history began in 2000 when Bush took office. They seem to think that he exists in a vacuum and that no decisions made by previous presidents could have a negative impact on his tenure.

However, we can be sure that when they write about Obama any problems he encounters will be laid squarely at the feet of his predecessor.


"Couldn't the seemingly successful surge be used to illustrate some aspect of effective leadership?"

First of all, you must consider the likelihood that the 'Surge' as you call it, did not contribute as much to the downturn in violence as the technological advance which allowed us to 'see' the bad guys and send them, as Woodward describes the ultra-secret as 'the exploding gift basket'.

Secondly; what leadership? The surge was part of the original 'overwhelming force'
(Powell Doctrine) which the Presidunce set aside for Rummy's vision of a leaner military.

Maguire; You normally have the good sense to ignore news that flies in the face of yer predispositions. Mayhaps it is not too late for you to re-route those nerve pathways, but I'm not optimistic.

Looking forward to the Bush memoirs for a good chortle......

"You won't be needing that," Rumsfeld said, reaching across the table and snatching the Top Secret packet away from Rice -- in front of the president. "I'll let you two work it out," Bush said, then turned and walked out. Rice had to send an aide to the Pentagon to get a bootlegged copy from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Takeaway #11 - Don't trust Bob Woodward

As to body counts, they tend to become inflated and lose all meaning very quickly. Yes, they are necessary, but if that becomes a prime metric, it becomes a LBJ driven type of war, and we know how that one turned out.

The one thing Woodward misses in all of this is that we won the initial war with very few casualties, and then won another, entirely different war in the insurgency. For someone so esteemed as Woodward, this is a reputation killing mistake.

Danube of Thought

I agree completely with SBW. It's analogous to the Bork hearings, which I think forever changed the whole process of judicial appointments.

I don't know how it happened, but that FISA ruling escaped my attention entirely. It seems to have escaped the attention of the media as well, and not just the MSM. Or maybe I wasn't paying attention.

Bon voyage, Clarice. And don't forget the Kit Kat bars and vodka.



you're a damned fool. It was boots on the ground that made the difference. In Fallujah, there were a company of marines and one of paratroopers against 2,000 insurgents who fought a running 3 day battle in mid 2006. You do not win an isurgency with just one leg. It is a combined arms effort and almost always will be. Smart leadership recognized the various facets of the problem and acted accordingly. Friends of mine died and were wounded in that one, so screw you. The "so called surge" worked.

By the way, any surge in Afghanistan promised by Obama in the next few weeks will already have been under preparation for the past 2 years and is well underway. Of course the media will tout his leadership and forward thinking, but it has been the DoD and Centcom's mission planning to ramp this up.


Felt's dead. From whom is that tired, old stenographer, Woodward, taking his dictation now?


I should clarify my last point, I was seemingly an eternity ago, interested in going to law school; from the courses I took I was under the impression that precedent matters (I know forget the Warren Court) But a cursory examination of amicus briefs, appellate decisions even Supreme Court decisions (Kelo, Hamdi, Kennedy, Boumedienne,)have been gravely dissapointed me in their sloppiness and even failure to properly cite the law. A case that references In Re Sealed; among other matters, I used to listen Hugh Hewitt on the SRN network, which might as well be short wave, before it turned Christian inspiration and before he became a total Romneyite. I never quite understood that last part

I confirmed the paypal account, Clarice, but I want to make sure it works before
any money gets into it. That's the reason for the delay. I disagree about where journalism collapsed, it was in Vietnam, and the rot begins with Halberstam,Prochnau,
Browne & Arnett; as Moyar outlined in "Triumph Forsaken" There were some standard bearers of the old school, like Higgins &
Alsop, but the newer breed shaped the brand. Koppel, Rather, Jennings, et al all share this brand of deep cynicism, that they received mostly by ignoring their own eyes, and relying on faulty sources, Watergate, the Pike, Rockefeller & Church investigations result from this attitude, and it's gotten worse over the years.


"'overwhelming force'
(Powell Doctrine"

Hardly Powell,s own idea,since it had been used for thousands of years. Warfare isn't simply the application of force,it is the application of the right kind in the right place at the right time.
Overwhelming force means zip in unconventional warfare.

Uncle BigBad

I'm tired of hearing about the "Powell Doctrine" of overwhelming force. That doctrine has been around for thousands of years and has been amplely demonstrated by real warriors such as Gen. Patton, long before anybody ever heard of Gen. Powell.

Uncle BigBad


You're too fast for me.



That makes no sense. First of all the Democrats said that the surge was a failure and then it was obvious that it was not, they claim either that it was their idea, that the war was still a mistake or whatever. Excuses, excuses.

The surge was not only an increase in troop levels it was also a change in tactics as well as the use of those technological advances you speak of. To deny the success of the surge is to deny reality.

As far as the original overwhelming force plan you spoke of, there is no reason to believe that more troops early on would have had the same effect they did later considering the fact that the other aspects of the surge would not have been in place. It was never just about numbers.

In fact the original takedown of the Saddam regime went just like they said it would. I remember seeing Clinton on Letterman shortly before the invasion. He said he was in favor of the war and that he thought it would only take a couple of weeks to take down the regime of Saddam Hussein. He said nothing at all about a long and difficult occupation.

But then again, this is Bill Clinton we are talking about, the man who said that not only did Saddam have wmd, he would use them. Mark my words Bill said, he will use them. Yep, Zinni even told the Congress in Feb 2000 that Saddam was our greatest threat. Ah, the good old days when Democrats actually hated Saddam and wanted to see his regime gone.


"it is the application of the right kind in the right place at the right time."

Thanks for clarifying why Bush waited 4 years to alter the strategy and deploy sufficient troops. "It just wasn't the right time"


Hey, Leo, inadvertently, or maliciously, you've stumbled over the truth. The al-Qaeda melon had to rot in the Anbar sun before the Awakening could happen and the surge would work. Sorry, but Bush has been a masterful general. Beat his Daddy and Powell at it, he did.




Yep, approximately 3,000 enfranchised Iraqi voters for every dead American. A stiff, but fair, price in the world's toughest market.


It seems you are having record low temperatures there in the US, just as Barrack Obama plans the carbon purge.



Oh come on, the Democrats fought tooth and nail to keep more troops out of there. They said they would never support sending more troops. Obama said more troops were not necessary and promised an immediate withdrawal. At no point did the socalled loyal opposition support more troops in Iraq. And if Powell had been able to get Turkey to go along with the plan in the beginning there would have been troops coming in from the north as well and that would have been a far better use of the men we did have at the time.

The truth is if it had been left up the people who are calling Bush a failure, Iraq would have been a failure. That is what they wanted. Whatever you can say about Bush, he won the war in Iraq without any help from most of the people who criticize him.


"Thanks for clarifying why Bush waited 4 years to alter the strategy and deploy sufficient troops. "It just wasn't the right time""

Don't mention it Dumbellina. You missed out right kind and right place.For example armoured divisions aren't not ideal against the kind of warfare waged in Iraq,AFTER the successful invasion.


What if the bitter cold freezes the inauguration day teleprompter..You um um..



Not to mention the fact that we did not have the men or armament anyway thanks to military cutbacks in the previous administration. I do not know where they thought this huge force was coming from.

Danube of Thought

My dad always drew a sharp distinction between military force and military power. He tought the difference between the two was precisely as it is in physics--power is force per unit of time; in warfare it is power that counts. This was during the 1960's when he was the J-3 of the Joint Staff, and going mad with frustration over the McNamara amateurs and their Vietnam strategy of "gradualism." I have always understood the "Powell Doctrine" to be nothing more than an expression of the need to apply power, and it is certainly nothing new, except perhaps to the architects of Vietnam.

The inescapable fact is that Al Qaeda declared that Iraq was the most important front in its war against the West, and it sufferend a horrendous defeat there. This defeat was inflicted with roughly the same loss of American life as was sustained in the campaign to take the island of Guadalcanal.

There are--and for a while there will continue to be--many Americans who will acknowledge this fact grudgingly, if at all. (Historians of the future will not be among them.) The reason for the contemporary denial of the truth is simply an underlying distaste over the application of American military power anywhere, and a reluctance to see it succeed or to acknowledge that it has done so.


Keeping the Obozo warm is going to create one enormous carbon footprint.Best call it off until Spring.


"I do not know where they thought this huge force was coming from."

Same place the money for universal healthcare.

hit and run

Very nice to see you, Terrye.

E. Nigma

The "surge" would not have been possible earlier that about when it happened.

1)"Clear, hold and build"
required a larger, more competent Iraqi army and police force than was ready at an earlier time. There were plenty of "clearing" operations after the end of the major combat phase in 2003, but there were not enought American/allied armed forces on the ground to "hold and build". And the balance of forces to hold and build HAD to be Iraqi or the Insurgency would have just gotten worse with +300K US soldiers and Marines on the ground in country. Casey has gotten plenty of grief since his tour was over and he came home, but his JOB #1 was to train up the Iraqi Army and security forces so that the Iraqis could control and defend their own country, and our guys could eventually come home.

2) A change in the Rules of Engagement (ROE)
The single most overlooked and unexplained part of the "surge". It wasn't just "boots on the ground", it was a change in operational tactics. These tactics came directly from Petraeus work (with others) in formulating a new Army doctrine in counter-insurgency warfare AFTER he left Iraq in 2004 as commander of the 101st Airborne.
There was a clear lack of a consistent grasp of ground tactics in Iraq to confront the Insurgency, as again, the Insurgency had more than one face. Different commande officers approached it in different ways. Some worked, some failed.

3) The Sunni "Awakening" and other Fables
There were the festering problems in Al-Anbar province: Fallujah, Al-Ramadi,etc. The Sunnis in Anbar had to get good and sick of Al Qaeda before there could have been the "Awakening". It just happened to coincide with the beginning of the Surge.
Insurgency problems in Bagdad and elsewhere were sometimes attributable to totally different causes, especially the large amounts of Iranian money and arms (manufactured shaped charges that were very effective even against heavy armor, such as M1-A2 tanks) that were flowing into the country over the Iranian border. Surely acts of War by Iran, but who really wanted a wider war (besides we few, we happy few, wingnuts). And the intra-Sectarian warfare that Al Qaeda in Iraq tried to foment (and nearly did). This is still bubbling under the surface and if the present Shiite majority bumbles it, it could easily start again.

What was the bigger problem to Iraqis? Abu Graib prisoner mistreatment or the destruction of the Golden Mosque of Samarra? But don't ask anybody at the WaPo or NYT, because you will get a very different answer (and a wrong one). Most Iraqis could care less what happened at Abu Graib in 2004, but have been very concerned and appalled at some of the large terror-homicide strikes that have occurred since. But that doesn't fit the narrative, does it?


God almighty, does everybody not understand that the Powell Doctrine, arose from the military unwillingness to confront the issue
of counterinsurgency and irregular warfare
after Vietnam. What Harry Summers tried to teach them, but was ignored. The set piece battles of Grenada, vis a vis the kind of campaign that would have been necessary to uproot Hezbollah in Beirut. The military's distrust of the campaign to counteract the FMLN (that's where then Capt. Bacevich, recommended abandoning the Duarte regime to the guerillas)The success of the Powell doctrine are actually harder to really quantify; Panama, the Endara govt, was defeated less than five years later, by elements of Noriega's party. Then there's Desert Storm, dislodging Saddam from Kuwait, didn't solve the problem; in fact
keeping all those troops on Saudi soil for 'containment duty' helped inspire the rise
of Bin Laden. Petraeus saw the writing on the wall, and wrote his dissertation on this; relying on Galula, Trinquier and other sources. Than he tested his theory in Mosul in the early days of the war, and refined it at Ft. Leavenworth. By the calculations of the Powell/Shinseki approach
the surge shouldn't have worked; but there
was the catalyst of the Anbar/Dulaimi, Salahuddin, and other provincial uprisings against the imported Salafi/Wahhabi. For those of a certain ancentral memory; the Ilkwan plague, probably reminded them of another invasion back in the 20s, after the Brits, succumbed to the "Get out of
Mesopotamia" fever. Only then Major Glubb
and his small force, held off the Ilkwan
in places like Ramadi; more than three quarters of a century before Americans walked the same dusty streets. Of course, the media had learned to discount the efforts of Mirabile, Petraeus, McMaster under the rubric of quagmire, and civil war, when the actuality was a targeted campaign by the likes of Zarquawi, to trigger this Civil War. That following fall, Marine intelligence, rated Ambar province as lost. The reality was more complex.

Barry Dauphin

"You won't be needing that," Rumsfeld said, reaching across the table and snatching the Top Secret packet away from Rice -- in front of the president. "I'll let you two work it out," Bush said, then turned and walked out. Rice had to send an aide to the Pentagon to get a bootlegged copy from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gee, wasn't that what Bill Casey said on his deathbed? Another time when good ole Bob Woodward was "there", sort of. It's amazing to see trolls still falling for Bob Woodward quotes. That must send tingly feelings up their legs since Woody's quotes always seem to fulfill the fantasy of every Kos Kid.


hit and run:

Same to ya.


We know now, that Woodward's actual knowledge of events is much less than he pretends. As Clarice's AT piece indicates, Felt's egotism and vanity at not getting the top job, not only sank him and Nixon, but undermined the security intrastructure to this day. The Brethren helped undermine the collegiality that Supreme Court Justices and their clerks rely on. VEIL, is a very slanted view of intelligence operation, based on some weak sourcing; most famously the Casey 'death bed scene' the suggestion that it was somehow wrong to support the Maronites against Hezbollah, as well as the Contras.The Commanders built up Powell's reputation, but ignored the underlying details we'd be dealing with for 20 years. The Clinton books, provided a facade to trick people into believing that Clinton was like Eisenhower, when it abetted the Enron type book keeping, that Franklin Raines would bring to Fannie Mae. The series on the war on terror, starting with Bush at War, and ending with the War at Home became progressively more unreliable. And of course, the Elephant in the room, was Armitage's role, as part of the Caspian crew in undermining the
legitimacy of the "war on terror" and ultimately the Bush Presidency itself.



good post. Been there, done that.The problem is that by nature militaries end up starting a new war fighting the old one. The Vietnam generation in the Army said "never again" and did many good things and a few not so good things. In WWII, it took us 2 years to turn the tide.

The fact is that Petraeus was shut down in Mosul by Bremer in the face of the facts on the ground. Luckily he was selected as CIC-MNF and got the chance to demonstrate the principle once again. There is nothing like to crucible of combat to test theories, and Petraeus knew instinctively and empirically he was on to the right strategery.

Love the reference to Glubb Pasha as well. One of his key lieutenants, Col. David Smiley, just died. People like Glubb, Petraeus, MacArthur, et al redefine the battlefield, and that is what wins wars and changes history. I have not seen evidence yet of anything Powell did that has done so. There is the difference.


Sounds like I would have loved taking courses with your father.

as so eloquently pointed out in Charlie Wilson's War, which has been running on cable, the danger is that we now screw up the peace. And from everything I'm hearing, Obama is already doing so. A 16 month draw down is just plain crazy in a country where violence, graft, sectarianism, and the opportunities therefor are multitudinous. The US Army is the honest broker, and by withdrawing our forces, the bad guys will fill the vacuum and are already planning on it. Smacks of the sellout of South Vietnam in many ways.


Narciso I'm getting ready to leave and want to wrap this up. Check your mail and answer my questions please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danube of Thought

I would like respectfully to disagree with the received wisdom that military institutions tend to begin each war by fighting the last one. To me, it is indisputably the press that does so.

At the outset of the campaign to oust the Taliban from power, the press geniuses like the oaf R.W. Apple were telling us (after two months) that this was a "quagmire." We were lectured by journalists about how air power could never achieve the objective. Turned out it took air power plus about 200 guys on the ground to acheive it.

Gotta go to din-din--but much more anon...


Woodward usually has something for everyone. His ten points seem to be typical management points in which he inserted anecdotes to create a negative Bush narrative. I'd imagine he relied quite a bit on Powell who's turned out to be less statesman than narcisitic opportunist. To be fair to Powell and Woodward though, both were quite public and vocal in their condemnation of the Libby prosecution. I gather though that it had more to do with their affection for Libby who's proved to be quite the public servant for some time.


Sorry, BobS, I'm not that charitable, they could have talked to Fitzgerald and said this is all a misunderstanding, shut this thing down, you of all people, should know the dangers of judicial investigations during anti-terror campaign.

Actually, Matt, that maybe the lesson of the film, but the book is more on point. Because of our retreat from the world, after Vietnam, he tended to rely on proxy agencies, around the world. The SAVAK was certainly one, the ISI (which had a hidden agenda)and Saudi General Intelligence, they
picked the groups that got the preferred funding; Hekmatyar's Hezb-Islami "Party of
Islam", Raisul Sayyaf's bunch, Maulvana Younis Khalis, the first two brought the Afghan Arabs, the last was the father of the Taliban, and the mentor to Mullah Omar, and Jalal Haqquani, who Steve Coll's bio of the Bin Laden clan indicates was the one fellow that Osama was originally tied to.
That Bearden pretends he didn't know this, in his previous memoir is curious, than not really, he was a lobbyist for the Sudanese during the El Shifa 'pharmaceutical plant'
plant, and helped plant the 'wag the dog'
meme with Hitchens, which ended up costing us dearly until September 11th. The lion's share of the actual fighting, not purging allies, was done by the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, and Abdul Haq, supported by the NIFA crew including Rabbani, retainers of the late Afghan king. Bearden sadly only at the end realizes he didn't know his counterpart at ISI, General Hamid Gul, was
a raging anti-American islamist, the 'mirroring problem', I referenced in a different context. Christina Lamb of the Times's memoir, really gives a better perspective on our putative ally. It's not really that surprisng he was outclassed by former Riyadh station chief Ray Close, who really does believe everything our friend "John of Arabia" only mimed to get our attention. The former had gone so native, that he really thought the oil embargo, had not been an economic weapon against the world. He was signed up by National Chemical
Industries, not long after retiring to provide more assistance. So the problem wasn't so much the peace afterward, but the chess pawns at the outset of the conflict, much like Sun Tsu.


Narciso, I don't disagree with your description of the Vietnam War's journalistic rust and rot. Simply by breathing hard Woodward and Bernstein, excuse me, Redford and Hoffman took the rot and blew journalism into fairy dust.


narisco: please continue to be "not the charitable" as your position is closer to mine. But as I teach more and more years I realize how imperfect things are. And these I will accept as positives on the ledger for Woodward and Powell. I'm prayerful that Obama has some of these, too. The man seems to have taken several homework assignments left behind by the last DEM CIC. I see a few things I agree with yet I still see a tendancy for a DEM pol to "go left young man" in over reaching leftist philosophy. But this guy is smart and will hid behind his cabinet like Holder whom will not prosecute any ACORN hierchy but will entertain prosecution of Bush appointees or Bush for that matter for what ever fancy his masters designate.


My new year's wish is that one....just one....REP senator has the stones to ask Holder how he will proceed againt ACORNS indictments


Maybe one of them should play the "rule in advance" abomination that NY's senior senator plows through with REP nominees for judicial appts.

E. Nigma

Woodward and Bernstein were pawns of the other, higher powers.
Ben Bradlee was a pretty connected guy, as was his ultimate boss, Katherine Graham. I think Bradlee either knew (through Woodstein) or concealed he knew, who "Deep Throat" really was. And Bradlee was very content to bring down and elected President, as was Graham.
Felt believed he should have succeeded Hoover, and was going to get even for the "betrayal" of not being promoted to director of the FBI by Nixon.

In another context and country, Felt would have died in the Big Lubyanka for what he did. In this country, he is some kind of folk hero, to some.
I assume that someday history might judge this dispassionately, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Woodward is a mediocrity at best, and has ridden his dumb luck at being in the right place at the right time to being some kind of storied chronicler of the political times.


Recall the great 70's cop romp "Freebie and the Bean"

When the dynamic Cahn and Aarkin duo lassoed a Texas redneck for public drunkedness, Big Tex challenged them from the back seat ( likely brown liquor impaired ) He simply called them out in a manner which is overly insulting to the fairer sex refrencing they manner in which they, well, dropped trou before relieving themselves.

May I apply this standard to our GOP senators prior to their weekend return to their tee times back home.


If I could only insert a Christopher Hitchens accent with my posts I daresay I'd become s sex symbol not unlike Mark Steyn.


"Dancing with myyyyself, ohhhh"


Matt, I agree on that point, instead of the Post American World by Zakaria; who's been wrong since I first came across his writing in high school, maybe Bing West' "the Strongest Tribe" about the American military
role in Iraq, might have been better reading. It seems either he's not listening or no one in his crew, is aware of this. Yet another example of a slow motion disaster; is there a Negroponte in this group; whose at least willing to point out the warning signs.

Historically, the quagmire has always been Afghanistan. Mark Steyn makes light of 'the fierce Afghan winter' trope, but there's a spot of truth there. The retreat from Kabul in 1841, and the slaughter of Shaj Shuja, that era's Hamid Karzai is the most famous example. Anybody there read Sherlock Holmes
and Watson's shell shocked tales from the battle of Maiwand, or Kipling (probably too politically incorrect)he was writing about the Wahhabees in India, almost as long ago as Doughty, notably in the story 'the Wall'

BobS, that is my great concern, about Holder and the whole crew, anyone who thinks that a six year old boy should be ripped away from the relatives his mother entrusted him to, and be sent to be a Joven
Pionero "Young Pioneer" is a good and decent thing. I earned my contempt for Matt and Katie and co, long before they ambushed
Sarah. My heart breaks any time, they put his unknowing brainwashed visage in front of me, serenading the oligarchs, that's child abuse, pure and simple. Then give Mark Rich, Susan Rosenberg and the FALN 'get out of jail' free cards; that's wrong in so many ways, that one can't begin to calculate. Maybe it's because like just in C.R's family's experience, I see myself too much in what might have happened if I had stayed in Cuba.

JM Hanes

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., per Woodward:

For example,, the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004-07, concluded that President Bush lacked a basic grasp of what the Iraq war was about. Casey believed that Bush, who kept asking for enemy body counts, saw the war as a conventional battle, rather than the counterinsurgency campaign to win over the Iraqi population that it was. "We cannot kill our way to victory in Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus said later. In May 2008, Bush insisted to me that he, of all people, knew all too well what the war was about.

Gen. Casey, per Widipedia.. Oddly enough, it seems he departed Iraq at the very moment the Surge was undertaken. Quelle surprise!

Casey served as the senior coalition commander in Iraq from June 2004 to February 2007. He replaced Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez.[1] Casey's goal was to encourage the Iraqis to take ownership of their problems and responsibility for their own security. For his part as a military commander, he focused on training Iraqi forces, limiting the role of American forces, and transferring the burden for providing security to Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats would focus on building and strengthening the Iraqi government and help the Iraqis hold elections. He expressed his view that a large and intrusive American presence in Iraq would not solve the political and security problems in that country and could even fuel the insurgency.

Who's kidding whom, here?

Pal2Pal (Sara)

E.Nigma: Bradlee has never denied that he knew from the git go who "Deep Throat" was. He was the guy in charge, he has said that he insisted on being told, if W&B were going to use him for their stories. I don't think he ever tried to conceal that he knew.


In the interests of Transparency, Bob Woodward is releasing his work product to the public. We begin charting his oeuvre with the preliminary version of "Ten Lessons from Bush." Comparing the first and final iterations, one comes away with a sense of just how much work it takes to turn a simple list into a Bob Woodward column.

Dear PEBO:

1. Tone is important. Stamp out virulent divisions! Never leave your chief officers alone together! You can give me 11 hours of face time, and I will still stab you in the back with a smile -- but you'll regret it if you don't give Bob Woodward special access.

2. Bush should not have let a psycho like Cheney undermine a media favorite like Powell behind closed doors. Insist that your own wacko VP and your appointees duke it out in a more public arena. [See protocol, Item #4]

3. Even Bush didn't know what he was thinking about when he took policy positions or reversed them. It's hell on the organizational chart when your VP has to tell you what you meant. Fortunately you get unlimited do-overs. Just avoid bizarre requests like demanding body counts from field commanders. That's Media's job!

4. Find out what your staffers really think by schedualing individual quality time with each and every one. Never take anything said in a group at face value. Conclude your meetings with private exit interviews, and then reconvene so the group can duke out their differences in front of everybody else.

5. A president should not appear to think he's making good decisions, lest he disturb a productive atmosphere of second guessing, doubt and insecurity. A real leader enjoys agonizing over his decisions.

6. A President gets contradictory data which can always be resolved if he's just willing to apply himself, instead of flippin' a flippin' coin. He could, for example, resolve the conflicts in this list, although I obviously don't think it's worth the effort.

7. A President must tell us hard truths, even though he'll be crucified for admitting failure, in his own carefully spliced words. He should carry on bravely when he is also accused of not warning anybody that war is a long slog. This rule will be retired on 20 Jan 09.

8. Consider your self lucky that idealism is only unpresidential in a Republican who might inspire inordinately altruistic impulses in his subordinates.

9. A President must insist on strategic thinking and not waste his time putting out brush fires. Bill Clinton is an excellent model in this respect.

10. The President should embrace transparency, because investigative journalists don't share the really important stuff, unless they can collect big bucks or cause Pulitzer Prize winning damage. It's the President's duty to provide a detailed, unambiguous, historical record, even though the press gets to write the history.


Good morning, JMH. As you twice managed to mention Obama's vice president without providing any indication as to who this person might be, perhaps it is time to nominate Tom Lehrer for an eerie prescience award.


Mornin' Elliott!

It's actually even worse than that. Since Biden is not, in fact, Obama's VP yet, I was really referring to Mr. Nobody at all.

I think I may have one of the original Tom Lehrer records down in the basement somewhere! Oh how we laughed. The "Vatican Rag" stuck with me for a long time. I suspect I only remember "The Old Dope Peddler" because it was considered not-safe-for-children at the time, so of course we all had it memorized in no time flat.


He gives the kids free samples, because he know full well
that today's young innocent faces, will be tomorrow's clientele.


Morning JM, no Biden will be the 'cigar store indian' or the 'scare crow', what four days from now, regardless. He's stuffed with 'strawmen' about how he thinks the world should work; the partitioning of Iraq, the whole idea of FISA, where the US govt is the enemy, not the Russians, the whole idea that left paramilitaries like the Sandinistas or Islamist chiliasts like AQ are entitled to rule, and we can't try to change the natural order. The whole idea on contravening the Hippocratic oath, and
centuries of ethical injunctions on supposedly egalitarian grounds. The presumption that man, who has been here, for a blink of a cosmic second, can really
effect an ecosystem, billions of years old.
How could Sarah compete with sparkling insight like that.


Obama has a Vice President? Sheesh...never heard a him....


Bush is not a conservative...and the little Bush-lovers, McCainiacs and bailout lovers have knife the Republican party in the back. And being a bland me too, doesn't even win elections (which seems to be all they care about). Reagan and Goldwater are rolling in their graves. You people make me sick. Remember Miers?


8 years later..2 failed wars, economy in the dumps.

dubya knows how to bow out in style.

Crew v1.0

Thank you, President Bush, for your courageous decision to confront Saddam.

Thank you for going to the public and going to Congress, and getting our support and theirs before committing.

Thank you for erring on the side of concern rather than complacency regarding the threat that was the Saddam crime family. Your doing so was the correct decision to connect the dots in a world where unimpeachable intel is the exception not the rule.

Thank you for building a multinational coalition of the willing.

Thank you for staking your Presidency on it, and for moving with dispatch, rather than dithering like your predecessor.

When Democrats, for personal political gain, turned our bipartisan foreign policy in Iraq into an occasion for score-settling -- when individuals (I won't say they are precisely men) like Harry Reid, John Kerry, Carl Levin, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Biden converted our national war effort into merely an excuse for a partisan food fight -- a lesser man would have become patently bitter, but you remained classier than your enemies did. Thank you for that.

When setbacks multiplied, thank you for re-assessing, persevering, changing, and being a leader. The surge - counterinsurgency - Petraeus program was not destined in the stars to succeed, but it did work, and all the credit that history can bestow on a principled, wise and ultimately a creative leader will fall to you.

Take care, sir.

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