BEHIND THE SURGE:
‘s The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 is like reading raw transcripts of documents and interviews from a sensational murder trial: you know what happens, and you know who the victim and the perpetrator are. But to read their actual words is chilling. It’s the In Cold Blood of national security journalism.
Woodward gives us some juicy tidbits: that the United States spied on Iraqi Prime Minister
, that a supersecret high-tech assassination program killed large numbers of militants beginning in May 2006 and so on. But the core of Woodward’s book is an account of how
George W. Bush
, a rogue general named
and a team of strategists at the American Enterprise Institute, all coordinated by the sycophantic, Bush-worshiping National Security Adviser
, rode roughshod over the entire Washington establishment to prolong the war in Iraq by launching the “surge” in January 2007. Consider this: had they not done so, today, two years later, the war would largely be over.
In 2006, Woodward makes clear, the overwhelming consensus, among the public and in Washington, was for ending the war and starting the drawdown of US forces. That was the belief of Gen.
, the US commander in Iraq; Gen.
, the Centcom commander; and nearly all of the uniformed military. It was the view of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, the State Department and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. In 487 pages, Woodward details how all of them were steamrollered.
The picture of Bush that emerges is not a flattering one. He is portrayed as a man convinced of his utter righteousness. “Not one doubt,” he says. And: “We’re killin’ ’em. We’re killin’ ’em all.” Yet at the same time, Bush is blissfully detached, relying on Hadley for everything. His decision to order the surge, made late in 2006, was a tough one, Bush told Woodward. “Now, this is a period of time where I’ve got, I don’t know how many, holiday receptions.” ROBERT DREYFUSS
Before most journalists had arrived in St. Paul for the Republican National Convention, a crackdown on independent media was already under way. The weekend before the RNC, police carried out a series of “pre-emptive” raids, ostensibly designed to prevent violent protests. Among the targets was a home occupied by members of
, a New York-based collective that monitors police activity for abuse and that proved instrumental in documenting unlawful arrests during the 2004 RNC.
staffers had just landed in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon when they heard that one of their producers,
, was in the I-Witness house, which was being surrounded by armed police officers. When they arrived, they found Press and seven others handcuffed in the backyard.