Summary of State of Denial

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State of Denial book summary
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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

This exceptional book reveals the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq through the exacting eyes of noted journalist Bob Woodward. The third volume in his "Bush at War" series, it unfolds as a vivid history, a detailed, a step-by-step progression of events, personalities and motives. Woodward lets the insiders and their stories speak for themselves as he describes how both powerful and everyday people succumb to large public mistakes, and how those shape history. He has written this book as a series of short vignettes - and as the scenes unfold, so do the personalities and their individual quirks. Readers see why some plans succeeded and others failed. Those who seek sinister people with ulterior motives will be disappointed. The story did not develop that way. These seem to be well-meaning people who lost touch and failed. getAbstract considers this essential reading for anyone who seriously wants to understand the Iraq war and the people fighting it.

About the Author

Bob Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, and has been a newspaper reporter and editor for 35 years. He has authored or co-authored 10 national nonfiction bestsellers.

 

Summary

Missed Opportunities

The complicated decision to invade Iraq was influenced by many past and present events, personalities and motivations. After al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to focus on Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden. Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wanted to pursue unfinished business left in Iraq by Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush. Yet, the former president was one of the leaders who had serious reservations about invading Iraq.

At a Washington dinner in January 2003, Barbara Bush, wife of the former president and mother of the current one, told the former chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that the senior Bush was losing sleep about the upcoming war, but was reluctant to advise his son. The elder Bush always hesitated to counsel his son since that could make the president appear weak. But, during the same conversation, the elder Bush said he hoped then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, who advocated a diplomatic solution in Iraq, would prevail. This was just one indication of the tensions building between the State Department and the Pentagon ...


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