Plan of Attack – Bob Woodward

You may remember my effort to read at least one non-fiction book per month.  With Churchill taking up the better part of two months, I’ve fallen slightly behind the one-a-month pace.  Nonetheless, I jumped back into the effort in June with Bob Woodward’s second tome in the “Bush at War” series.

Whereas Woodward’s first book in what became the “Bush at War” trilogy focused on the Bush Administration’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the decisions that led to war in Afghanistan, Plan of Attack takes us through the process that ended up with the United States at war in Iraq.  While I was in DC on September 11, I was not yet working for US Senator Pete V. Domenici on that fateful day.  So, I really didn’t have any more connection to Bush at War than any other average American.

With Plan of Attack, however, I had a slightly different perspective.  By the time the events of this book took place, I was firmly a part of the Senator’s advisory team.  Now, don’t let anybody, least of all me, fool you.  I wasn’t an insider here by any definition of the term.  Nothing for which I was responsible did – or could have – changed the course of a single Iraq War-related event.  One of the many memorable occasions during my time with the Senator was the night that the Senate voted on the Iraq War Resolution.   Four members of the Senator’s staff were sitting in his Legislative Director’s office talking about the upcoming vote.  What struck me – and stuck with me – is how seriously everybody took what was happening and how deliberative the group was.  It stands in sharp contrast to the “rush to war” talk that was so prevalent among the opponents.  And, having talked with staffers from other offices, I know our experience wasn’t the exception.

There’s no question that how you feel about President Bush and his Administration will color the way you interpret this book.  But, I think anyone who can take an even somewhat-dispassionate view will find one man’s take on the inner workings of a War Cabinet to be fascinating.


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