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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No smoke without fire
After all the hype and controversy, this book is a little disappointing. If you want to know all about the how of the Iraq war, then it should satisfy you. It does indeed live up to its title and tells us more than most of us need to know about the military planning of a modern war by a superpower in a distant country.
What many people are interested in though, is...
Published on 21 July 2004 by gliddofglood

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3.0 out of 5 stars but G W Bush and Tony Blair directly are the cause of the terrible situation that is now unfolding in Iraq and if ...
Disappointing. The writer draws no conclusions of his own and omits much relevant material such as The Riegle Report that showed the source of Iraq's WMDs was the US itself during the tenure of G Herbert Bush as Vice President. No mention is made, other than en passant, that during Clinton's time as President the sanctions imposed under the 'food for oil' programme caused...
Published 10 months ago by Mr. R. W. Kermeen


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No smoke without fire, 21 July 2004
After all the hype and controversy, this book is a little disappointing. If you want to know all about the how of the Iraq war, then it should satisfy you. It does indeed live up to its title and tells us more than most of us need to know about the military planning of a modern war by a superpower in a distant country.
What many people are interested in though, is the why of the Iraq war. Bob Woodward doesn't supply us with a lot of information about this, possibly because this would involve an investigation in which he would get a lot less help from officialdom. To be fair, he does ask some pointed questions and then leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions without openly suggesting what they should think. This is quite skilful on his part. After all, the amazing access he managed to obtain from the key players in the Administration means you are getting much of the information from the horse's mouth. But you end up questioning that level of cooperation. Why were Bush and co. so keen to accord lengthy interviews on such a sensitive subject? Is it just another part of the smokescreen laid down to hoodwink public opinion?
The most valuable contribution of the book is that it clearly demonstrates, without harping on the fact, that Bush was planning the removal of Saddam even before 9-11 or having any motive remotely connected with international terrorism. The tragedy seems to have been that the simple conception of the possibility of a war led to its planning, and that this planning made the war an inevitability after a while. In this sense, there was never going to be a shred of hope for diplomacy - it was just a farce played out for public opinion. Woodward's book does lay all this bare and is required reading if you want to be able to make even a partially informed opinion on the Iraq war. But it does seem to play down the excitement level of what it is tacitly implying and doesn't even begin to criticize those whose motives and actions look extremely murky.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cyclopean rush to Baghdad, 21 April 2005
By 
Sev "Sev" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plan of Attack (Paperback)
At the beginning of 2002 the Bush administration, as a result of the 9/11 attacks, had made a commitment to oust the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, responsible in their eyes for harbouring Osama bin-Laden's al Qaeda network, with unprecedented support both at home and overseas.
Bob Woodward's enthralling new book details, possibly in too exhaustive detail, how the Bush administration then took the decision to concentrate almost solely on the ousting of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, in the process losing most of the aforementioned support. All the main protagonists (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell etc) were interviewed several times about the planning and decision making processes that took place over the course of 2002 up until the actual invasion in March 2003. Thankfully Woodward doesn't install his own opinions or prejudices on the right or wrongs of their decisions, and therefore we are left with a well balanced book, with the main protagonists able to justify themselves over the course of their interviews.
Whether you believe the war in Iraq was justified or not, this book probably won't change your mind now, however I believe that it will at least give you an appreciation of the opposing view. Opponents of the war will have to concede that the United Nations was particularly ineffectual, with the author detailing how the French delayed resolution 1441 over the insertion of the word 'or' instead of the word 'and', meaning that Iraq would need to fail two tests instead of one to be in violation of the resolution.
Those in favour of the war would likewise have to concede that the administration was focused too squarely on Iraq from early on, thereby hindering its operation in Afghanistan, when arguably North Korea, Iran and the Israel/Palestine problem were more threatening to long-term security.
One of the main things I noticed is that, despite the months of planning and the endless war-game scenarios carried out, no-one foresaw what actually happened in Iraq, namely the dissolving away of the Iraqi regime and the morphing of the Iraqi military into Iraqi insurgency. Also no viable exit strategy was ever finalised, leaving the likelihood that U.S. forces will be in Iraq for years to come.
As mentioned earlier this book succeeds admirably in giving us the 'how', I'm not sure it quite succeeds on the 'why', though judging from some of the interviews it was something that was never really discussed within the administration, all of them convinced (except Powell) that it was the right way to go.
Whether they were right or not, well only History will tell us.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting! Buy this book and reflect deeply, 22 April 2004
By A Customer
This is an astonishing account of the decision processes leading to war.Expertly written in a style which would make most novelists envious,Woodward produces his best writing from the time of All the President'sMen. Key points include the strong sense that Dubya is a much smarter guythan many of his detractors would claim; the process whereby Colin Powellwas often out of the loop on key decisions; the stand-up row betweenCondoleeza Rice and her top Pentagon aide Buck Tarbrush regarding whetherWMD could be found in Iraq; and the suggestion that Dick Cheney is reallythe power behind the throne. Awesome account - buy it today!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and balanced record of a fascinating and controversial chapter of recent history, 25 May 2009
By 
M. Ireland "mireland1980" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plan of Attack (Paperback)
As one of the reviews on the inside cover of the book notes, Bush [and his key deputies Rice, Powell, Cheney and Rumsfeld] leap off the page. For such a detailed record of Bush and his key cabinet members' thinking and discussions in the lead up to the decision to go to war, it is an absolutely rivetting read. Woodward is clearly a master interviewer and a very clever writer to be able to bring together hundreds and hundreds of hours worth of interviews and detailed research into such a fascinating book. I cannot recommend this book more highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What the Chilcott Enquiry should Reveal., 11 Dec. 2009
By 
Peter J. Mitchell (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plan of Attack (Paperback)
Written by Bob Woodward of the 'Watergate Scandal' of Richard Nixon's presidency this book reveals when the planning for the invasion of Iraq began.
It tells us that Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, began planning with General Tommy Franks almost as soon as the Administration took office, that Dick Cheney became almost obsessed with removing Saddam Hussein and how Bush himself kept the plans out of the public domain until quite late in the day.
Of interest to the British reader is when Tony Blair agreed to join the US in the war. It also reveals to UK readers why claims that WMD could be launched in 45 minutes were published in this country but not used by George Bush in any of his speeches, because the CIA knew that the source was unreliable but here it was used to prepare public opinion for the coming conflict.
Woodward's narative is based on many interviews with all of the principle US players and members of their staffs in the aftermath of the invasion and as disillusionment grew as the insurgency in Iraq intensified.
The book is a must read for anyone following the Chilcott Enquiry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, 19 May 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward continues to shine his lamp into the shadows of U.S. political life. Woodward has an uncanny ability to present a point of view without appearing biased, perhaps because he approaches truth with a complex worldview and eschews viewing individual leaders as either particularly good or evil. Although you may not want to hear what he learned, Woodward interviewed more than 75 officials directly involved in the war on terrorism, including spending three and a half hours with President Bush. He found out that Bush considered, and then planned, war in Iraq long before voters knew, and that his chief advisors debated it vigorously. Right or wrong, he seems to say, Bush's pivotal team members — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Franks — were entirely earnest. We strongly recommend this book to anyone who wonders how the U.S. became the proud new owner of all of Iraq's problems. It gives you a breathtaking behind-the-scenes understanding of the decisions, for good or ill, that led to America's second war against Saddam.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lack of Intelligence, 18 Jun. 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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In the aftermath of the American-led invasion of Iraq, veteran journalist Bob Woodward arranged to interview the key players in the United States who led the decision and its implementation. The comments are remarkably candid and reflect deep divisions over policy within the Bush administration.
For the most part, Mr. Woodward avoids analyzing what he learned. But he cannot help emphasizing that there was no convincing intelligence information to lead anyone to believe that Iraq had deliverable weapons of mass destruction and was planning to turn those weapons on Israel or to turn them over to Al Qaeda for use in the U.S.
Instead, what we see is a White House that automatically saw Saddam Hussein as the world's greatest threat to the United States. The logic of that fear was that Saddam had had weapons of mass destruction in the past and used them, Saddam was crazy, and Saddam would stop at nothing to hurt the United States. The fear was so great that some would call it paranoia.
Getting Saddam was more important than stopping terrorism by going after Al Qaeda with all of our influence and force.
The interesting thing about the lack of intelligence was that the CIA had an easy time getting intelligence to run the war. But it couldn't find any proof of weapons of mass destruction during its extensive penetration of the Iraqi regime.
In the rush to war, relatively little attention was paid to how to create democracy, prevent oil prices from spiking, keeping terrorists out of Iraq, treating prisoners decently, and keeping North Korea and Iran under control.
This is an administration that seems to forget that most of the Al Qaeda people who attacked the United States were middle class Saudi Arabians annoyed by the United States being present on the Arabian peninsula. Another invasion of Iraq would only annoy even more people of that persuasion.
As much as I honor our brave soldiers for the job they are doing in Iraq, I cannot see how this has improved our position in the War on Terror. There seems to be a lack of intelligence on that front.
I cannot help but note that we still have troops in Germany, almost 60 years after World War II ended. I have to assume that the same will be true in Iraq. My great grandchildren will be paying for this war. I wonder what they will think of the lack of intelligence that went into this invasion.
Read this book and see what you think.
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3.0 out of 5 stars but G W Bush and Tony Blair directly are the cause of the terrible situation that is now unfolding in Iraq and if ..., 20 July 2014
This review is from: Plan of Attack (Paperback)
Disappointing. The writer draws no conclusions of his own and omits much relevant material such as The Riegle Report that showed the source of Iraq's WMDs was the US itself during the tenure of G Herbert Bush as Vice President. No mention is made, other than en passant, that during Clinton's time as President the sanctions imposed under the 'food for oil' programme caused the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (witness Madeleine Albright's 'worth it' speech) and that Boutros Ghali was not re-elected as UN Secretary general because of the US veto in The Security Council. Sorry, Bob, but G W Bush and Tony Blair directly are the cause of the terrible situation that is now unfolding in Iraq and if you think so too (and I suspect you do) then SAY SO!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good to miss, 2 Jun. 2004
By 
Mr. T. J. Hopton "yelto1" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is the first book I've read about the road to war with Iraq.
The book is brilliantly written and gives an astonishing account of the US political and Military departments that were involved, who leaned on who?? and who were up to there necks in it with reference to who said and did what.
This book should carry a health warning, because like me once you start to read you will not be able to put the book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read this!, 23 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: Plan of Attack (Paperback)
Simply put ... a must read for anyone interested in what our democratically elected governments are capable of doing!
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Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward (Paperback - 1 Nov. 2004)
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