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Plan of Attack Paperback – 1 Nov 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; New Ed edition (1 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743495454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743495455
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The 2003 American invasion of Iraq was contentious, not just in the arena of global public opinion, but within the tight-lipped world of the George W Bush White House. As Bob Woodward reveals in Plan of Attack, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were part of a group leading the charge to war while Secretary of State Colin Powell, General Tommy Franks, and others actively questioned the plan to invade a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks while war in Afghanistan was still being waged.

Woodward gained extensive access to dozens of key figures and enjoyed hours of direct contact with the President himself (more time, seemingly, than former Bush administration officials Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill claim to have had). As a result, he's able to cite the kind of gossip you won't find in a White House press release: Franks calls Pentagon official Douglas Feith "the f*cking stupidest guy on the face of the earth", Powell shares his alarm over how the cautious Cheney of the first Bush administration had transformed into a zealot, and Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar seems to enjoy significantly more influence than most would have thought possible.

Bush is shown as a man intent on toppling Saddam Hussein in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and never really wavering in his decision despite offering hints that non-military solutions could be achieved. Light is also shed on CIA director George Tenet, who insists that the evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was "a slam dunk" only to later admit that his intelligence was flawed when months of post-war searches turned up nothing. But the book's most interesting character is Powell. A former soldier himself, who finds himself increasingly at odds with the agenda of the administration, Powell rejects evidence on WMDs that he sees as spurious but ultimately endorses the invasion effort, apparently out of duty.

Upon its publication, the Bush administration roundly denied many of the accounts in the book that demonstrated conflict within their circles, poor judgment, or lousy planning, but the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign nonetheless listed Plan of Attack as recommended reading. And it is. It shows alarming problems in the way the war was conceived and planned, but it also demonstrates the tremendous conviction and dedication of the people who decided to carry it out. --John Moe, Amazon.com --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"

Engrossing...Woodward uses myriad details to chart the Bush administration's march to war against Iraq. His often harrowing narrative not only illuminates the fateful interplay of personality and policy...but underscores the role that fuzzy intelligence, Pentagon timetables and aggressive ideas about the military and foreign policy had in creating momentum for war.



Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"

Instantly essential...By far the most intimate glimpse we have been granted of the Bush White House, and the administration's defining moment.



David Cook, "The Christian Science Monitor"

Richly detailed, awesomely sourced...a granular record of the nation's march to war with Iraq, gleaned from interviews, memos, phone records, and PowerPoint presentations.



Tim Rutten, "Los Angeles Times"

A remarkable book, one that fulfills the too often ephemeral promise of what has come to be called investigative journalism....The American people seldom have been given

this clear a window on their government's most sensitive deliberations.



Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"Instantly essential...By far the most intimate glimpse we have been granted of the Bush White House, and the administration's defining moment.

David Cook, "The Christian Science Monitor"Richly detailed, awesomely sourced...a granular record of the nation's march to war with Iraq, gleaned from interviews, memos, phone records, and PowerPoint presentations.

Tim Rutten, "Los Angeles Times"A remarkable book, one that fulfills the too often ephemeral promise of what has come to be called investigative journalism....The American people seldom have been giventhis clear a window on their government's most sensitive deliberations.

Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"Engrossing...Woodward uses myriad details to chart the Bush administration's march to war against Iraq. His often harrowing narrative not only illuminates the fateful interplay of personality and policy...but underscores the role that fuzzy intelligence, Pentagon timetables and aggressive ideas about the military and foreign policy had in creating momentum for war.

David Cook, "The Christian Science Monitor" Richly detailed, awesomely sourced...a granular record of the nation's march to war with Iraq, gleaned from interviews, memos, phone records, and PowerPoint presentations.

Tim Rutten, "Los Angeles Times" A remarkable book, one that fulfills the too often ephemeral promise of what has come to be called investigative journalism....The American people seldom have been given this clear a window on their government's most sensitive deliberations.

Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" Engrossing...Woodward uses myriad details to chart the Bush administration's march to war against Iraq. His often harrowing narrative not only illuminates the fateful interplay of personality and policy...but underscores the role that fuzzy intelligence, Pentagon timetables and aggressive ideas about the military and foreign policy had in creating momentum for war.

Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" Instantly essential...By far the most intimate glimpse we have been granted of the Bush White House, and the administration's defining moment. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 21 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
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.
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