State Of Denial

Since the third and last, (thank god), debate I’ve essentially over-occupied myself with reading one of the most instructive and yet discouraging books I’ve ever read: State of Denial by Bob Woodward. While many of you may have pushed through this very detailed account of the actual execution of war planning and war execution, I’ve purposefully avoided all of the Woodward books on the Bush White House. I assumed I would be depressed beyond easy tolerance. I was right.

If ever there was a primer on how to not plan or run a war; or to encourage a slap upside the heads of the various military, intelligence and executive bureaucracies this is it. I’ve never read a more ridiculous assortment of instances of non-communication. If Barack Obama, himself, reads this book he will know some the problems he will face during the transition and on his first day in office.

The interagency bickering and lack of communication is astounding. As a business person I know that communication is everything in any process. Non-communication; the simple refusal to carry out well-defined orders has brought many fighters home in caskets.  No wonder all civilian contractors in Iraq came to depend on private security organizations. They simply had no choice. There was no security.

If there’s a book to put on your list it’s State of Denial. It will teach you the dysfunctional nature of the executive branch of our government. I haven’t finished yet and, frankly, I’m not sure I have the stomach for it.

This is Woodward’s third of four books on the Bush Presidency. The most recent is The War Within.

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