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elwin "elwin" (Cambridge, MA USA)

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My Life
My Life
by Bill Clinton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.35
102 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Remember: Nobody Died When Clinton Lied, June 24 2004
This review is from: My Life (Hardcover)
I just bought the book on my lunch hour, and have been thumbing it. Some people complain about the length of this book, but U.S. Grant, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon wrote longer autobiographies; theirs ran to over 1000 pages and two volumes.
Clinton haters may make a big deal of the fact that Clinton told a jury his affair with Lewinsky started in '96 (after her internship) but in the book (page 773, you can find it by looking for 'Lewinsky' in the index) he says "In late 1995, ... I'd had an inappropriate encounter with Monica Lewinsky and would do so again ..." Big deal, big liar Bill Clinton. If you're looking for confessions, check out page 153, where he admits to breaking and entering and larceny (in a kitchen in Oxford University.) But the point remains: Clinton's crimes were small potatoes, and nobody died when Clinton lied. Compare that with Bush's lies which have killed 837 American soldiers (and counting) and wounded thousands of others.
The book is written mostly chronologically, with flash-forwards and flashbacks to connect continuing themes. It makes for a slightly confusing tale (and perhaps reflects hurried writing at the end), but it's hard to see how else the book could have been structured. My advice is to use the index heavily and view the book as three tales interwoven:
The first tale is the personal autobiography, in which he recites personal accomplishments and acknowledges the many folks that helped him on his way, starting with the single mom and grand parents who raised him. Clinton spreads his praise warmly and generously, but this part of the book isn't particularly interesting to me, though there are some surprises; look up Bush, H.W., B.C's meeting and Chelsea's encounters; Clinton has alot of warm praise for Bush 41.
The second tale is the policy document. The best way to follow a policy issue is look it up in the (excellent) index and read all the referenced sections. For example, look up 'Contract with America' and read Clinton's approach to it. Look up 'Northern Ireland' and read the debate about whether and when to allow Gerry Adams a visa. You'll find a very concise capsule of the positions pro and con for a visa. If that's a representative instance of how good the policy document is, then it's very good indeed.
The third tale is the political tale. Again, the index your friend. Look up all the familiar names: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones (I saw little new info about them). The biggest part of this tale is about Ken Starr and the impeachment. I haven't looked at this part yet, so I can't comment on the substance. I have mixed feelings about the topic as a whole. In one sense, I'd like to leave it in the past. I feel the impeachment was harmful to our nation in numerous ways, and I'm glad it's over. However, in a larger sense, the impeachment was just an instance of the politics of personal destruction, and the politics of personal destruction are alive and thriving in America today, and both parties are getting more and more skillful at using selective truths to deceive the public. If Clinton's book stimulates a debate on deceit and destruction in American politics, then that would be a very good outcome.
In summary: use the index; it's your friend. What I've seen of the book is very interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

My Life
My Life
by Bill Clinton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.35
102 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody died when Clinton lied, June 22 2004
This review is from: My Life (Hardcover)
I just bought the book on my lunch hour, and have been thumbing it. Clinton haters may make a big deal of the fact that Clinton told a jury his affair with Lewinsky started in '96 (after her internship) but in the book (page 773, you can find it by looking for 'Lewinsky' in the index) he says "In late 1995, ... I'd had an inappropriate encounter with Monica Lewinsky and would do so again ..." Big deal, big liar Bill Clinton. If you're looking for confessions, check out page 153, where he admits to breaking and entering and larceny (in a kitchen in Oxford University.) But the point remains: Clinton's crimes were small potatoes, and nobody died when Clinton lied. Compare that with Bush's lies which have killed 837 American soldiers (and counting) and wounded thousands of others. Honestly, aren't you sickened by the double standard?
The book is written mostly chronologically, with flash-forwards and flashbacks to connect continuing themes. It makes for a slightly confusing tale, but it's hard to see how else the book could have been structured. My advice is to use the index heavily. Perhaps it's better to view the book as three tales interwoven:
The first tale is the personal autobiography, in which he recites personal accomplishments and acknowledges the many folks that helped him on his way, starting with the single mom and grand parents who raised him. Clinton spreads his praise warmly and generously, but this part of the book isn't particularly interesting to me, though there are some surprises; look up Bush, H.W., B.C's meeting and Chelsea's encounters; Clinton has alot of warm praise for Bush 41.
The second tale is the policy document. The best way to follow a policy issue is look it up in the (excellent) index and read all the referenced sections. For example, look up 'Contract with America' and read Clinton's approach to it. Look up 'Northern Ireland' and read the debate about whether and when to allow Gerry Adams a visa. You'll find a very concise capsule of the positions pro and con for a visa. If that's an accurate instance of how good the policy document is, then it's very good indeed.
The third tale is the political tale. Again, the index your friend. Look up all the familiar names: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones (I saw little new info about them). The biggest part of this tale is about Ken Starr and the impeachment. I haven't looked at this part yet, so I can't comment on the substance. I have mixed feelings about the topic as a whole. In one sense, I'd like to leave it in the past. I feel the impeachment was harmful to our nation in numerous ways, and I'm glad it's over. However, in a larger sense, the impeachment was just an instance of the politics of personal destruction, and the politics of personal destruction are alive and thriving in America today, and both parties are getting more and more skillful at using selective truths to deceive the public. If Clinton's book stimulates a debate on deceit and destruction in American politics, then that would be a very good outcome.
In summary: use the index; it's your friend. What I've seen of the book is very interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
by Ann Coulter
Edition: Hardcover
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars good parody except no punchlines!, June 11 2004
I started this book, and found it had many of the elements of great satire. It reminded me of the gentleman who styles himself "Gen. JC Christian, patriot" and posts his parodies at [...] Unfortunately, Coulter often leaves out the punchline, and that has confused many of her readers.
I can't resist a few examples: (from Page 5) "Liberals unreservedly call all conservatives fascists, racists, and enemies of civil liberties with no facts whatsoever." That's humorous because she never gives us a single example of a liberal who does all these things; much less evidence that liberals as a group do. This form of humor is called irony.
Another: "Liberals relentlessly attack their country, but we can't call them traitors, which they manifestly are, because that would be 'McCarthyism,' which never existed." See, that's a joke, because McCarthy himself used the word. For example, in Wisconsin in his 1952 re-election he said "McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled." Also in 1952, he published a collection of speeches "McCarthyism: The Fight for America." Yet Coulter continues to deny McCarthyism existed. Such a glaring contradiction is clear proof of parody.
Another funny: She accuses General George Marshall (WWII commander, later Sec'y of State), creator of "the Marshall Plan" that rebuilt Europe after WWII, of a "strange attraction" to "sedition" and calls him a "sniffing pantywaist." Here's why that's funny. Winston Churchill called Marshall the "true architect of victory" in the West European arena of World War II, summing up Marshall's efforts against Nazism. Clearly, the Marshall Plan was our nation's greatest deed ever in foreign affairs, and our best single bulkwark against communism. Marshall was also one of the creators of NATO, and was Sec'y of Defense during the beginning of the Korean War (see his short biography at [...] Indubitably, Marshall did more against Communism than any other single American. Questioning Marchall's patriotism only makes sense as ironic humor.
The problem is, Coulter often leaves out the punchlines. Or, to put it more accurately, the punchline is elsewhere in the historical record, like Senator McCarthy's own book, or Marshall's biography. The problem is, many readers take the book literally and don't recognize the satires and the parodies. I admit, I skipped ahead in the book looking for the big punchline, but I never found it.
Therefore, I'm sorry to have to rate this book as flawed humor: It's a very long joke without the punchline.

A Man in Full
A Man in Full
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.61
58 used & new from CDN$ 0.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for the ages, June 9 2004
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
You might, as you start reading Man in Full, think that it's going to be another bonfire of similar vanities. You might, but you would be wrong. I loved Bonfire of the Vanities, but this book has more heart; it's even better.
The book is mostly set in Atlanta, and Wolfe makes the case that Atlanta has a unique racial situation. Race relations and racial tensions form a major theme in the novel. Wolfe views race from many angles, including views from Atlanta's black elite, wealthy conservative and liberal southern white, and the inside of a California prison.
The characters and characterizations are marvelous. This was one of the strengths of Bonfires and it's a strength of this book too. I don't think Wolfe writes women as well as he writes men, but the men of several different walks of life are as fully fleshed as anything I've ever read. Another fascinating thing about the book is the inside knowledge Wolfe shares. The insider's view of an Atlanta mayoral campaign was truly eye-opening, as was the inside view of a prison.
The book is hard to classify, but the view is often satirical (like Bonfire), and makes fun of the pride, vanity, lusts, and fears of the elites (like Bonfire). However, there is more heart. Some of the heart shows up in Wolfe's compassion for divorced 50-something wives who have been discarded by their social climbing husbands. In Bonfire, the wives, called "X-rays" were subject to the same ridicule as their husbands; not so in this book. Wolfe also shows some compassion for the poor souls in prison, as he illuminates the brutal social structure in his california jail. It's never mawkish; it never plays for sympathy or tears, but the simple facts of prison life are a horror.
Finally, Wolfe's foray into Stoic philosophy is beautifully and brilliantly done. When was the last time you read a novel where a philosophy book formed a major plot element? I think this book will continue to be read long after we've forgotten about Tom Clancy and Danielle Steele and most of the rest of the current crop of best-selling authors.

Battle Ready
Battle Ready
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.60
76 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent; not an easy book to write, May 27 2004
This review is from: Battle Ready (Hardcover)
Both authors of this book, Clancy and Zinni, started out as Bush supporters. The point is not so much that they oppose a war with Iraq, it is that they oppose Bush's conduct of the war. Here are 10 criticisms Zinni makes (via the Center for Defense Information):
"And I think that will be the first mistake that will be
recorded in history, the belief that containment as a policy
doesn't work. It certainly worked against the Soviet Union,
has worked with North Korea and others.
"The second mistake I think history will record is that the
strategy was flawed. I couldn't believe what I was hearing
about the benefits of this strategic move. That the road to
Jerusalem led through Baghdad, when just the opposite is
true, the road to Baghdad led through Jerusalem. You solve
the Middle East peace process, you'd be surprised what kinds
of others things will work out.
"The third mistake, I think was one we repeated from
Vietnam, we had to create a false rationale for going in to
get public support. The books were cooked, in my mind.
"We failed in number four, to internationalize the effort.
"I think the fifth mistake was that we underestimated the
task . . . You are about to go into a problem that you don't
know the dimensions and the depth of, and are going to cause
you a great deal of pain, time, expenditure of resources and
casualties down the road.
"The sixth mistake, and maybe the biggest one, was propping
up and trusting the exiles, the infamous "Gucci Guerillas"
from London. We bought into their intelligence reports.
"The seventh problem has been the lack of planning . . . And
I think that lack of planning, that idea that you can do
this by the seat of the pants, reconstruct a country, to
make decisions on the fly, to beam in on the side that has
to that political, economic, social other parts, just a
handful of people at the last minute to be able to do it was
patently ridiculous.
"The eighth problem was the insufficiency of military forces
on the ground. There were a lot more troops in my military
plan for operations in Iraq.
"The ninth problem has been the ad hoc organization we threw
in there. No one can tell me the Coalition Provisional
Authority had any planning for its structure.
"And that ad hoc organization has failed, leading to the
tenth mistake, and that's a series of bad decisions on the
ground. De-Baathifying down to a point where you've
alienated the Sunnis, where you have stopped having
qualified people down in the ranks, people who don't have
blood on their hands, but know how to make the trains run on
time . . .
"Almost every week, somebody calls me up, if it's not Mark
Thompson it's somebody else, and says "What would you do
now?" You know, there's a rule that if you find yourself in
hole, stop digging. The first thing I would say is we need
to stop digging. We have dug this hole so deep now that you
see many serious people, Jack Murtha, General Odom, and
others beginning to say it's time to just pull out, cut your
losses. I'm not of that camp. Not yet. But I certainly think
we've come pretty close to that.
"I would do several things now. But clearly the first and
most important thing you need is that UN resolution. That's
been the model since the end of the Cold War, that has given
us the basis and has given our allies the basis for joining
us and helping us and provided the legitimacy we need."
Read it and weep. Weep for our brave young men and women who died unnecessarily. Weep for our country's lost honor. And weep for the lost opportunity to bring peace to the middle east.

The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy
The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy
by David Brock
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.28

4.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait to read this book!, May 18 2004
I can't wait to read this book! Brock used to make his living as a right wing scandal reporter; sort of a print version of Matt Drudge. In Brock's last book, "Blinded by the Right," he confesses to lying repeatedly to help Republican causes. In particular, he confesses to knowingly publishing lies about Anita Hill. Brock waited seven years before confessing, so the statute of limitations on slander was up).
How do you know when to believe and admitted liar? You don't believe; you check his sources and you ignore uncheckable claims (actually, that's a good approach for most any pundit). In his conservative days, Brock made sure his sources were uncheckable, using blind quotes, "friend of a friend" style sources. In "Blinded by the Right," Brock names names, so much of it checkable, and much of it checks out. (...)
... Even more surprising was that no
efforts surfaced to discredit anything he wrote of a personal
nature about players in the media and in the political arena.
And personal they are ---blushingly so. He avers that he has
not been sued or even, except in a "gotcha" on the date of a
wedding, caught in an inaccuracy. In one case, a columnist
at the New York Daily News called to say that Matt Drudge,
author of a well-known online newsletter, had denied Brock's
allegation that he had hit on him in Los Angeles, following up
with a sexually suggestive email. When Brock faxed a copy
of the offending email to the Daily News columnist, he heard
nothing more.
Which leads me to the topic of "Republican Noise Machine." Having written lies about Anita Hill, Bill and Hillary Clinton, etc, usually for minor and fringe publications, how did these lies get injected into the mass media echo chamber? How did they get reprinted by more respectable journalists and commentators? I mean, don't those people check their sources?
"Republican Noise Machine" purports to answer those questions, and I for one am exceedingly curious.

Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
by Bill Sammon
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting tidbits, May 14 2004
There are some interesting tidbits buried in this book. I haven't read the book yet, but it's author, Bill Sammon has been presenting excerpts in The Washington Times during the week of May 10, 2004. One of my favorite revealing excerpts concerns the Presidents habits with regard to the media. :
'Aware of the facts'
The media's questionable Vietnam analogies are just one
reason Mr. Bush does not pay much attention to press
coverage of his administration.
"I don't watch the nightly newscasts on TV, nor do I watch
the endless hours of people giving their opinion about
things," the president said. "I don't read the editorial
pages; I don't read the columnists."
Yet Mr. Bush regularly monitors the news pages of a select
few daily publications.
"I get the newspapers - the New York Times, The Washington
Times, The Washington Post and USA Today - those are the
four papers delivered," he said. "I can scan a front page,
and if there is a particular story of interest, I'll skim
it."
The president prides himself on his ability to detect bias
in ostensibly objective news stories.
"My antennae are finely attuned," he said. "I can figure
out what so-called 'news' pieces are going to be full of
opinion, as opposed to news. So I'm keenly aware of what's
in the papers, kind of the issue du jour. But I'm also aware
of the facts."
Those facts are extracted from news stories each day and
presented to the president by a half-dozen aides, Mr. Card
among them.
"Since I'm the first one to see him in the morning, I
usually give him a quick overview and get a little reaction
from him," Mr. Card explained. "Frequently, I find that his
reaction kind of reflects [first lady] Laura Bush's take."
Indeed, the president often cites articles that Mrs. Bush
flags for greater scrutiny, even when he has not personally
slogged through those stories. Mrs. Bush routinely delves
more deeply into the news pages than her husband, who
prefers other sections.
"He does not dwell on the newspaper, but he reads the
sports page every day," Mr. Card said with a chuckle.
'A clear outlook'
Mr. Bush thinks that immersing himself in voluminous,
mostly liberal-leaning news coverage might cloud his
thinking and even hinder his efforts to remain an optimistic
leader.
"I like to have a clear outlook," he said. "It can be a
frustrating experience to pay attention to somebody's false
opinion or somebody's characterization, which simply isn't
true."
--------
So there you have it! Bush always reads the sports pages. He looks at the news mostly to confirm his notions of pervading liberal bias. He avoids opinions because he wants to preserve his prior opinions; doesn't like to have his own opinions challenged. How do contrary opinions get a hearing in the Oval Office? They simply don't. You were perhaps wondering how we managed to blunder so badly and so repeatedly in Iraq? As Josh Marshall puts it:
How could we have ignored so many warnings, so much expert
advice, so many facts staring us in the face? The president
just gave you the answer.
This book is intended to be 100% pro-Bush. The author, Bill Sammon, is a Senior Correspondent for The Washington Times (an extremely pro-Bush paper owned by the Unification Church of Reverend Moon) and a political analyst for the Fox News Channel. But still, the fact that Bush surrounds himself in a cocoon of no dissent comes through loud and clear. I don't know ifI'll buy the book, but I sure did learn something from it.

A Deepness in the Sky
A Deepness in the Sky
by Vernor Vinge
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
66 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great science fiction, May 12 2004
This is great science fiction! I usually like Vinge's books, and this one was fully up to par. It intertwines two converging stories. One is about a group of (human) freedom loving space traders who travel and sell in many star systems, who are thrown together with (human) totalitarian exploiters. The other is about an intelligent race of spiders whose "on-off" star blinks with a century-long period -- thus they must endure a multi-decade deep freeze during their lifetimes (the "Deepness" in the title is a place where spiders can hibernate through a freeze).
This is great science fiction. The plot is exciting, and Vinge invents and explores the ramifications of several interesting technologies plus the weird on-off star environment. He also explores social conflicts between the human societies and the spider societies. Both sets of societies appear to have intentional parallels with current societies here on earth.
I believe Vinge intends those parallels to be an important part of the book, so I'm going to write a little more about them. Many of Vinge's books feature societies based around a libertarian ideal of little or no government, and privatization of government's traditional functions. For example, in a story called "The Ungoverned," a section of the former United States has no government at all, and people hire private companies with names like "Michigan State Police" and "Al's protection Racket" for traditional government services.
One problem with a government-free society is the possibility that some people may completely trample the rights of others without fear of reprisal. In "Deepness," Vinge encapsulates that problem as the problem slavery. The totalitarians are not averse to slavery; the freedom-loving traders despise slavery.
I see one flaw in the book, which doesn't affect the science fiction or the exciting plot; only the philosophy. The flaw is that Vinge doesn't adequately account for *why* the good guys' hate slavery. After all, one could consider slavery a form of contract, or slaves an article of trade (slavery was treated this way here on earth for thousands of years). Vinge's explanation of why the traders hate slavery is essentially social taboo -- it's part of the trader culture. But it's a taboo that has lasted a thousand years and holds everywhere in the many loose-knit trader communities. Why? We know societies change and upstarts challenge taboos, so the ones that remain must serve some very useful purpose. Vinge doesn't account for the constancy of the taboo.
I think a libertarian philosophy that allowed slavery would be repugnant to many readers, so Vinge created one that prevented slavery, but his taboo mechanism is weak. I think this points up a flaw in libertarian philosophy that Vinge is struggling to deal with -- the flaw being that libertarianism may be a little to value-neutral to appeal to mainstream American readers raised on apple pie and the U.S. Constitution. I'll be interested to see how Vinge continues to deal with this issue in future writings.
Never the less, as I mentioned above, the flaw doesn't affect the plot or the science fiction; only the philosophy of the book. It's still great SF, imaginative and thought provoking, and a very enjoyable read.

Rewriting History
Rewriting History
by Dick Morris
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Recycling his wrong predictions from 2003-2004, May 5 2004
This review is from: Rewriting History (Hardcover)
Dick Morris currently makes a good portion of his living hawking erroneous predictions about Hillary Clinton. But don't take my word for it; look at the record!
In late 2003 and early 2004, Dick Morris was quoted in (and wrote) a number of newspaper columns predicting Hillary Clinton would run for President on the Democratic ticket in the 2004 General election. Look for titles such as "Hillary's Hat in the Race?" (Aug 2003), "As Dubya Sinks, Al & Hill Scheme" (Sept 2003) "Hillary Operative Eyeing Soft Money for Prez Race" (Oct 2003), Although the 2004 election is still in the future, I think it's pretty safe bet that all those predictions are wrong.
When it became clear that Hillary wasn't running, Morris started predicting Hillary was angling for Vice President "Hillary's veepstakes" parts 1 and 2 (Feb 2004), and "Will the Hildabeast Run?" (March 2004). Again, we don't yet know Kerry's choice for VP, but it's likely to be either Senator Edwards or a governor from a swing state. Since Kerry wrapped up the nomination, there's been relative silence on the "Hillary 2004" front.
Now, into that void, Dick Morris drops his latest tome, predicting Hillary will run for President in 2008. I have to admit, this book is a better idea than some of his earlier columns, because it will take about four years for events to prove him wrong. Will Hillary run in 2008? I haven't any idea. More to the point; Dick Morris has no idea either. What's more, he has a pretty lousy track record on his Hillary predictions. But he'll still make them, because there are plenty of suckers out there to buy them.
OK, enough commentary -- time for more fine erroneous Dick Morris predictions. Check out "She'll Never Leave the Starting Gate" (July 1999) in which he assures his readers the Hillary will never be elected to the Senate in New York. Oops! Morris sure blew that one! For more laughs, check out the Jan 2004 quote "John Kerry's misguided campaign will probably come to an end in New Hampshire." Oops! Looks like Morris doesn't restrict his errors to Hillary. For what it's worth, Morris also picked Dean as the likely Democratic nominee. Sorry; my fingers are getting tired of typing in Morris's errors.
But hey, the truth is there's a religion out there called "I hate Hillary Clinton." And Dick Morris is its Pope. And when your Pope publishes a book, you'll go out and buy it, regardless of how wrong he's been in the past. Well, you know what they say about a fool and his money...

Plan of Attack
Plan of Attack
by Bob Woodward
Edition: Hardcover
82 used & new from CDN$ 0.62

4.0 out of 5 stars great book; left me with a few questions, May 3 2004
This review is from: Plan of Attack (Hardcover)
This is a great book, if only for the level of access that Woodward got to Bush's inner circle. But you can read about that in other reviews, so I'll concentrate on the questions the book raised in my mind.
(1) The Tenet "slam dunk" issue. Here's a quote the book:
(from pages 249-250): From McLaughlin's presentation,
[Bush chief of staff Andrew] Card was worried that there
might be no "there there," but Tenet's double reassurance on
the slam dunk was memorable and comforting. Cheney could
think of no reason to question Tenet's assertion. He was,
after all, the head of the CIA and would know the most. The
president later recalled that McLaughlin's presentation
"wouldn't have stood the test of time." But, said Bush,
Tenet's reassurance-"That was very important."

"Needs a lot more work," Bush told Card and Rice. "Let's get
some people who've actually put together a case for a jury."
He wanted some lawyers, prosecutors if need be. They were
going to have to go public with something.

The president told Tenet several times, "Make sure no one
stretches to make our case."
Great words from the President here. But this episode took place in December. Starting in September, Woodward reports, (page 178) "Bush asserted unequivocally, 'Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction.'" In fact, Bush repeatedly expressed his certainty that Iraq possessed WMDs all through that autumn.
So my question is: Why is Bush asking Tenet in december about evidence for WMDs when he's been publicly telling the nation there's no doubt for the past four months? Woodward failed to ask this question, and I think it's a key one.
(2) From the Woodward book and other sources, we know that Bush prays for guidance from God for his key decisions. I think it's a fair assumption he asked God about the WMDs. In any case, Bush told the us (Woodward, page 189): "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more." Then he added, "And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given."
Since he presumably checked that statement with God, and the statement turned out to be false, there are only a few possibilities here: (a) God told Bush to lie to us, or (b) God lied to Bush. Neither one sounds much like the God I've always heard about, so we're left with an unhappy third choice: (c) Bush thinks he's hearing from God, but at least part of the time he's wrong about that. That's a pretty scary prospect, and it seems to be the most likely scenario.
Anyway, I wish Woodward had pressed Bush on this point as well. Never the less, I think it's a great book, sheds alot of light on Bush's decision making processes, and is well worth reading.

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