Obama's Wars Hardcover – Sep 27 2010
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From the Back Cover
39 New and Revised Titles. The Best Just Got Better! Plus Glossary from Webster's New World Dictionary Anthem Atlas Shrugged Beowulf Brave New World The Canterbury Tales The Catcher in the Rye The Contender The Crucible The Fountainhead Frankenstein The Grapes of Wrath Great Expectations The Great Gatsby Hamlet Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer Huckleberry Finn The Iliad Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Inherit the Wind Jane Eyre Julius Caesar The Killer Angels King Lear The Lord of the Flies Macbeth 1984 The Odyssey The Oedipus Trilogy The Once and Future King Othello The Outsiders Pride and Prejudice The Red Badge of Courage Romeo and Juliet The Scarlet Letter A Separate Peace A Tale of Two Cities To Kill a Mockingbird Wuthering Heights See inside for the complete line-up of available CliffsNotes! Check Out the All-New CliffsNotes Guides To AOL®, iMacs, eBay®, Windows® 98, Investing, Creating Web Pages, and more! More Than Notes! CliffsComplete CliffsTestPrep CliffsQuickReview CliffsAP Over 300 CliffsNotes Available @ cliffsnotes.com Downloadable 24 hours a day Free daily e-mail newsletters Free tips, tricks, and trivia Free online CliffsNotes catalog Free self-assessment tools Freeware and shareware downloads --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for forty-four years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for The Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal, and later for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored twelve #1 national nonfiction bestsellers. He has two daughters, Tali and Diana, and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, writer Elsa Walsh.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Every leader values having subordinates who quickly, effectively, and eagerly obey without complaining once a decision has been made. In Obama's Wars, you can see that the president's selections of top appointees mostly didn't include seeking out such people. It's not surprising that when it came to deciding whether to surge troop levels in Afghanistan that the people involved followed their own agendas, rather than the president's. Bob Woodward was able to gather so much evidence about the process from participants that they might as well have invited him into all of the meetings in the first place. It's a disturbing level of "disclosure" about what are supposed to be secret topics.
Because of concerns about increasing terrorist threats to the United States, everyone involved felt the urge to do what they knew how to do: Send more troops to Afghanistan. After reading this book, you'll wish that they spent as much time on improving ways to track down and stop terrorists on their way to North America from al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia rather than on killing as many Taliban as possible.
The ultimate decision is simply a sop to the military leaders, not a practical plan to accomplish anything. It reminded me of the methods being used to reduce unemployment: Spend trillions without having a clear idea of what the benefit is because a worse result seems unacceptable. If some "experts" with credentials can supply a rationale, run with that fig leaf and spend, spend, spend. While that's fine when it comes to money, you have to wonder about its relevance when lives and safety are at stake.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Woodward's writing has the poet's touch. It is elegant, straightforward, and of such compelling interest that this book like many others he has written, is a page turner. You start it, and you just keep going until you are finished.
First we must discuss his sources and methods. This author doesn't publish unless he has confirmation of what he is being told by an additional 3rd party. His interviews are recorded, transcribed and then checked for errors. He sometimes revisits the same interviewee 4 or 5 times. He works with notes, documents and recollections.
Although a person being interviewed may request that it be background only, once Woodward gets the same story from another independent source, the story is no longer background. Many people have talked to Woodward on the basis of background in an effort to remain anonymous, and control him. It just doesn't remain that way. You are not going to fool this man.
When you read Obama's Wars, you realize that you can't obtain this much great information if you read a year's worth of the New York Times. You are getting the real deal here, and you don't get it anywhere else. Let me illustrate:
* When meeting President Bush's intelligence officer and hearing what he had to say prior to the election, then Senator Obama responds that he was worried about losing this election, now he's worried about winning the election with the information he is being told.
* Woodward confirms for us that Pakistani intelligence, the so called ISI has been giving aide to the Taliban, while taking $2 billion a year in cash from us.
* During the first half of 2008, the US made only 4 Predator strikes in Pakistan. Pakistan made the US warn the ISI ahead of time before a strike could be made. The ISI in turn would warn the Taliban and the bad guys would head for the hills prior to the strike. Once American got wise to the setup, we only gave the ISI simultaneous warning, and frankly we waited until the Predator was ready to fire its missiles before giving that warning. Where are you going to get information like this? I don't see it in the Washington Post, and certainly not the NY Times.
* President Obama was informed that 35 countries do not require Visas prior to coming to the United States. Terrorists are now coming to the US through those countries and forming cells. Our worst nightmare may be yet to come.
* Iran will have a gun-type nuclear weapon between 2013 and 2015 which will be demonstrated in the desert. Saudi Arabia will immediately notify Pakistan that you help us develop a nuclear weapon, or we cut off oil supplies to your country.
* Then Senator Obama was the victim of a cyber attack on his campaign by the Chinese government that copied his documents and files. The greater danger was what would happen if they destroyed the files as opposed to just copying them. The same thing happened to Senator McCain and his campaign.
* But Wait - there's more. Senator Obama was then told that every day both the Bank of NY and Citibank handle $3 trillion a day in funds transfers, whereas the entire economy is equal to $14 trillion in gross domestic product. Other countries now have the capability to interfere with those transactions through cyber war. The resulting financial chaos would be exponentially worse than the World Trade Center destruction. We do not have a cyber defense yet.
Woodward is at his best when discussing personalities. His discussion of Hillary Clinton's reluctance, then refusal and finally acceptance of the Cabinet position of Secretary of State is absolutely fascinating. Senator Clinton did not want the position, but Senator Obama's people sensed the door was still opened, so they told her to sleep on it over night. During the night Senator Clinton consulted Mark Penn, the Clinton pollster who basically asked her if she was crazy. Take it, "you will have an unmatched record of public service." He also reminded her that you are weak on foreign policy and national security, and now you will have absolute bonafides in both, and it didn't hurt that you she will finally show independence from her husband.
Yes, there's Richard Holbrooke the egotist, and General Petraeus comes through looking great. No one lays a glove on the General. The Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gets very high marks in the book. Over and over again, when you read Woodward, you recognize that the story you are reading is not something that is covered anywhere else. You are a part of the decision making process. You are involved. You know who makes sense and who doesn't, who's brilliant, and who's all talk, and no show.
I have given you pieces here and pieces there, a flavoring of a giant ice cream Sundae. Every page has a great story, and there is nothing superfluous in this great read. This book gets five stars. If you love politics, a good story, history, and reading what a great author operating at the peak of his powers can do, read Obama's Wars, and thank you for reading this review.
Richard C. Stoyeck
Reading this book is quite educational. Woodward incorporates many characters into this book, including some that are probably unknown to those who don't regularly follow the news. Prior to reading this book I wasn't aware of the extent of Biden's influence, and I didn't fully understand the gravity of the Mumbai bombings or exactly how important Pakistan is to the war on terror. This book gave me a much better understanding of both the similarities and differences between al Qaeda and the Taliban, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and between Karzai and Zardari.
For those who have read recent Woodward best-sellers such as "State of Denial" or "The War Within," the feel of this book will be familiar. His writing style is far from elegant prose. Some passages are borderline robotic; this is often due to directly paraphrasing or selectively quoting sources.
Woodward successfully avoids any partisan slant, despite what some other reviewers have implied. The amount of information Woodward has here is amazing. As time goes by we will have a much more complete picture of what is currently happening, but for a present-day look at the Obama administration, this book would be very hard to beat. A page-turner!
For those wondering if "Obamas Wars" covers both Iraq and Afghanistan, I would opine that it does not. Obama arguably inherited a war and a drawdown when he took office. As I read the book, I felt that the use of "wars" plural referred to the ongoing Afghanistan conflict, the "war" within the White House over what policy to back, the "war" within the Department of Defense over what military options to exercise, the "war" between US foreign policy and domestic political concerns as the latter seemed more important to Democrats while Republicans preferred to emphasize the former, and the "war" - percieved or not - between military and civilian authorities, in this case a President who did not feel as if his wishes were being carried out to the letter. The book ends in July 2010 around the time when Woodward interviewed President Obama.
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