Did Bob Woodward read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” before penning his latest tome?
In dissecting “the Woodward spasm,” the publicity and news blizzard that inevitably hails and accompanies a new Woodward book, Andrew Ferguson notes that Woodward, whose last two books didn’t please his old friends, the Democrats and liberal opiners, may have won them back with this one:
“Some Republicans therefore have already whispered that Woodward’s new book is a kind of reclamation project, by which he hopes to return to the good graces of the capital’s liberal establishment. If so, it’s already proved highly successful, which accounts for the intensity of the present spasm.”
Yes, but the whole Woodward spasm makes me want to get out the duct tape and seclude myself. On TV, Woodward droned on Sunday about the White House’s talking to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Woodward made it sound sinister. But who would know more than Kissinger about the perils of losing a war? I’m glad they are talking to the right man.
Of course, the book is more about Donald Rumsfeld, the villain, than George Bush. George Will notes something inadvertent in the book that shows Rumsfeld’s spine and adherence to principals (one of these principals being the right use of the military):
“The book actually includes one heartening story that should enhance Rumsfeld’s reputation. On Veterans Day, 2005, the president traveled to a Pennsylvania Army depot to deliver a speech announcing the new military policy for Iraq, the policy of ‘clear, hold and build.’
Woodward says Rumsfeld, having read the speech, called Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, a half-hour before Bush was to deliver it, and said, ‘Take that out.’ Card replied that the three words were the centerpiece of the speech, not to mention the war strategy. Rumsfeld replied, ‘Clear, we’re doing. It’s up to the Iraqis to hold. And the State Department’s got to work with somebody on the build.’
“At last, a division of labor that uses the U.S. military only for properly military purposes, and assigns responsibilities in a way that will force Iraq’s government to grow up. In the name of counterinsurgency, there has been too much of what today’s military argot calls ‘full-spectrum operations’ — operations that go beyond killing insurgents to building schools, connecting sewers and other civil projects that keep the training wheels on the Iraqi government’s bicycle and keep the United States chasing the chimera of ‘nation-building.”’