Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 8 (8 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

"Obama's Wars": The Real Story Bob Woodward Won't Tell

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 10/4/10

- Advertisement -

reprinted from

Just one year before the publication of "Obama's Wars," Bob Woodward became a player in his own book-in-progress. He morphed into his true identity: Warrior Bob. Actually, there's an even deeper persona, Agent Woodward"‰--"‰ but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

In June of 2009, Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, President Obama's National Security adviser, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because Jones knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line"‰--"‰the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward's patron.

The New Republic's Gabriel Sherman wrote at the time that

"Jones was a guest of Woodward at his wife Elsa Walsh's fiftieth birthday party held at Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee's house. He and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started"

In September of last year, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked to Woodward a document that essentially forced President Obama's hand. Obama wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military's "confidential" assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along. Nobody was happier than the Pentagon"‰--"‰and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military contracting establishment.

The website Firedoglake chronicled the developments in a pungent essay:

Apparently General McChrystal and the Petraeus cabal aren't willing to wait for their Commander in Chief to set the strategy. Prior to the President's interviews, McChrystal's people were already telling journalists that they were "impatient with Obama" as Nancy Youssef reported. This "Power Play," as I mentioned last night, included a veiled threat that McChrystal would resign if he didn't get his way.

- Advertisement -

And sure enough, just hours after the Commander in Chief was on the airwaves, somehow McChrystal's classified report hit the Washington Post " compliments of Bob Woodward no less.

Wow, what a coincidence!

This episode highlights a crucial aspect of Bob Woodward's career that has been ignored by most of the media. Simply put, Woodward is the military's man, and always has been.

For almost four decades, under cover of his supposedly "objective" reporting, Woodward has represented the viewpoints of the military and intelligence establishments. Often he has done so in the context of complex inside maneuvering of which he gives his readers little clue. He did it with the book Veil, about CIA director William Casey, in which he relied on Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, a rival of Casey's, as his key source. (Inman, from Texas, was closely identified with the Bush faction of the CIA.) The book was based in part on a "deathbed interview" with Casey that Casey's widow and former CIA guards said never took place.

Typically, Woodward uses information he gets from his main sources to gain access to others. He then gets more secrets from them, and so on down the line. His stature"‰--"‰if that's the word"‰--"‰as a repository of this inside dope has been key to the relentless success machine that his media colleagues have perpetuated. The New York Times review of his Obama book laid out the formula:

- Advertisement -

In Obama's Wars, Mr. Woodward, as usual, eschews analysis and commentary. Instead, he hews to his I Am a Tape Recorder technique, using his insider access to give readers interested in inside-the-Beltway politics lots of granular detail harvested from interviews conducted on background, as well as leaked memos, meeting notes and other documents. Some of this information is revealing about the interplay of personality and policy and politics in Washington; some of it is just self-serving spin. As he's done in his earlier books, Mr. Woodward acknowledges that attributions of thoughts, conclusions or feelings to a person were in some cases not obtained directly from that person, but from notes or from a colleague whom the person told"‰--"‰a questionable but increasingly popular method, which means the reader should take the reconstructed scenes with a grain of salt.

And then, thanks to all this attention, and even with that grain of salt, the book went to #1.

But might there be more to Woodward and his oeuvre than just questionable work practices? Well, let's see. Woodward granted former CIA director George H.W. Bush a pass by excluding him from accounts of Iran-Contra, which occurred while the notorious intriguer was vice president under the notoriously hands-off Ronald Reagan. (When I asked Woodward about this for my book Family of Secrets, he replied, "Bush was"What was it he said at the time? I was out of the loop?") Later Woodward got exclusive access to H.W.'s son. He spent more time with George W. Bush than did any other journalist, writing several largely sympathetic books about his handling of Iraq and Afghanistan before playing catch-up with prevailing sentiment and essentially reversing course.

Next Page  1  |  2


Author, investigative journalist, editor-in-chief at

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Real Reason For The Afghan War?

The Military and Those Strange Threats to Obama

CloseReading: Are Joe Biden's "Gaffes" Accidental? Or Brilliant?

Tea Party Types say: Next Overboard, Lifeguards!

NY Times' Umbrella Man Exposed

JFK Umbrella Man -- More Doubts


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

but the more I read, the more too much of what you... by steve scheetz on Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010 at 6:55:35 AM
The power machine in DC takes down everyone that t... by truthseeker7 on Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010 at 8:40:29 AM
Puerto Rican and US writers have flagged Woodward ... by Ricardo Levins Morales on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 12:03:26 PM