Monday, October 13, 2008

The War Within

I recently finished two books, Bob Woodward's "The War Within" and Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side"

Woodward's book was interesting, but most of it was confirmation of information that I already knew. What was particularly interesting was the description of the organizational dysfunction that existed in the White House. I know that this is not unique to the Bush White House. I suppose that when you have that many smart, powerful, egotistical people in close proximity, squabbles and fights are to be expected. I did wonder how useful work or sound policy making was ever accomplished. I also wondered if a less ideological group could have worked together more effectively.

I was taken by President Bush's seeming serenity and resolution in the face of such obvious failures. Obvious even to him, although there were incidents that seemed to indicate he never knew or, at least would never admit to himself, the full extent of the problems. I still think his psychological defense is to refuse to acknowledge failures and "Stay the Course." I don't believe that the Surge was so much a new strategic direction as much as it was the only option available that let him continue on the same path and not have to challenge his basic beliefs or admit fundamental errors.

I'll discuss Jane Mayer's book in a later post.

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