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Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,039 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
March 2003: The United States invades Iraq.

October 2006: The world finds out why.


What was really behind the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? As George W. Bush steered the nation to war, who spoke the truth and who tried to hide it? Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the Bush White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Congress to answer all the vital question
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Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,127)
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Paul Bryant
Apr 02, 2012 Paul Bryant marked it as assorted-rants-about-stuff  ·  review of another edition
I already have a Working Theory about how the hell we got dragged in to this one. It's controversial! Because - for example - I don't think Bush or Blair lied! Which is one thing everyone says they did. I explained this elsewhere but I'll recycle it here again. The year is 2002, the scene is Somewhere in Washington. The President speaks:

Bush : "We need to find out about Iraq - what's Saddam up to? I know, we'll ask the CIA."

CIA : "The Prez wants to know about Iran. No! Iraq. Sorry. Okay, I know
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Clif
Jan 20, 2016 Clif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not over yet. The disastrous American invasion of Iraq lingers 13 years later.

Enough time has passed for a thorough analysis of the events that led up to the war and here it is. Michael Isikoff dispassionately lays out the entire sorry sequence of events from before 9/11 through the conviction of "Scooter" Libby for the crime done by Karl Rove in blowing the cover of CIA agent Valerie Wilson with the idea of getting even with her husband, Joseph, for destroying the claim that Saddam Hussein
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Christopher Carbone
Apr 30, 2009 Christopher Carbone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to know how we got into Iraq.
Hubris is the best book on how the Bush Administration brought us to war in Iraq. Its also exceptional at describing the intelligence "failure" and the entire sordid Valerie Plame affair. The book is written by Michael Isikoff, the Newsweek reporter who broke the Monica Lewinski scandal, so you understand right away that he has no partisan axe to grind. The book is a very hard look at how Bush had a clear determination to invade Iraq; how they built a case on flimsy evidence, fears, paranoia, an ...more
Steven Peterson
Feb 04, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book in a long series on the march toward war in Iraq. It is one of the better of these volumes.

One key passage lays out the message of this book (page 410): "What had gone wrong? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and other administration officials had set themselves up by using the most dramatic and forceful rhetoric in persuading the nation that was necessary. They had approached the invasion of Iraq as though it were a political campaign. They pushed aside doubt, they e
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Frank Kohn
A bit tedious, and there's way too much ink spent on the Valerie Plame affair, but still a useful primer on how a majority of the American populace (me included) was duped into supporting the military intervention in Iraq. From the dubious rationale for the invasion (aluminum tubes + yellowcake from Niger = mushroom clouds!) to the early days of the botched occupation, the authors provide staggering detail from government officials and other witnesses that reveal an administration all too gung-h ...more
Jerry Peace
Jun 11, 2015 Jerry Peace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our Gang of Four (Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld, as well as their little minions) luxuriantly, incessantly lied our way into our war with Iraq. If you lie boldly enough, despite contrary evidence, and with tons of self-righteous arrogance, you will win out. With a little help from your friends, of course. The co-cowardly twins, U.S. Congress and the CIA, as well as media, who did their best Kevin Bacon imitation when fed with scraps of lies, repeating,bent over, "Thank you, sir. May I have ano ...more
Taylor Grayson
Feb 18, 2014 Taylor Grayson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a tedious read, since it gives an almost day-by-day account of five years of history, but if you want enough detail to be able to draw your own conclusions, perhaps there's no other way.

This book is fairly critical of the behavior of the Bush Administration, just as Woodward's "Plan of Attack" is fairly forgiving, but there doesn't appear to be any evidence that Bush, or anyone else, outright lied to get us into the war with Iraq. That doesn't mean that he's blameless, because there are oth
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Peterod0922
A strong account of the idiocy which has led us into the Iraq war. It does stay pretty much to the narrative of what the two authower were able to uncover on their own, and doesn't make too many leaps with the evidence into motives. However the evidence they are able to uncover is damning enough. If you are looking for the deeper reasons of "why", there are probably other books which would be of more interest (e.g Greg Palast's work).
Sam Sanford
Dec 05, 2007 Sam Sanford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book presents overwhelming evidence that the Bush and Cheney decided to go to war in Iraq a long time ago, even before 9/11, and details exactly how they strong-armed intelligence officials into delivering any scraps that could be distorted into evidence in favor of the predetermined decision to invade. They lied, they covered up their lies, they got away with it, and it is happening again.
Ross McKenrick
Dec 21, 2014 Ross McKenrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OMG. This is such a painful read! Blow by blow--the story of an incredibly disastrous administration. I actually haven't finished it yet (Chap 17) but the only concillation is that the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation is getting underway and all the assholes are really squirming now. How did these guys (and gals) get re-elected?? How did they escape prison?? Criminals. All.
Ray
Mar 14, 2008 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was informative but at the same time it was depressing. I have never really seen a more appropriate title to a book other than the dictionary. I was upset that people could be so blinded by their own beliefs that rational objective thinking is ignored because it doesn't mesh with what they believe.
Darrell Fisher
Jan 06, 2010 Darrell Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't care what side of the political aisle one might be in. You have to read this book. Our government lied to us in so many ways it will startle you. We cant allow any administration to have this much control of the entire system. George Bush was technically King for 8 years
Elizabeth Sulzby
Dec 30, 2010 Elizabeth Sulzby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent and a must-read about the Bush years. The best source on why the outing of NOC (non official cover) CIA officers is a crime--hence, the outing of Valerie Plane Wilson (ref. movie and book, Fair Game).

I wrote a full review earlier but once again Goodreads "lost it.


Bill Manzi
Jul 25, 2015 Bill Manzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well researched and ultimately compelling indictment of the Bush 43 rationale for the invasion of Iraq. For those that continue to espouse support for the Iraqi debacle a book like this, with actual details that are pretty hard to refute, is like exposing Count Dracula to sunlight. Isikoff demolishes the WMD rationale for invasion thoroughly; in doing so he brings to light not just "intelligence failures" but the subtle, and not so subtle, pressure on the intelligence community to conform to p ...more
Elena
I think what I learned from this book was the extent to which human error guides foreign policy. The way the intelligence agencies jockied to get errors off their books, the way everybody went along with faulty and discredited intelligence, either because they didn't want to rock the boat, or because of the incredible charismatic force of one bizarre academic, or because of personal grudges, or political preferences. It's not the typical progressive critique that the invasion of Iraq owed alot t ...more
Chris Seals
This book confirmed everything else I've been reading,and hearing all in one place. I had a hard time with keeping things straight, and only started writing in the margins half way through. I'm going to re-read it, and write in the beginning pages. I want to number how many times the Bush Administration was told there were NO WMD in Iraq. This should be in a seperate "notes" page, entitled, "Number of Times we were lied to, and when" with page numbers and who lied. Also should be included.... a ...more
Raimo Wirkkala
Mar 12, 2013 Raimo Wirkkala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent reporting tied together by a compelling narrative. A cautionary account of what can happen when the ruthless and dishonest lead the incurious.
John Beverley
There are other comprehensive reviews on GR & Amazon that capture the book well, and are very long. To keep it short I'll just point to my takeaways: it covers just about all of the players in the cabinet, the agencies, the Congress, the media, foreign nationals, and the advocacy groups. Shows how the shadow intelligence arm, the "Cheney Intelligence Agency", cherry picked raw intelligence to promote the administration's agenda. Some were sacrificial proxies: Powell, Rice, Libby. A couple we ...more
Mike Harper
This is interesting, particularly for readers who may be interested in political maneuvering and duplicity. It will confirm what Cheny haters already think they know. In fact the Bush crowd gets a real going-over here. Still, though, there's enough cohesive narrative to help the historically-minder reader piece together what happened before and for a time after the 2003 invasion.
There's way too much here about the "outing" of Valery Wilson, an event that is interesting but historically not signi
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Jim
This is a detailed account of the Bush Administration's misuse and abuse of faulty intelligence in support of going to war with Iraq in 2003. The author demonstrates in detail the faulty nature of the "tubes" reportedly purchased by Iraq for use in centrifuges to produce nuclear material, the existence of mobile trailers outfitted to create poisonous toxins, the existence of unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVS) possessed by Iraq to deliver WMD weapons against the United States, the supposed terrorist ...more
Walk-Minh Allen
Apr 14, 2012 Walk-Minh Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Isikoff's and Corn's detailed, and well-researched, book about the lead-up to America's second war on Iraq is heartbreaking, in the sense that so many Americans felt at the time that waging war against Iraq was both non-sensical and immoral, but they just didn't have the counter-intelligence to challenge the Bush administration's assumptions and rhetoric.

Now, with this book and 20/20 historical hindsight on their side, those Americans can feel vindicated. In particular, in the last couple chapt
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Jim
May 13, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readers of this book probably fall into two main groups. One group is made up of those who are already in agreement with its argument: that the second Bush administration pushed the country into a war based on faulty intelligence that was, itself, based on lies. Further, key members of that administration came into office already determined to invade Iraq. The other group of readers will throw the book aside in disgust because they still believe the invasion of Iraq was a necessary decision.

At
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Tom Schulte
At times I would like to think malfeasance from high office might only be incompetence, but with Bush, "Scooter" Libby, and the gossip-y Dick Armitage it sures looks like incompetent malfeasance: attacks on Ambassador Wilson, faking claims of Iraqi bio-weapon trucks and Hussein yellow cake purchases were hopeless endeavors that that succeeded inspite of themselves. (The Nigerian documents, sold by a wanna-be freelance spy more dishonest than Curveball was so inaccurate it was akin to producing o ...more
Bill S.
Jul 04, 2013 Bill S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
First off I'll admit to never being a fan of George W. Bush and after reading this book I'm even more amazed that (1) he was elected twice; and (2) most of his inner circle never went to prison for their part in the Iraq war fiasco.

This book makes very clear that Bush was going after Saddam Hussein whether there was any justification for it or not. Dubya, along with his closest advisers (Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowicz, et al), came up with the concept that Saddam has weapons of mass destructi
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James Hatton
Nov 19, 2014 James Hatton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Government foreign policy is a complex thing. It does not just comprise a nation's best interests, but also the personal interests of the people who implement that foreign policy. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Most of what the public hears are very deliberately crafted statements that are intended to garner support for the intentions of those who implement foreign policy. The truth is seldom black and white.

Here's black, white, and grey. Definitely worth reading.
Ahed AlHashmi
Dec 16, 2015 Ahed AlHashmi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
“Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, said, “This war was launched without an imminent threat to our families…. Radical ‘know it all’ ideologues here in Washington bent facts, distorted intelligence, and perpetrated lies designed to mislead the American people into believing that a third-rate thug had a hand in the 9/11 tragedy and was soon to unleash a mushroom cloud.”
― Michael Isikoff, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
Lauren
Aug 18, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very well-researched book detailing the disturbing effort by many in the Bush Administration to build public support for invading Iraq and the endless war that followed. Having previously read, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman, his leading and dominant role is this effort was not surprising, but nevertheless, still very disturbing. I am left dumbfounded at Bush's stubborn refusal to acknowledge any facts that didn't substantiate claims of WMD, Iraq/Al-Qaeda collusion in 9/1 ...more
Nicole
Oct 27, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. An amazing amount of research was completed to detail the debacle of the Iraq War. Impeccably researched, I learned alot about the players and politics that surrounded the run up to the war.

For me, Isikoff never answered the fundamental question, though: WHY? Yes, the intelligence was bad, egos were big and the mechanics of information dissemination so large, at times it's amazing that our government even functions, but I still don't understand the underlying motivation. And maybe tha
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Mark Sinnott
Aug 02, 2015 Mark Sinnott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good accounting of the lead-up and execution of the invasion of Iraq that points out where the Bush administration may have overstated the threat of Iraq in the wake of 9/11. This book couldn't have been written without a fair amount of liberal bias, and I'm sure conservatives would still spin the rationale to fit their agenda, but it is hard to see how the administration was being 100% truthful in their call for invading Iraq.
Jerry Smith
Hmmm. This is a book that is difficult for to review. It may be because I am really not sure that it adds to the sum of our knowledge about this sad, disgraceful episode in history. We know that Bush and Blair lied to the public and then attempted to cover it up. At the very least they were not as rigorous in investigating the intelligence as they should have been. This book really just tells us the factual story of the lead up to the war, and then the unraveling of situation as no WMDs were fou ...more
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“What made Saddam different from other dictators and worth an invasion? Fleischer bantered with Thomas and pointed out that “regime change” in Iraq had been the official policy of the U.S. government since President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Thomas” 0 likes
“Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, said, “This war was launched without an imminent threat to our families…. Radical ‘know it all’ ideologues here in Washington bent facts, distorted intelligence, and perpetrated lies designed to mislead the American people into believing that a third-rate thug had a hand in the 9/11 tragedy and was soon to unleash a mushroom cloud.” 0 likes
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