Gregory's Reviews > Obama's Wars

Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward
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M_50x66
's review
Dec 02, 10

bookshelves: nonfiction, politics
Read from November 15 to 28, 2010

From http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2010/...

I read Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars. I am a sucker for this type of light, insider scoop book (e.g. see Game Change) but this one was disappointing even for the genre. It can be summed up as follows: there were meetings, lots of meetings, with lots of arguing about troop numbers and periodic leaking. Quite often, these meetings were long and dull. After months of such meetings, President Obama decided on the troop levels.

I should note, though, that in a way Woodward has done the public a service in the sense of showing that policy making is not always an exciting West Wing experience. Instead, it is a grinding experience with major players elbowing each other for influence. Some of the more human interest stuff was already evident in places like the Rolling Stone interview with Stanley McChrystal so I didn't feel I learned much new about the internal divisions in the White House. Now the Wikileaks cables will be even juicier about the diplomatic side.

Interestingly, my impression is that the book is the most positive about Joe Biden, who was always skeptical about questionable claims (such as the ability to quickly train 400,000 Afghan security forces) and willing to do so openly, then offer alternate suggestions. On the other hand, the broad wlllingness by everyone to stand by goals that everyone seemed to know were unrealistic is a depressing reality.

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