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Bush and War

K.P. Fabian

By Bob Woodward
Simon & Schuster, London, 2006, pp. 560, $20.00


Bob Woodward's State of Denial is the third in the series Bush at War, the earlier ones being Bush at War(2002) and Plan of Attack(2004). All the three belong to the category of international bestsellers. No other contemporary author can match the ability of Woodward to make individuals in office or otherwise in the know to talk freely to him and through him to the reader and thus enabling her to understand better the state of mind of the principal decision-maker ,in this case the 43rd president Bush, and his close aides. The reader gets to know, to an extent, of their innermost thoughts, fears, calculations, prejudices, manipulations and the reasons that prompted them to do what they did.   The author recounts how the father, the 41 st president, groomed his son, the then governor of Texas to be the presidential candidate. In 1997, Bush senior, 74, and five years out of the White House, phoned up the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and asked him to go and talk to the governor of Texas. By then Bandar, 49, had put in 15 years as ambassador in Washington. The ex-president and Bandar had known each other since the 1980s .Bandar planned a trip to Houston to see the football game of Dallas Cowboys as a 'cover.' The governor told him that he was planning to run for the presidency, but he did not have the "foggiest idea about international ,foreign policy." Bandar gave a tutorial to his diligent student by taking him on a world tour. The guru and the student kept in touch regularly. Months later, after securing the Republican nomination, the candidate asked Bandar to explain why he should bother about North Korea. Condi Rice and others have been talking about North Korea and George could not figure it out till Bandar pointed out that there were38,000 US troops at the border. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Bandar was one of the chief actors pushing for the war though in the case of Bush he was pushing on an open door.   The senior Bush asked Condi Rice who had worked for him to join the family for a weekend at Kennebunkport. It was August 1988. Condi started diligently on her mission and commenced a relationship that was to change her life and to impact on the course of history. Condi provides the information, but does not emerge as the ...

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