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WORLD EVENTS Book Reviews

"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking."  Henry Louis Mencken

Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward Simon & Schuster, 2004

Bob Woodward tells the inside story of the planning of the Iraq war by the Bush administration. According to him he had almost unlimited access to many in the administration, including three hours with George bush.  The author is an accomplished writer and has written numerous books about Washington politics. The reading is easy and he makes no attempt to impress the reader by using words that require you to have a dictionary close at hand. It is interesting how he portrays the major players in the activities that lead up to the decision on whether to go to war. Who are the hawks and who are the doves?  The news media has tried to make this a work of Bush bashing, however I didn't see it as either pro or anti Bush.  It is just Woodward's documentation of the discussions and inputs that went into the decision to remove Saddam. 

Blinded by the Sunlight by Matthew McAllester HarperCollins, 2004

Matthew McAllester is a reporter for "Newsday".  In March of 2003 while the coalition troops came ever closer to Baghdad he found himself imprisoned in the worst hell hole on earth - Abu Ghraib. I found this book very interesting and eye opening. it is an account that you don't want to lay down.  It provides an in depth view of Iraq (mostly Baghdad) before during and after the overthrow of Saddam. Although the title would lead you to believe it is about the eight days the author spent in prison, it is much more.  It is really about the culture, the people, and the future of this country  After McAllester release from prison and his return home, he felt compelled to return to Iraq and find those that arrested and held him captive.  The ensuing search and his return trips to Abu Ghraib provides the reader an insight into saddam's brutal regime. The author's analysis of the post war months and predictions for the future of Iraq seem quite promising.

Endgame (The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror) By Lt. General Thomas McInerney & Maj. General Paul Vallely

In "endgame" the authors both retired generals develop and explain how to defeat the terrorist.  They define the countries and organizations that make up the web of terror. There are eight countries that are the major contributors to the terrorist and their cause.  In the process of generating a basis for future plans the authors discuss our successes and short comings in Afghanistan and Iraq.  They then devise and present a strategy to uncover and destroy the terrorist in almost every corner of the world.  I found the book to be well organized and contained information only military men could know. Their proposed plan requires preemptive military strikes in countries like Iran and North Korea, and other unconventional actions.  Would it work?  I don't know, and would surmise that our leaders aren't ready to implement a plan this radical.  However given another attack like 911 we might be ready to follow the lead of these two generals.