Woodward’s Imperial Trifles


Bob Woodward, “How do you think history will regard the war in Iraq?”

Bush, (hesitating) “It won’t matter. We’ll all be dead.”

Once again, imperial chronicler Bob Woodward finds himself at the center of national attention with his appearance on 60 Minutes. Woodward, who had previously endeared himself to the Bush Administration with his pandering portrait of the President in “Bush at War”, has launched a blistering assault on White House credibility with his new book, “Plan of Attack“. The book will add significantly to the widely held belief that the war in Iraq was cooked up with little regard for the facts. Rather, it solidifies the testimony of both Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill that the Administration was “fixated” on Iraq from the get-go and did whatever they could to fabricate a rationale to justify the invasion.

Woodward adds little of interest to the preponderance of evidence that the war was both unwise and unnecessary. His appearance does, however, add one more voice to the chorus of professionals who are challenging the Administration’s motivation. Woodward shows that the motivation for war in Iraq clearly overshadowed any real threat to national security.

Although the Woodward interview provided some interesting insights into the messianic character of our 43rd President, (The “messenger of God’s Will”) there is a question of whether Woodward may have had a larger purpose in savaging Bush on national TV.

It is striking that Woodward was able to interview 75 of the highest ranking government officials without any of them suspecting that he might blind sight the President with privileged information.

Could it be that Woodward has an agenda of his own, or is he just the straight-shooting journalist who “tells it like it is?”

Both Richard Clarke and ex-Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill are considerably more convincing in the role of “concerned citizen” than the unctuous Woodward.

Woodward is the ultimate insider; a major player among Washington power brokers. He is as much a part of the established order as anyone in the Administration or anyone leading a major American corporation.

His newspaper, (The Washington Post) while more nuanced than either FOX News or the Washington Times, is equally guilty in crafting a narrative that supports the basic institutions of American power. To be sure, the Post did not equivocate when it came to creating a “story-line” that was sympathetic to invading a defenseless Iraq.

Now, apparently, since the policy of staying in Iraq is set in stone, he feels comfortable in tossing Bush out of the lifeboat.

“Ingratitude, the marble-hearted beast!”

This is a struggle between American elites battling over the political direction of the country. Woodward knows how to play the game as well as anyone. His interview on 60 Minutes was just the first salvo in what looks to be a brutal campaign. He has reconciled the idea of sticking the dagger in Bush knowing full well that Kerry is in the wings ready to carry out the same policies with just a tad bit more discretion. His assault on Bush is not so much a challenge to the existing framework of American power, as it is an effort at “fine-tuning” its operation by supporting more competent leadership.

This is how newspaper editors assume the role of “kingmaker;” creating heroes out of flawed politicians, and then, knocking them down with a stroke of the pen.

Woodward is a bright guy. He saw through the Bush façade long ago, but it didn’t suit his purposes to blow the whistle. Now, he is trying to affect the appearance a cub reporter who is merely “acting in the public interest”.

It’s pure hypocrisy.

Bob Woodward is at the very epicenter of the nation’s corrupt core; a poseur who regulates the flow of information so it fits his own political agenda.

When the dust settles over the current flap, Bush will have taken another well deserved beating in the public eye and moved down another notch in the polls. Conversely, the oily Woodward will be lauded for his courageous commitment to the truth, while having successfully performed his task as political assassin.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com


MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.