Synopses & Reviews
Plan of Attack
is the definitive account of how and why President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launched a preemptive attack to topple Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq. Bob Woodward's latest landmark account of Washington decision making provides an original, authoritative narrative of behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years, examining the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam.
Based on interviews with 75 key participants and more than three and a half hours of exclusive interviews with President Bush, Plan of Attack is part presidential history charting the decisions made during 16 critical months; part military history revealing precise details and the evolution of the Top Secret war planning under the restricted codeword Polo Step; and part a harrowing spy story as the CIA dispatches a covert paramilitary team into northern Iraq six months before the start of the war. This team recruited 87 Iraqi spies designated with the cryptonym DB/ROCKSTARS, one of whom turned over the personnel files of all 6,000 men in Saddam Hussein's personal security organization.
What emerges are astonishingly intimate portraits: President Bush in war cabinet meetings in the White House Situation Room and the Oval Office, and in private conversation; Dick Cheney, the focused and driven vice president; Colin Powell, the conflicted and cautious secretary of state; Donald Rumsfeld, the controlling war technocrat; George Tenet, the activist CIA director; Tommy Franks, the profane and demanding general; Condoleezza Rice, the ever-present referee and national security adviser; Karl Rove, the hands-on political strategist; other key members of the White House staff and congressional leadership; and foreign leaders ranging from British Prime Minister Blair to Russian President Putin.
Plan of Attack provides new details on the intelligence assessments of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and the planning for the war's aftermath.
"Based on exhaustive research and remarkable access to the White House, including two sessions with President Bush and more than 75 interviews with administration officials, veteran Washington Post assistant managing editor Woodward delivers an engrossing blow-by-blow of the run-up to war in Iraq. In November 2001, just months after September 11, Woodward reports, Bush pulled aside defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and asked him to secretly begin updating war plans for Iraq. Sixteen months later, in March 2003, after an intense war-planning effort, a tense political fight at home and a carefully crafted 'if-you-don't-we-will' diplomatic strategy with the U.N., the American invasion began. Woodward has penned a forceful, often disturbing narrative that captures the deep personality and policy clashes within the Bush administration. Bush, along with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove and Paul Wolfowitz, are portrayed as believing in a sweeping mission to export democracy and to have America be viewed as strong and willing to walk the walk. They are counterbalanced by Colin Powell, who emerges here as a reluctant warrior, a pragmatic voice eventually muted cautioning the president against a rush to war. The most stunning aspect of the story, however, is the glaring intelligence failure of George Tenet's CIA, from bad WMD information to what Woodward reports as the outright manipulation of questionable intelligence to make the case for war. With this book, Woodward, the author of an astonishing nine number-one bestsellers, has delivered his most important and impressive work in years. Ultimately, this first-class work of contemporary history will be remembered for shedding needed light on the Iraq War, whatever its final outcome." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[E]ngrossing....[An] often harrowing narrative....Plan of Attack has a more choral-like narrative than many of the author's earlier books....The resulting volume is [Woodward's] most powerful and persuasive book in years." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[A] serious book it is, instantly essential, matching America's most celebrated political reporter against the most secretive administration in our history. For once, a hyped product has lived up to its billing." Ted Widmer, The New York Times Book Review
A landmark book by the author of nine #1 national nonfiction bestsellers.
Plan of Attack is the definitive account of a turning point in history as President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launch a preemptive attack on Iraq, toppling Saddam Hussein and taking over the country. From in-depth interviews and documents, Bob Woodward provides an authoritative narrative of the Administration's behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years and examines the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam.
What emerges is an astonishingly intimate portrait of the President, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, General Tommy Franks, other members of the war council and the White House staff, as well as key foreign leaders ranging from British Prime Minister Blair to Russian President Putin.
Plan of Attack relates the how and the why of decisionmaking including the secret meetings, secure phone calls, strategies, dilemmas, conflicts, and the raw emotions of war as they are rarely seen in contemporary history.
This follow-up to Bob Woodward's 'Bush at War' takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Bush administration's controversial war in Iraq.
About the Author
Bob Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971. He has authored ten New York Times #1 bestsellers, including Bush at War, Shadow, The Agenda, The Commanders, Veil, Wired, The Brethren, The Final Days, and All the President's Men. His two other books, The Choice and Maestro, were national bestsellers. He lives in Washington, D.C.