Book Review: Bob Woodward¡¯s ¡°Plan of Attack.¡±

READ THIS! It is Unbelievable! Bob Woodward¡¯s ¡°Plan of Attack.¡± by Hendrik Hertzberg. From The New Yorker Issue of 2004-05-10.

The most astounding passage in ¡°Plan of Attack¡± comes in the epilogue, when Woodward is recounting one of his tape-recorded interviews with the President:

I asked about his father in this way: ¡°Here is the one living human being who¡¯s held this office who had to make a decision to go to war. And it would not be credible if you did not at some point ask him, What are the ingredients of doing this right? Or what¡¯s your thought, this is what I¡¯m facing.¡±
¡°If it wouldn¡¯t be credible,¡± Bush replied, ¡°I guess I better make up an answer.¡±

Bush struggles to remember a ¡°poignant moment¡± with his father. He comes up empty. ¡°I can¡¯t remember a moment where I said to myself, maybe he can help me make the decision,¡± he says. ¡°I¡¯m trying to remember,¡± he says. ¡°I don¡¯t remember,¡± he says. ¡°I could ask him and see if he remembers something,¡± he says. And, finally:

¡°The discussions would be more on the tactics. How are we doing, How are you doing with the Brits? He is following the news now. And I am briefing him on what I see. You know, he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to.¡±

Bush¡¯s talk of a higher father is one of the reasons that the Bush-Cheney campaign (like the John Kerry campaign) has recommended ¡°Plan of Attack¡± to its supporters. That kind of talk, after all, is sure to please the base. But if the son is capable of so thoughtlessly blurting out, in effect, that his earthly father is weak¡ªthat the boy is determined, at long last, to show his dad a thing or two¡ªthen there may be something stranger and darker at the root of our present difficulties than a noble effort to change the world.