Plan of Attack (2004 book)

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Bob Woodward's most recent publication, "Plan of Attack", Woodward's "account of the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq and the administration's conduct of the war," was released April 2004 by CBS News and Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Woodward's book, both owned by Viacom. [1] [2]

The book was set for release on Saturday, April 17, 2004, but "the Associated Press scooped the Washington Post and published a story about the book early Friday ... [although] a carefully crafted media campaign for 'Plan of Attack' may have been ruined, ... the book got another day's worth of publicity. It went from No. 22 on's Top 100 best sellers Friday afternoon to No. 1 by Sunday." The book did not officially go on sale until Monday, April 19, 2004. [3]

Following hot on the heels of recent 9-11 Commission hearings and interviews with both current and former members of both the Bush and Clinton administrations, as well as the release in December 2003 of Paul O'Neill's The Price of Loyalty by Ron Suskind and Richard A. Clarke's Against All Enemies earlier in April 2004, Woodward's book has already given rise to a number of illustrative headlines.

Articles by Bob Woodward: Adapted from Plan of Attack

Interviews with Bob Woodward

Articles / Commentary by Others

"It's hard to know what is more disturbing. That George W. Bush misled the public by stating in the months before the Iraq war that he was seriously pursuing a diplomatic resolution when he was not. That he didn't bother to ask aides to present the case against going to war. That he may have violated the U.S. Constitution by spending hundreds of millions of dollars secretly to prepare for the invasion of Iraq without notifying Congress. That he was misinformed by the CIA director about one of the most critical issues of the day and demanded no accountability. Or that he doesn't care if he got it wrong on the weapons of mass destruction."


  • Woodward is labelled the "ultimate insider; a major player among Washington power brokers" and "as much a part of the established order as anyone in the Administration or anyone leading a major American corporation" by Mike Whitney in his April 19, 2004, CounterPunch article History is for the Dead. Woodward's Imperial Trifles. [4]
After first describing Woodward's Bush at War as a "pandering portrait" of George W. Bush, Whitney says that Plan of Attack is "a blistering assault on White House credibility." He adds that the "book will add significantly to the widely held belief that the war in Iraq was cooked up with little regard for the facts" and "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." [5]
While saying that "Woodward adds little of interest to the preponderance of evidence that the war was both unwise and unnecessary," Whitney admits that "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." Whitney also marvels 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." [6]
  • In the April 20, 2004, Salon article "Clarke's vindication," David Sirota writes that "Just weeks ago, Bush officials were solemnly accusing former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke of being a liar and a self-promoter. But Bob Woodward's book proves that Clarke was right -- and that it was his opponents who were the liars."
  • Joe Conason adds in "Bush's worst week," also published in the April 20, 2004, issue of Salon, that "the 'wartime presidency' of George W. Bush is facing grave and unexpected jeopardy. Although the traditional advantages of incumbency and money may ultimately protect him from electoral defeat in November, his administration suddenly looks exposed, divided, hapless and flailing."
  • "Powell Denies Woodward Claims," CBS News/AP, April 19, 2004: "Disputing an account by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in a new book, Plan of Attack, Powell said Bush and all his national security advisers had agreed in August 2002 to ask the UN Security Council to seek a peaceful resolution and to go to war if the effort failed." See National Security Council.
  • Mike Glover, "Kerry Assails Bush on Saudi Relationship," AP, April 19, 2004: "Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Monday vowed to end a "sweetheart relationship" that allows money to flow through Arab countries to terrorist groups and criticized President Bush over a report that he had struck a deal with Saudi officials to lower gasoline prices before the election."
"President Strong-on-Terror passed state secrets to the ambassador of a nation known to support terrorism. Said ambassador of foreign power has agreed to manipulate oil prices in an attempt to influence the November election. ... Why is Bush not facing impeachment proceedings? It's a hypothetical question, I'm not actually asking for responses, but it's not meant as hyperbole--in any sane universe, these would be impeachable offenses."
  • Mike Allen, "Pentagon Deleted Rumsfeld Comment," Washington Post, April 21, 2004: "The Pentagon deleted from a public transcript a statement Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made to author Bob Woodward suggesting that the administration gave Saudi Arabia a two-month heads-up that President Bush had decided to invade Iraq. ... At issue was a passage in Woodward's 'Plan of Attack', an account published this week of Bush's decision making about the war, quoting Rumsfeld as telling Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, in January 2003 that he could 'take that to the bank' that the invasion would happen."

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