Discussing War and Decision With Douglas Feith (Audio)

I had the privilege this weekend to talk with Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith who served the Bush Administration from July 2001 until he resigned from his position effective August 8, 2005.
Douglas recently completed:

War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism

It is being described as the best account to date of how the Bush Administration debated, decided, organized and executed its military responses to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And, it is said to be the most balanced, detailed, and lucid account of this story that’s come out yet.

Douglas was kind enough to give me some time to discuss this important account on the War in Iraq.
In this audio clip here we discussed the Bush administration’s extreme difficulty with implementing a competent communication strategy:

There is more on this topic on page 476 in the book.

Here are a few more points from the book that discuss the Bush Communication Strategy:

The inadequacy of the Administration’s strategic communications was obvious to all. My Pentagon and Situation Room meeting notes show literally hundreds of comments from 2001 forward—by the President, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Myers, Pace, Abizaid, and others—calling for better public diplomacy and public relations. (p. 335)

Moreover, the President’s political opponents quickly came to realize that if they attacked the Administration for its prewar analyses and other prewar work, they would not be refuted. This had the ironic effect of focusing the public debate on the past rather than on the future—the opposite of what White House officials intended. (p. 491)

[W]hen U.S. officials began to despair of finding WMD stockpiles in Iraq after Saddam’s overthrow, their embarrassment apparently caused a radical shift in Administration rhetoric about Iraq. The President no longer cited Saddam’s record or the threats from the Baathist regime as reasons for going to war; rather, he focused almost exclusively on the aim of promoting democracy. (p. 535)

I argued that the dialogue of greatest strategic importance was not the one between America and the Muslim world, but the one within the Muslim world. The key question wasn’t what U.S. officials should say, but what we could do to encourage Muslims to speak openly against the extremists’ views and to make extremist ideology less attractive. (p. 182)

In a wise move Doug created a website War and Decision that contains careful documentation to back up the book chapter by chapter, page by page. The book is backed by fact and not just mainstream media hype and distortions.

War and Decision is available at Amazon.com.
** And, by the way… Doug is not making money off War and Decision. The proceeds are going to a military charity that supports the families of those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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