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Bob Woodward Bashes Bush Administration in New Book - FOX News Does Its "Blame the Messenger" Dance Yet Again

Reported by Marie Therese - September 29, 2006 -

Wasn't it just last year when FOX News was falling all over itself to say nice things about Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack? My, how things have changed! This morning FOX News began what will undoubtedly be an all-out assault against the very same Bob Woodward because his new book State of Denial, third in the "Bush at War" series, is a scathing indictment of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. The men of FOX & Friends First fired the first salvo this morning. Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade interviewed FOX News regular Maj. Gen. Bob Scales (US Army-Ret). Kilmeade even implied that Woodward wrote it the way he did because he was upset that he did not score another one-on-one interview with the President!

BRIAN KILMEADE: "Veteran reporter Bob Woodward, who has two nice books about the Bush administration, has put out a third book and it is very tough. It's comin' out soon, gonna be featured on 60 Minutes saying the White House won't admit it made some big mistakes in Iraq and - how accurate are these claims overall?"


STEVE DOOCY: " ... The new bag - the new book - which does sandbag the administration ..."


DOOCY: " ... talks about how the administration has put a happy face, a rosier picture on what's goin' on over in Iraq and according to Mr. Woodward, there are so many [attacks] there, they're happening about every fifteen minutes. What's really goin' on?"

SCALES: "Well, you know, it's - the bottom line is simply this, Steve. You know wars are to be fought, not managed. Wars are about military art, not military science, and statistics can be very misleading. Let me give you an example of what Woodward said. He says there's a hundred IED attacks a day."

DOOCY: "Right."

SCALES: "Bad news. But if you take - if you go inside those statistics, you see a very, very small number of those actually have any - uh, uh - effect. So that's good news. But, the bad news, those that have an effect are increasingly being directed against Iraqi civilians and the casualty rates are going up. So, you can parse these statistics any way you want to but the bottom line is wars are supposed to be fought and not managed by statistics."

Which tells us exactly WHAT? If war is an art, why isn't it taught at Parsons School of Design instead of the War College? If it's not a science, then why are wasting all our money buying bigger and better technological equipment and educating young men and women in how to use it? As for the "good news" that 100 IEDs a day aren't hurting more people, gimme a break. Our soldiers and the civilians of Iraq walk around with the EXPECTATION that they will be blown to smithereens. Do you think they really care about Scales' "good news"? Scales was spinning like a top on this one!

KILMEADE: "General Scales, let me ask you if you think this is true, that General Abizaid met with officials in Qatar two years ago and said that Donald Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the military, those inside fighting the war and those on the outside planning the war. Do you think Genereal Abizaid would say something like that?"

SCALES: "You know, I know John pretty well. I just don't see him doing that. One thing that - I've known John for many, many years. He's a good friend and he's the sort of guy who is a straight shooter but he is also very loyal to the administration."

KILMEADE: "Is he frustrated, though?"

SCALES: "I think everybody is, you know, to some degree, Brian, because of what's going on in Iraq and I think - and to your point about generals, many of the generals who I talk to over there would like a little bit more latitude in being able to speak their minds in a positive sense about the war because, you know, you get - I get - I get a different - uh - I get a different - uh, uh - set of input from the generals who are over there who tell me about the fact that - uh - the good news over there. What the young soldiers and marines are doing every day on the streets of Baghdad somehow doesn't make it through - uh, uh - into the media and they wish they had more, not less of, a voice."

DOOCY: "And, and something else, General, that the book says is that they're just not gettin' the support from the administation, but is it your sense that is not true?"

SCALES: "Oh, no. I mean I - again - ya' can't manage data in the information age, Steve, you know. This is not Vietnam. Bob - Bob Woodward keeps trying to find another Watergate here, but the bottom line is this war is, is so - you know - overanalyzed. The data flows out of the theater every day. Trust me."

DOOCY: "Right."

SCALES: "There is no dearth of information about what's going on in Iraq. It's almost like information overload in many ways."

DOOCY: "Alright."

KILMEADE: "And this is the first book - unlike his first two - the President did not submit to an interview for this book and maybe that's the reason why it seems so harsh against the administration, especially against Donadl Rumsfeld."

UPDATE TO POST (9-29-06, 5:55 PM ET)

Later on, at the beginning of the FOX & Friends show, Doocy, Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson repeated the talking points introduced above, including the explanation that, according to Carlson, Woodward "was not allowed to interview President Bush for this book" even though he asked to do so. A new talking point was added, i.e., the "curious timing" of the release of the book, the implication being that Woodward has a hidden agenda.

Brian Kilmeade then introduced a statistic showing that the DoD records indicate that an IED attack occurs every 12 minutes, not every 15 minutes as Woodward claims.

Excerpts from the book will be published in the Washington Post beginning Saturday, September 30th.