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Generals Behaving Badly (WSJ Review of Woodward's Book)
Wall Street Journal ^ | Sept 9, 2008 | WILLIAM MCGURN

Posted on 09/09/2008 2:55:42 AM PDT by The Raven

WSJ Book Review - "The War Within," by Bob Woodward

--

During a videoconference with Baghdad, the president said, "George, we're not playing for a tie. I want to make sure we all understand this." Gen. Casey, Mr. Woodward writes, took this as "an affront to his dignity that he would long remember."

...

Gen. Casey, after all, was the commander who all along maintained that the solution in Iraq was for America to draw down its forces -- even after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. He was the commander who later that year was given his own chance to secure Baghdad with Operations Together Forward I and II, and failed. Most of all, he is the commander who was wrong when the president was right to insist that Baghdad could be secured and al Qaeda dealt a harsh blow with more troops.

Gen. Casey's continued adherence to a failed strategy does not make him a dishonorable man. It does make him an odd choice to serve as the foundation for the charge that the president was out of touch with the war. As evidence, both the general and the journalist point to questions about how many of the enemy we were killing as a sign that "the president did not get it."

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bookreview; bush; casey; iraq; islam; mohammedanism; presidentbush; surge; thesurge; warwithin; woodward
"...Second, the surge was a shift in mission, not simply an addition of five brigades. Until the surge, we had pursued a political solution, hoping that the answer to Iraq was the rise of a democratic government that would persuade Iraqis to come together for their future. The surge, by contrast, finally recognized the obvious: Until Iraqis started feeling safe in their own homes and neighborhoods, there would be no compromise or rebuilding."

Note the "political solution" didn't work.

1 posted on 09/09/2008 2:55:43 AM PDT by The Raven
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To: The Raven
Did you see yesterday, where Joe Biden is now taking credit for pushing the surge. He said that after two years, he was finely listened to.

Still stealing others idea's and words. Shame on Joe!

2 posted on 09/09/2008 2:59:49 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek ("Read my lipstick")
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To: The Raven

Woodward is beltway media. I want nothing to do with these disgusting people anymore. Time to send em packin.


3 posted on 09/09/2008 3:03:55 AM PDT by screaminsunshine
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To: Coldwater Creek

As long as I can remember - the Dems have taken credit for things they didn’t do, and of course, when things go very wrong, “Deny, deny, deny - and blame it on the Republicans”


4 posted on 09/09/2008 3:06:21 AM PDT by The Raven (50-08 50 States in 2008)
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To: The Raven
"an affront to his dignity that he would long remember."

Right or wrong, the Commander-in-Chief has the right to chew any general's ass, for any reason, at any time, at any place.

Put some ice on that General, and enjoy your retirement.
5 posted on 09/09/2008 3:27:39 AM PDT by mkjessup (If Ronald Reagan were with us today, he'd say "Vote McCain/Palin, & Win One More for the Gipper!!!")
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To: The Raven
As long as I can remember - the Dems have taken credit for things they didn’t do...

You mean like Charlie Wilson's War?

6 posted on 09/09/2008 3:30:52 AM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: The Raven

You got the money quote in your reply. Nonetheless, Obama and others are obsessed with talking their way to a solution.

The Anbar Awakening and the surge account for much of the success in Iraq. We should not forget, however, that the cell phone images of Saddam hanging by the neck came immediately before the turnaround in Iraq began. A figure like Saddam was larger than life and his shadow would always hang over the country until people knew he was gone. The killing of the bastards, especially the main bastard allows people to believe in a better future.


7 posted on 09/09/2008 3:34:16 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: mkjessup
Put some ice on that General, and enjoy your retirement.

Retirement will have to wait as Casey is currently serving as Army Chief of Staff.

8 posted on 09/09/2008 3:34:34 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: The Raven

This is the exact position being touted by Biden/Obama.

They wanted to withdraw all the troops and hand Baghdad over to the warring factions while Al Qaeda was still dominant.


9 posted on 09/09/2008 3:35:09 AM PDT by Carley (she's all out of caribou.............)
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To: mkjessup

General Casey reminds me of another whiner. One who wants to be CinC.

God help us if we have all these men who are so sensitive.


10 posted on 09/09/2008 3:36:40 AM PDT by Carley (she's all out of caribou.............)
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To: All
To understand the fix we are in, you would have had to see nincompoopneo Douglas Feith being interviewed on 60 Minutes.

Feith is a self-affirming space cadet---if Feith somehow found a parking spot near the White House it would be tantanmount to a miracle. That he was allowed to make WH policy for the US is appalling.

60 Minutes taped intellectual zero Feith at his trusty computer where he manufactured fake documents to dupe the president of the USA and its citizens. (Jerkoff is probably typing new docs labeled Top Secret Iran. Top Secret in his addlepated mind, that is.)

Feith demnstrated a conman's adeptness at using 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft's penetrating questions to deflect blame for the costly, bloody Iraq disaster on everyone but himself and his pals---where it rightfully belongs.

One general rightfully called Feith the dumbest man in history. Feith's dumb*** involvement in US foreign-policy should have relegated pukeneos to the dustbin of history. No such luck.

These con artists flim-flammed the Washington establishment and are doing a whizbang job at transferring massive amounts of US wealth to Mideast hellholes (and into war profiteers' pockets).

Americans need to avoid the mistakes that allowed these nincompoops to achieve the status they did.

MUST READ “The Transparent Cabal.” Amazon lists this book, written by a noted historian, as one of the great history books of the decade.

11 posted on 09/09/2008 3:43:32 AM PDT by Liz (Taxpayer: one who works for the govt but doesn't have to take a civil service test. R. Reagan.)
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To: Carley

General Casey is just mad because he was removed and Bush was right. Kill the bastards.


12 posted on 09/09/2008 3:45:04 AM PDT by scooby321
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To: The Raven

I watched part of the bj interview with Comrade Woodward on 60-bj Minutes and though it was sickening beyond belief (”do you need a pillow, Mr. Woodward, are you sure you’re comfortable”) there was a bit at the end that was very interesting. After all the distortions, after all the blind faith in every dyspeptic remark of every disgruntled Clintonite in the Pentagon, Comrade Woodward let drop some reference to a new weapon, something that is changing the shape of the battlefield as significantly as the tank.

Some sort of robotics, I would guess.


13 posted on 09/09/2008 3:52:16 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Put some ice on that General, and enjoy your retirement.
Retirement will have to wait as Casey is currently serving as Army Chief of Staff.


Well then A.A., we'll be depending on you to make the official announcement when Casey retires, and you can pick up the cake, candles and party favors for all of us to enjoy.

As you were, and have a nice day.
14 posted on 09/09/2008 6:30:57 AM PDT by mkjessup (If Ronald Reagan were with us today, he'd say "Vote McCain/Palin, & Win One More for the Gipper!!!")
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To: The Raven

I’m sure Mortuary Bob got a great interview with al-Zarqawi after he was taken out by the 500lb LGB.


15 posted on 09/09/2008 6:50:21 AM PDT by paddles
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To: SeeSharp

Perfect example. How many references were there to Ronald Reagan in “Charlie Wilson’s War”? Like 1? If you didn’t know who was president during that period of American History you wouldn’t get it from that movie.


16 posted on 09/09/2008 6:54:55 AM PDT by Tallguy ("The sh- t's chess, it ain't checkers!" -- Alonzo (Denzel Washington) in "Training Day")
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To: Liz

Exactly, Feith and Pearl and the other...advisors...led us over the cliff.

I give John McCain a heck of alot of the credit for sticking by his call for more soldiers and a change in strategy.


17 posted on 09/09/2008 6:56:47 AM PDT by padre35 (Sarah Palin is the one we've been waiting for..Rom 10.10..)
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To: Liz
Feith is a self-affirming space cadet---if Feith somehow found a parking spot near the White House it would be tantamount to a miracle. That he was allowed to make WH policy for the US is appalling.

You are an old hand around here, but I still have to say.. whew this is on the edge.. tinfoil hat territory. Time to come back and join the rest of us on mother earth.

This post is primarily a series of ad hominem attacks and unsupported assertions. Cut the vitriol and increase the facts and perhaps you can gain some respect lost in this screed.

18 posted on 09/09/2008 7:33:34 AM PDT by dalight
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To: mkjessup

You can plan Casey’s party, Buckwheat, just make sure you have a clue as to when he actually retires.


19 posted on 09/09/2008 7:33:57 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Liz

Tell us what you really think... Don’t hold back, now... Really... :-)


20 posted on 09/09/2008 7:40:34 AM PDT by Zeppo (Every mighty mild... seventies child... Beats me (Metric - Combat Baby))
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To: scooby321

Bring on Bucky Turdgison..now there’s a real General!!


21 posted on 09/09/2008 7:40:38 AM PDT by Mashood
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To: The Raven

Woodward is a jerk.


22 posted on 09/09/2008 7:44:19 AM PDT by dalebert
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To: Liz; dalight
Whether you agree with Feith or not, it must be said he wrote a first rate book recording his time in the administration. It was one more factual, well sourced, and extensively footnoted books of this time, and far less self-serving than most others written by direct participants in the events. You may viscerally disagree with Feith's judgment and actions, but he is very far from being dumb.

Invective and Ad hominem attacks simply undermine your core argument that you are a far wiser person than is your target.

23 posted on 09/09/2008 8:05:11 AM PDT by Jeff F
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To: A.A. Cunningham
You can plan Casey’s party, Buckwheat, just make sure you have a clue as to when he actually retires.

Tell you what Sparkplug, go back and read my original comment and wise up, you got that? What I said regarding the General was "enjoy your retirement", I made no mention of when that might take place, nor did I assume he would be retiring soon.

As usual, you immediately step into your self-appointed role as school marm, correcting anything you think needs correcting, even if it doesn't apply.

Fer gawdsakes A.A., try the decaf, ok?
24 posted on 09/09/2008 9:13:43 AM PDT by mkjessup (If Ronald Reagan were with us today, he'd say "Vote McCain/Palin, & Win One More for the Gipper!!!")
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To: SeeSharp

>>You mean like Charlie Wilson’s War?

No

Dems are too stupid for that


25 posted on 09/09/2008 9:40:12 AM PDT by The Raven (50-08 50 States in 2008)
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To: dalebert
I am not a fan of Mortuary Bob by any means, but I have to say that sometimes the guy does provide fascinating information and insight.

These latest relevations primarily serve to show just how screwed up bureaucratic Washington and the Pentagon is these days.

It's absolutely appalling that the President and Vice President had to do a virtual complete end-around on the five rings in order to be able to achieve victory in Iraq. Never in my living memory has so much of the general staff been so openly disloyal to the civilians in charge.

26 posted on 09/09/2008 9:40:29 AM PDT by jpl ("First come smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire." - Roland of Gilead)
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To: The Raven

Long term, my guess is the Iraq war will be seen as being fought year-by-year as extraordinarily well. There were no really super bad judgments, and non-productive tactics and strategy were redone just about as soon as could have been. The situation in Iraq was unpredictable, and not even the best of long-term strategic thinkers familiar with Iraq would have been able to predict what would happen in Iraq after Baghdad was taken.


27 posted on 09/09/2008 9:48:00 AM PDT by bvw
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To: Coldwater Creek

“Did you see yesterday, where Joe Biden is now taking credit for pushing the surge.”

The surge that Biden said in 2007 wasn’t working and wouldnt work? Biden is a gasbag Senator who, like Kerry, has managed to take EVERY position on everything, just to be ‘safe’. ...

When the political winds were blowing for getting out of Iraq, Biden was a cut-n-run con artist:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/04/biden_slams_bus.html

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said Thursday that the troop surge plan in Iraq has failed.

“The surge is not succeeding, and the president refuses to see that,” Biden declared to reporters on a conference call.

“It’s like squeezing a water balloon, you squeeze it in one place, it bulges somewhere else,” said Biden, who has advocated a decentralized federal system in Iraq.


28 posted on 09/09/2008 10:15:18 AM PDT by WOSG (McCain/Palin 08)
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To: Coldwater Creek

Here is another great Biden quote - bashing General Patreaus:

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/biden-petraeus-dead-flat-wrong-on-iraq

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE): Well, what I saw, heard, learned is a little bit what you heard from a general just a moment ago. There was a big disconnect between the truth of the matter and the reality. I mean, the truth of the matter is that, that the—America’s—this administration’s policy and the surge are a failure, and that the surge, which was supposed to stop sectarian violence and—long enough to give political reconciliation, there’s been no political reconciliation. The reality is that we’re supposed to, as you said, stand up American—or stand up the Iraqis so the Americans could stand down. We’ve been hearing that for five years. We’re nowhere near being able to do that.


29 posted on 09/09/2008 10:28:51 AM PDT by WOSG (McCain/Palin 08)
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To: Liz; dalight
The author of "the transparent cabal" is Stephen J. Sniegoski

Your 'noted historian' isn't much noted. I'm not sure who other than himself would even describe him as such. There isn't much info to be had on him and what little there is doesn't make him look authoritative.

Advertised as a "hard core libertarian," he's really just an antisemitic kook.

He has his panties in a wad like the BRussells Tribunal folks- the folks who want to try virtually every American who isn't a bright red surrender junky in a kangaroo court of their own making- against the big bad group PNAC. Instead of polite disagreements and debate on PNAC they resort to chucking tinfoil covered snowballs ("it's the jooooos! It's the Zionists!") at it in an effort to make it look ominous, which it isn't. It's an interest group of people as ominous and secretive as FreeRepublic or the Boy Scouts.

Judging by the company Sniewgoski keeps he has about as much weight on foreign policy issues as Justin Raimondo, or my dog, which, while laid back, is at least slightly more inclined to defend US territory than these guys.

I bet this was a hoot:

Stephen Sniegoski was on Karen Kwiatkowski's radio broadcast (for the Republic Broadcasting Network) yesterday discussing the JINSA/PNAC Neocon 'war for Israel' agenda as such can be listened to via... Source: www.huffingtonpost.com... [www.huffingtonpost.com]

Stephen Sniegoski is voice being interviewed on Karen Kwiatkowski's radio program... Source: oldamericancentury.org... [oldamericancentury.org]

Well, he at least managed to get the attention of Karen Kwiatkowski, whose name's been heard around here before. Nice of her to share her 15 minutes of fame with him.

He's got something in common with Ted Kennedy then because Karen is Ted Kennedy's double-super-secret-covert informant - the one who couldn't keep her facts straight on her insider info on the Pentagon Office of Special Plans, mainly because she wasn't an insider- she was an Africa specialist and her duties were limited to Morocco issues- and she didn't know diddly about the OSP but she was in cahoots with Pat Lang. She went running to Lyndon LaRouche after retirement to get more attention. [Pat Lang we know of too... he's involved in the xtremely kooky group of airheads known as VIPS along with Ray McGovern... of former ambassador Joe Wilson & CIA analyst Valerie Plame fame.]

* Newsweek : [Lt. Col. ] Karen Kwiatkowski, a former Pentagon official, is another anonymous source who has used a cloak of anonymity to peddle falsehoods. Her writing betrays her bias and fringe ideology. She has claimed, for example, that there was a "neo-conservative coup" within the Pentagon and that officials strove to build a "greater Zion." Kwiatkowski has bragged that she was the anonymous source for exposes by The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, and for Knight-Ridder's Washington bureau. She claimed insight into events and offices in which she has no first-hand knowledge. Much of what Kwiatkowski told these publications was innuendo or outright fabrication. 11 posted on 05/23/2004 5:31:47 AM PDT by Remember_Salamis

Maybe in time Mr. Sniegoski can become as well-known a ditz as she.

30 posted on 09/09/2008 10:30:29 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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Oh, BTW... Kwiatkowski worked on ads for MoveOn.org.

I wonder if Mr. Sniegowski has similar affiliations?

31 posted on 09/09/2008 10:36:56 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: bvw

Overall agree, but ... “There were no really super bad judgments” ... there was one: The decision to disband the Army by Paul Bremer in May 2003 was in retrospect a fatal blunder.

The phrase, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, comes to mind. The disbanded army was unemployed and looking for a way to restore pride. Had we instead kept and reformulated it, we would have been 2-3 years sooner with Iraqi security forces, and the core of the insurgency would not have the expertise they had. Many of those former insurgent Sunni baathists are now back on ‘our’ side, fighting Al Qaeda. Had they been with us the whole time, we’d have cut years off the fighting.

Long term, yes, the key strategic victory is being won, and the US was flexible enough in strategy to get there.


32 posted on 09/09/2008 10:37:56 AM PDT by WOSG (McCain/Palin 08)
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The geezer who wrote the forward to Sniegowski's book "The Transparent Cabal" is Paul Findley; not hard to see why folks who read this stuff hate Feith:

Paul Findley is cofounder of the "Council for the National Interest"(CNI)

Paul Findley is a board member of "If Americans Knew"

His panties are in a wad against Jews because he thinks if but for them, Dick Durbin wouldn't have booted him from his congressional seat. It apparently never occured to him that he himself played a role in his own loss. Where he would be different than Durbin is unclear.

Findley has supported CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations

Findley was a supporter of the Dubai ports deal and accuses those who were against it of islamophobia.

Findley has received awards from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Findley also received an award in 2000: the Malcolm X National Human Rights award, American Muslim Alliance.

Just makes ya feel warm & fuzzy all over.

33 posted on 09/09/2008 11:23:35 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: piasa
gettin' fuzzier: CAIR joins Bin Laden admirer Paul Findley and the 'Council for the ...
...Paul Findley's close ties to Bin Laden funded Ahmed Deedat and the Islamic Propagation Center International and endorsement by CAIR should raise questions ... www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/215 - 48k - Cached - Similar pages
34 posted on 09/09/2008 11:47:29 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: WOSG
I understand that thinking, and as far as might be done on a "what if" basis, I disagree with the premise that it would have been a war-shortening thing to have bought the Iraqi Army, instead of disbanding it. Why? (1) Because more things were considered through the high diopter lens of near-chaos and insurrection. By the Iraqis, by us and our allies. Those lessons of what happens without an effective police and government among a population at violent odds among itself are worth the tragedies, sufferings and pain, long term. (2) That bought Army would have itself been unstable and caused great trouble in ways we can only now imagine.

What we have now with them is not perfect by far, but I suspect that relationships man to man at every level are stronger for having been tested and proven. That's a foundation for building.

A bought army is no foundation for anything but trouble.

35 posted on 09/09/2008 11:57:45 AM PDT by bvw
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To: piasa
The author of "the transparent cabal" is Stephen J. Sniegoski

Your 'noted historian' isn't much noted. I'm not sure who other than himself would even describe him as such. There isn't much info to be had on him and what little there is doesn't make him look authoritative.

This is why I love FreeRepublic. Folks who dig down and expose this stuff for what it is. Awesome post.

36 posted on 09/09/2008 12:31:24 PM PDT by dalight
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To: padre35
Thanks for posting. Sorry I didn't get back sooner. I'm waiting for the Int Olympic Committee's decision. The Committe is considering a new competition: "The Feith Fellators Relay Team."

Mmmm.......should provide some compelling TV coverage. Man the competition's gonna be fierce. I hope Feith is up to it (snicker).

To round out the event, Perle, Lieberman and Giuliani will act as judges.

37 posted on 09/09/2008 2:52:21 PM PDT by Liz (Taxpayer: one who works for the govt but doesn't have to take a civil service test. R. Reagan.)
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To: All
So my leftist aunt is all excited about this book--and asked my mother about it--who then asked me about it. I have read a couple of excerpts courtesy of FR...

I told my mother that if Mortuary Bob is accurate-- it means that Bush is smarter than the generals, right? If they wanted to do an "Murtha-style redeploy" or a "Baker-esque" ugly draw, then they were wrong--and Bush was right.

My aunt needs to get over her BDS....

38 posted on 09/09/2008 3:51:48 PM PDT by Lysandru
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To: bvw

Keeping the army would have had issues, and would have required strong debaathification, but they would have paled compared with 3+ years of sunni insurgent activity is my point. Hindsight is 20/20, but ... History will have to judge.


39 posted on 09/09/2008 4:13:11 PM PDT by WOSG (McCain/Palin 08)
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To: jpl

I do not share your opinion of bob. i think he put just enough of a bad light on President Bush to sell his book. That our politicians for the most part are not supportiv of this nation or the defense of it does not surprise me. Bush has sacrificed a lot of himself.


40 posted on 09/10/2008 5:46:52 AM PDT by dalebert
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To: jpl

And yes it is sad when Generals still in uniform become politician even when it costs lives.


41 posted on 09/10/2008 5:49:15 AM PDT by dalebert
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