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Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal,…

Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

by Michael Isikoff, David Corn

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Exhaustively researched and yet intensely readable. Well, the end kinda lagged a bit but mostly a truly fascinating and frightening account of an amazing combination of arrogance, incompetence, and sheer nuttiness that led us into the Iraq war. There were plenty of things I knew about but even more I didn't and it was all worth reading. However, by the time it got to the Libby trail and the leaks, I was getting worn out with who had spoken to whom about what and started to loose some of the thread. The final wrap up was very good as well. This almost got me excited about politics again!
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
It you're a Bush supporter, you probably don't want to read this book. The rest of you will find confirmation in this book for what you've suspected and feared all along. It fills in many of the details behind some of the news stories that we've been hearing over the past several years about the Iraq War.

Read in August, 2007 ( )
  Clif | Jan 8, 2009 |
Even more depressing than Fiasco, but just as well documented. An incompetent executive branch with virtually unlimited power, running amok. ( )
  ostrom | Nov 29, 2007 |
ust finished a great book: _Hubris: the inside story of the spin, scandal, and the selling of the Iraq war_ by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. Really in-depth background to the Administration's case for war, the intelligence behind it, and how that intelligence was spun.

Here's a good summarizing excerpt from p. 209-210: "For those who wanted to overthrow Saddam, eveything had worked out. The American intervention, for which planning had begun 16 months earlier, was about to unfold. But the public case had been built on a flimsy foundation: a faulty and misleading National Intelligence Estimate, the phony Niger charge, the false claims of fabricating defectors such as Curveball; the White House Iraq Group's spin campaign; the misleading media reports seeded by the manipulative Iraqi National Congress [Chalabi's group}; the disputed aluminum tubes; the CIA white paper that concealed intelligence agency dissents; Rice's "mushroom cloud"; the imaginary Atta-in-Prague [about the 9/11 hijacker supposedly meeting w/ a member of the Iraqi government] that obsessed Cheney, Wolfowitz, Libby, and Feith; the flawed Powell presentation; and Bush's overstated (if not overheated) rhetoric that exceeded the actual and exaggerated intelligence." All these things are thoroughly explained in the book.

It is also quite clear that Rove, Libby, and Richard Armitage all disclosed Valerie Plame Wilson's identify as a CIA agent to several reporters. For technical reasons (also well explained in the book) the prosecutor couldn't make a case against Rove and Armitage.

The book is well written, with all the excitement of a spy novel or a detective story.

Recommended. ( )
  reannon | Nov 22, 2007 |
Book report

Title Hubris: The inside story of spin, scandal and the selling of the Iraq war

Author: Michael Isikoff and David Corn

The title of the book very aptly tells what the book is about. What has transpired over the past six years, the Bush presidential administration, is a grimly fascinating saga. To say that it is a tale unprecedented in American history is perhaps too much of a stretch. Previous administrations have engaged in no less scandalous behavior nonetheless this current soap opera of arrogance and ignorance is unique.

The book is appropriately titled “Hubris”. The dictionary definition of the word is: 1.Arrogant pride or presumption. 2. (In Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis. There have been inept presidents previously but it is not likely that any have been as detached as Bush has been.

Hubris is a recounting of what amounted to “a selling of the Iraq war”. What began as pursuit and annihilation of the Al Queda of Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack, was diverted from the Afghanistan War to invasion of Iraq based on the notion that changing the regime in Iraq from Saddam’s brutal dictatorship to a democratic government would bring about a transformation in the Middle East.

Wolfowitz was the prime agitator for removing Saddam. His principle concern was control of the oil patch since this was a vital national interest. In spite of the fact that Iran posed a far greater, more credible, threat. Bush and company focused on Iraq and became obsessed with knocking Saddam out with armed force.

The core of the administration known as the “Vulcans” consisted of Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice. Colin Powell, Secretary of State during Bush’s first term was pretty much an outsider to that group despite his important cabinet position.

Hubris tells of the extent to which this group went to sell the war to the Congress and the American people. Essentially the decision to invade Iraq was made first and then the rationale or justification for doing so became the obsessive objective. The prime reason given was weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Later Wolfowitz stated that it was chosen because it was the most effective (scariest) reason of all. Next was ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Eventually they claimed Iraq was importing yellow-cake from Nigeria, the central element for nuclear weapons production.

Despite assurances after the war had begun that evidence of W.M.D. would be uncovered no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons were ever found. One outcome of the allegation of uranium processing was the controversy between the White House and the CIA. Ambassador Joe Wilson had been sent to Nigeria by the CIA to check on the validity of the White House claim that yellow-cake (the source of uranium) was being shipped to Iraq. Wilson found no evidence that such was the case and publicly refuted the claim. Vice President Cheney reacted strongly to the repudiation and sought to discredit Wilson.

That now famous “leak trial” indictment of Cheney’s aid Scooter Libby by a federal prosecutor for perjury and obstruction of justice came from the investigation of the leaking of the name of a CIA agent, Wilson’s wife, to the press and a subsequent article by Robert Novak divulging the name. The CIA requested that the FBI investigate the outing of a CIA agent.

The investigation uncovered the fact that high government officials – Karl Rove, Richard Armitage, Libby, and Cheney were involved in the leak and its coverup.

In spite of the machinations to justify the war the debacle that ensued as the war degenerated from bad to worse has culminated in civil strife that is causing horrendous loss of life for Iraqis as well as American and British military personnel.

Eventually all the subterfuge and incredible misjudgment and mismanagement of the adventure will be chronicled more fully and history will judge the actions of the Bush administration. It won’t be a pretty picture.
  Swampslogger | Mar 18, 2007 |
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Michael Isikoffprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corn, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030734682X, Paperback)


Filled with news-making revelations that made it a New York Times bestseller, Hubris takes us behind the scenes at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and Congress to show how George W. Bush came to invade Iraq - and how his administration struggled with the devastating fallout.

Hubris connects the dots between Bush's expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam's supposed weapons of mass destruction, the outing of an undercover CIA officer, and the Bush administration's misleading sales campaign for war. Written by veteran reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, this is an inside look at how a president took the nation to war using faulty and fraudulent intelligence. It's a dramatic page-turner and an intriguing account of conspiracy, backstabbing, bureaucratic ineptitude, journalistic malfeasance, and arrogance.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Written by veteran journalists, this is the inside story of how President Bush took the nation to war using faulty and fraudulent intelligence. It takes us behind the scenes at the Bush White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Congress to answer all the vital questions about how the Bush administration came to invade Iraq. Filled with new revelations, Hubris is a narrative of intrigue that connects the dots between George W. Bush's expletive-laden outbursts at Saddam Hussein, the bitter battles between the CIA and the White House, the fights within the intelligence community over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the startling influence of an obscure academic on top government officials, the real reason Valerie Plame was outed, and a top reporter's ties to wily Iraqi exiles trying to start a war.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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