Author Topic: Woodward book  (Read 1378 times)

TheDrake

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Woodward book
« on: September 05, 2018, 03:30:16 PM »
Got my copy preordered on Audible. I'm going to walk into it with the mind of a true skeptic, but here are some things I think.

1. I think I can trust Woodward not to make things up out of whole cloth.
2. I wonder how much of his source material consisted of quotes from a single person.
3. I wonder how selective he was about using material, will there be a counterpoint to the theme?
4. I wonder if Trump will continue to refute things that he said on tape.
5. I wonder how Fox News will encourage Trump to tweet about it as quotes come out.
6. I wonder if anyone will lose their job.
7. I expect and fear that this will just help cement the Trumpies in their hatred and suspicion of the press.

TheDrake

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 06:29:43 PM »
Quote
The book says Mr Trump had ordered the Pentagon to arrange the assassination of the Syrian president after a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017 that was blamed on the Syrian government.

"Let's [expletive] kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the [expletive] lot of them," Mr Trump is reported to have told Mr Mattis.

So I should wait until I can read the actual book. But I won't, maybe Trump's impetuosity has rubbed off on me. Does anyone really have a hard time believing that Trump reacted that way? He might have been:

A. Joking
B. Taken out of context
C. Misquoted
D. All of the above

But my money is on:

E. Yeah, Trump probably blew up about some comment and petulantly said "Fine! Let's just kill him then if it's such a big deal!"

Maybe not really an operational plan as much as venting the frustration that comes from having to figure something out that is beyond you that you know shouldn't be that hard. Or, alternatively, someone who cuts through all the PC diplomacy and Gets Things Done with a kill em all strategy.

Like I said, an excerpt of an unreleased book doesn't prove anything, and even the full text in the book won't prove anything. But it certainly doesn't sound out of character. If it is fiction, it is good writing that fits right into the Trump universe.

We are talking about the guy who publicly postulated killing the families of terrorists, so I can't imagine he'd have moral qualms about killing Assad.

velcro

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 09:03:31 PM »
Just to be clear, he said he would order American soldiers to kill the families of terrorists.  When told this was a war crime, and soldiers would refuse that order, he just said that good leadership means people follow your orders, or something like that.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 09:47:30 PM »
Bob Woodward has flaws, I don't particularly like his books on Presidents over the past few decades (he slants it in the direction of his sources), but he also is diligent about notes and recordings. If he writes a quote, there is a high likelihood that someone relevant actually said what Woodward quotes him as saying. 

Mynnion

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 08:43:28 AM »
Does it bother anyone else that aides and others would remove letters and or memos to "prevent the president from harming America?"  I am appalled by the trump presidency but the idea that a group inside the White House is purposely acting to prevent presidential actions is scary.  Maybe I am incorrect but I see this as dangerous ground.  For better or worse Trump is the elected president and the idea that some of his staff feel they have a right to bypass him smells wrong to me.  I would not accept that behavior towards a president I supported and do not feel it is right for one I oppose.

Note- I am not talking about his staff trying to openly convince him to have a little control.

TheDeamon

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 09:15:16 AM »
Mildly, but at the same time, not shocked either. IF Woodward's reports are accurate, and I have little reason to doubt that, he's just validating a significant portion of the reason why I have been so complacent about the whole matter of Trump being President. He's too bombastic to be a meaningful threat, the bureaucracy was going to act to protect itself, and if he pushed far enough, Republicans would hit the point where loyalty to the United States would well, Trump anything else.

Trump is no Hitler, he is no Hugo Chavez, he isn't even a Erdoğan. He telegraphs far too much, and he's too fickle to stick with most plans for too long.

Suck it up, this isn't the first time this nation has dealt with incompetents at the steering wheel. So far he hasn't done anything that seriously endangers the nation, and there are no provisions for unseating a President on the basis of thinking he's a Prime Recruit for the Keystone Cops.

Although it seems some of his staff is now trying to put an end to the Keystone Cops routine.

D.W.

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2018, 09:49:37 AM »
Quote
If he writes a quote, there is a high likelihood that someone relevant actually said what Woodward quotes him as saying.
The problem I have is when a source quotes another individual.  Then that individual comes forward stating "I didn't say that."

It's a hot mess.  Perfect for bias confirmation, but not of much actual use to the public.  I tend to agree with TheDeamon.  The bureaucracy will protect itself from a chaotic element.  But I'm far from impartial when it comes to Trump.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2018, 10:11:19 AM »
We are always 18 minutes away from a nuclear strike. How certain can we be that at any minute of the day, those in charge of executing the President's orders are going to be willing to violate their entire training and essentially end their life as they know it in order to refuse the order from the President? And refuse to be fired by him and replaced, so this is an instantaneous coup. 

We are one really bad temper tantrum away from that moment at all times

TheDeamon

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 10:31:45 AM »
We are always 18 minutes away from a nuclear strike. How certain can we be that at any minute of the day, those in charge of executing the President's orders are going to be willing to violate their entire training and essentially end their life as they know it in order to refuse the order from the President? And refuse to be fired by him and replaced, so this is an instantaneous coup. 

We are one really bad temper tantrum away from that moment at all times

That's where the 25th Amendment runs into problems, but from what I'm reading, those "problems" are likely to be deliberate. It isn't supposed to be easy.

The VP and a majority of the President's cabinet can declare him unfit? Well, what happens if the President fires most of the dissenting cabinet members before the letter reaches the Senate? No "cabinet majority" exists at that point.

Of course, that's where Congress, working in conjunction with the VP can create/designate a group to assess the condition of the President and in turn, that group(outside Trump's ability to fire them), can initiate the process.

And that probably is where the "lodestone" comment in that op-ed came from, it was a deliberate nod to Pence, not Pence outing himself. In either Scenario, it requires the VP to initiate and carry out the process. If the VP doesn't want to be part of it, then nobody aside from the President himself can remove the President from office, short of impeachment.

Seriati

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2018, 11:28:35 AM »
Quote
The book says Mr Trump had ordered the Pentagon to arrange the assassination of the Syrian president after a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017 that was blamed on the Syrian government.

"Let's [expletive] kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the [expletive] lot of them," Mr Trump is reported to have told Mr Mattis.

Is there more to this passage?  That literally does not describe an assassination.  That describes a war or an attack.

Does it bother anyone else that aides and others would remove letters and or memos to "prevent the president from harming America?"  I am appalled by the trump presidency but the idea that a group inside the White House is purposely acting to prevent presidential actions is scary.  Maybe I am incorrect but I see this as dangerous ground.

It's treason.  Treason is a dangerous ground.  That's the difference between the NYT article and Woodward's book.

TheDrake

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2018, 03:28:34 PM »
That is so not even close to treason.

Quote
Says the Constitution: “”Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”


TheDrake

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 08:34:59 AM »
Just started reading the book. Started out with some fascinating stuff about Bannon, Conway, Priebus, and the election. Not really negative against Trump in this part of the book, more negative against his neophyte campaign people. The description of Conway as strategist is particularly interesting. But the howler was a reported exchange between Bannon and Manafort, where Manafort tells bannon that a NYT article is on its way about his Ukrainian money and asks Steve what to do about it. Bannon was reportedly apoplectic. That's an interesting one, because it was a one-on-one meeting between the two. One has to assume that Bannon was the source for that. I don't really have a hard time believing that Bannon would throw Manafort under the bus. The other possibility is that Bannon or Manafort described their meeting to another party (or several).

TheDrake

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Re: Woodward book
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2018, 08:57:22 AM »
One portrayal that I found very illuminating was Trump's relationship with the military. Describing private meetings about Afghanistan, Trump was deeply concerned about the cost of human life. His emotions meeting the families of the first soldiers who died at his orders. While he has had his ham-handed moments calling McCain a coward and a loser for being a POW, his feud with gold star father Humayun Khan, I'm left with a stronger overall impression of his compassion for the sacrifice members of the military make.

Another thing Trump did when formulating Afghan policy was insist on meeting with several rank and file members of the military. "On the ground" guys in his terminology. I looked this up and found very few reports on this fact.

Quote
"I've heard plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but I want to hear it from the people on the ground," Trump said in referring to Army First Sgt. Michael Wagner, Army Master Sgt. Zachary Bowman, Army Master Sgt. Henry Adames and Air Force Maj. Eric Birch.

military.com

None of them seem to report the detail Woodward was able to capture. Basically, all four told him to get out of there and that any Afghans couldn't really be trusted partners. Something that Mattis and other high level advisors soft-pedaled as they painted a picture of a second 9/11 if we bailed out of Afghanistan. They also manipulated Trump by saying he wouldn't want to make Obama's mistake in Iraq of leaving a vacuum to be filled by radical Islam.