I interviewed former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith at length about his new book, War and Decision, because it is an important and thoroughly researched and footnoted account of the first four years of the war. (The transcript is here.) Feith has been on the receiving end of some blistering attacks, but his account is not score-settling, but a crucial contribution to the record of how the U.S. responded to 9/11 and why it and its coalition partners invaded Iraq. It is full of the details of history and it is compelling and riveting.
Richard Armitage and George Tenet do not come off well in this book, even though Feith is restrained when it comes to their roles in the intelligence failures and planning miscues that marked the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and which plagued the occupation. The epic failures of the CIA cannot be spun, and Armitage’s flawed strategic thinking cannot be concealed. (Feith does not bring up Armitage’s key role in the Libby fiasco.)
The Washington Post has now declined to review the book, as Scott Johnson at Powerline notes. This is an amusing, brazen and repulsive bit of record-censoring by a would-be paper of record that wants the Beltway’s official account of events to be Bob Woodward’s and that of his pals at State and CIA. Of course it does nothing to change the actual history of the events, or to obscure Feith’s excellent book. But the pettiness of the paper’s decision tells us everything we need to know about D.C. elites, their self-absorption, and their uncanny ability to play the Emperor With No Clothes.