"Digging Deeper," UFPPC's Monday evening book discussion circle, will discuss Bob Woodward's State of Denial (Simon and Schuster, 2006) on Oct. 9 & 16, 2006.[1]  --  Woodward's volume is a number-one bestseller that is currently making headlines nationwide, and is available in bookstores.  --  For more than two years, "Digging Deeper" has been meeting on Monday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma (3923 S. 12th St.)....

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WHAT:  UFPPC's Monday evening book discussion group reads Bob Woodward's State of Denial
WHO:  Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN:  Monday, Oct. 9, 2006, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 16, 2006, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA

[Flyer text]

United for Peace of Pierce County Study Circle: October 9 & 16, 2006

www.ufppc.org

DIGGING DEEPER XXIV:  WOODWARD'S STATE OF DENIAL

In her review of Bob Woodward's State of Denial, a 576-page book that promises to be important despite its author's quirky and problematic approach to sources, Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times that "President Bush emerges as a passive, impatient, sophomoric, and intellectually incurious leader, presiding over a grossly dysfunctional war cabinet and given to an almost religious certainty that makes him disinclined to rethink or re-evaluate decisions he has made about the war." She noted that this is "a portrait that stands in stark contrast to the laudatory one Mr. Woodward drew in Bush at War, his 2002 book, which depicted the president -- in terms that the White House press office itself has purveyed -- as a judicious, resolute leader, blessed with the 'vision thing' his father was accused of lacking and firmly in control of the ship of state."  But what is significant about the book is not its general interpretation, which is scarcely new, but rather "new illustrations and some telling details that enrich the reader’s understanding of the inner workings of this administration at this critical moment."

For Kakutani, the book depicts a haplessness that borders on the comic:  "Were the war in Iraq not a real war that has resulted in more than 2,700 American military casualties and more than 56,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, the picture of the Bush administration that emerges from this book might resemble a farce. It’s like something out of 'The Daily Show' or a 'Saturday Night Live' sketch, with Freudian Bush family dramas and high-school-like rivalries between cabinet members who refuse to look at one another at meetings being played out on the world stage."  Examples?  "There’s the president, who once said, 'I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy,' deciding that he’s going to remake the Middle East and alter the course of American foreign policy.  There’s his father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush (who went to war against the same country a decade ago), worrying about the wisdom of another war but reluctant to offer his opinions to his son because he believes in the principle of 'let him be himself.'  There’s the president’s national security adviser whining to him that the defense secretary won’t return her phone calls.”

UFPPC’s Monday-evening book discussion series, “Digging Deeper,” will spend two weeks reading State of Denial.

· Bob Woodward, State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006). “As with Mr. Woodward’s earlier books, many of his interviews were conducted on background, though, from the point of view of particular passages, it’s often easy for the reader to figure out just who his sources were. In some cases he recreates conversations seemingly based on interviews with only one of the participants. The former Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Mr. Card, Mr. Tenet, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser (to Bush senior), appear to be among the author’s primary sources. Whereas Mr. Woodward has tended in the past to stand apart from his narrative, rarely pausing to analyze or assess the copious material he has gathered, he is more of an active agent in this volume -- perhaps in a kind of belated mea culpa for his earlier positive portrayals of the administration. In particular, he inserts himself into interviews with Mr. Rumsfeld -- clearly annoyed, even appalled, by the Pentagon chief’s cavalier language and reluctance to assume responsibility for his department’s failures.” --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times (Sept. 30, 2006).

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Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-night book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle. Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, Iran, the writings of Robert Baer, and accounts of the invastion and occupation of Iraq, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change. Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation.

DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

Participation is free. State of Denial is available in bookstores. Information: contact Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 253-756-7519).

Regular meetings of United for Peace of Pierce County are held at on 1st (6:30pm) and 3rd (7pm) Thursdays at First Congregational Church, 209 South “J” St., Tacoma, WA.