Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What else I've been reading

Judith Warner's Perfect Madness was good for at least a dozen blog entries. It turned out to be a good vent for me. I've also finished:
1. Steve Coll's Ghost Wars
2. Gary Schroen's First In
3. Gary Berntsen's Jawbreaker

Without doubt, Steve Coll's Pulitzer Prize winning book was the best of the three. The two Gary books provided the continuation from Coll's book but was told mainly from a first person narrative. It lacks the intricacies that Coll's book provides on the differing points of view among the different departments/groups/fiefs in the decision making processes. Mainly, the one decision that interests me is why the military decided not to enter Tora Bora. We may have to wait for time to pass before we can get an answer as well as possibly some declassified documents. Certainly, the two Garys believe that this was a wrong decision. While Schroen is more nuanced in his view of Tommy Franks and George Tenet, Berntsen does not care for either of them. Coll's book presents the many viewpoints that were involved in trying to capture Bin Laden prior to Sept. 11. Reading this I can sort of sympathize with the current administration's view of executive power and the need to take decisive action but I'm not fully convinced that this would have had the desired result.

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