Tuesday, June 26, 2012

inside scoops

I'm a sucker for insider accounts of U.S. foreign policymaking. I've acquired a sizable library of memoirs by officials (while recognizing that most are self-serving, insufficiently detailed, and often written by ghost writers) and journalistic accounts like those of Bob Woodward and others.

There's a new crop of books on the Obama administration -- by Jim Mann, David Sanger, Rajiv Chandresakaran, and Daniel Klaidman--  that I have just begun to read, some of which have been excerpted in the press. It's clear from the reviews, however, that most of the authors' key sources worked either in the White House or the State Department. These journalists had few sources, and thus little understanding and perspective of the military viewpoint on the controversies they describe. Maybe we'll have to wait for Secretary Gates or Admiral Mullen or some Pentagon-based journalist to provide that. Meanwhile, join me in reading these accounts with the necessary filters and questions.

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