Obama's Wars, Bob Woodward's new account
of the Obama administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan, is
the Washington Post reporter's 16th book. The previous 15, all
bestsellers, feature similarly paradigm-shifting—if not devastating—portrayals of the nation's
power players in Washington and beyond. At a certain point, might it be
advisable for the influential and important to, you know, just not talk
to Woodward anymore? That's the question Post columnist Kathleen Parker
pondered this weekend. Woodward, she points out, shapes more than
public opinions. His presence also shapes history. Writes Parker:
Why do presidents give the White House keys to Bob Woodward?
ask this with all due deference, respect, hat in hand, cape over puddle
and other sundry gestures owed by ink-stained wretches like me to the
Most Famous Journalist on the Planet.
Through several administrations, Woodward has become president ex
officio -- or at least reporter in chief, a human tape recorder who
issues history's first draft even as history is still tying its shoes.
Woodward Syndrome...presents a dilemma for all presidents. By
his presence, events are affected. By our knowledge of what he
witnesses, even as history is being created in real time, we can also
affect these same events. Is it fair to Obama to critique him as he
navigates his own thoughts? Or are we interfering with outcomes by
inserting ourselves into conversations to which we were never supposed
to be privy?
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