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Woodward: Secret Influence of a Retired General

POSTED: 10:56 AM ET, 09/ 9/2008 by Derek Kravitz

With violence escalating in Iraq in 2007, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane who had established a back-channel relationship advising the White House, hand-delivered a note from President Bush to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, offering the commander-in-chief's unflinching support for Petraeus and the new counterinsurgency strategy.

"I am not reducing further unless you are convinced that we should reduce further," the note read.

Later, Keane's urging appeared to be prove instrumental in the April selection of Petraeus as the new commander of Central Command, overseeing U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Asia.

(Keane, who once supervised Petraeus, had been quoted saying that he "is responsible for a stunning turnaround [in Iraq] and his knowledge of the region also is well known. He brings to Central Command . . . a stature and credibility to be able to operate in the region that is unprecedented.")

The latest excerpts of Bob Woodward's new book, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," details the intense internal disagreement between the White House and U.S. military leaders over the war strategy.

National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley has disputed several of the book's major points, including that a review of the Iraq strategy was conducted in secret so it wouldn't hurt Republicans' chances in the mid-term elections.

"If he had wanted to boost the Republican chances in the election, he would have publicly announced both the strategy review and the decision to change his Secretary of Defense," Hadley said in a statement. "The President did neither so as to avoid politicizing these decisions."

By Derek Kravitz |  September 9, 2008; 10:56 AM ET Post Investigations
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My concern is not that Mr Woodward would communicate this new secret strategy, but that if Mr Woodward found out why cant someone else find out this new secret program.

Posted by: Dr Len Gilman | September 10, 2008 9:51 AM

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