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Daily Column
US Papers Sun: Bomb in Area with Iraqi Refugees
Damascus car bomb explodes in neighborhood with half million Iraqis
By DANIEL W. SMITH 09/28/2008 01:57 AM ET
For the second day in a row, next to nothing as far as Iraq-related coverage. We have only Sunday editions to choose from, but still...

From the Middle East
A car bomb killed 17 people on a busy street in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday, in the third deadly political attack there this year. The car was packed with 440 pounds of explosives, according to Syria's state news agency, and blew up around a Shiite shrine called Sayeda Zaineb. According to Robert F. Worth of the New York Times in Cairo, half a million Iraqi refugees live in the densely populated area; most of them fled Iraq after war erupted there in 2003. Also from Cairo, Ellen Knickmeyer and Alia Ibrahim report for the Washington Post quote an Iraqi teacher who lives in the area as saying "We escaped from the car bombs in Baghdad, but they've followed us here." No connection to the Iraqi population has been proven.

Another review of Bob Woodward’s celebrated book “The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006–2008”, about the infighting within and between the White House, Pentagon, and State Dept. in the events leading up to the “surge” in Iraq, this one by the Times’ Jill Abramson. She lauds Woodward as a documenter, but sometimes pans his analysis, or lack thereof. It is really a review of the whole four book series by Woodward, of which ‘The War Within” is the last.
“The War Within” includes one last epilogue¬ — or apologia. In an effort at self-justification, Woodward points out that the seeds that grew into “State of Denial” and “The War Within” were planted and indeed had sprouted in his first two volumes. He makes a plausible case, though it would have been better¬, for him and for us, if his judgments had been woven into the original texts. Even now Woodward doesn’t divulge his own view of the war itself, beyond saying the obvious: “The outcome of the Iraq war, now in its sixth year, remains uncertain.”
But Woodward’s own judgment of the war and of Bush doesn’t really matter. In the course of four books he has given readers the conversations and documents we need to reach our own judgments. He has also, however unevenly and imperfectly, supplied enough synthesis and analysis to make that judgment genuinely informed. Sure, these books can be a slog. But they stand as the fullest story yet of the Bush presidency and of the war that is likely to be its most important legacy.
Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, no Sunday Editions.

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