Media-centric distortion factor: We learn a lot more detail about "communications"—how Bush's big congressional address was written, for example—than about military strategy or foreign policy. That may be because it's easier to get speechwriters to talk. Or it may be because Bush sees his main job as communicating.
Major mystery the Post doesn't even try to clear up: W & B report that Cheney's "true role—power behind the throne or simply the sage, confidential adviser—remained a mystery to outsiders." Also to W & B's readers! What do the insiders know that the "outsiders" don't about Cheney? We're never told. But it's interesting to note that when Bush finally takes action—dictating an 11-point one-page war plan to Rice—it's on Sunday, Sept. 16, shortly after an "extended" meeting with Cheney that both men won't talk to W & B about. (This sequence of events is obscured, in the W & B account, by an unusual, non-chronological presentation. Coincidence? You make the call!)
Does anyone in the administration, during this unexpected, unprecedented, dramatic and confusing 10-day ordeal, make a mistake? Well, there's that Pentagon slide about "Poisoning the Food Supply." Also, Karen Hughes misreads a handwritten Bush note, substituting "harbors" for "havens." That's about it.
Estimated time saved by reading Series-Skipper™instead of the actual series: 6.092 hours. You may think this summary is long, at 3,692 words. But the series is 40, 244 words! Which means a net savings, to you, of 36,552 words.
Sixth in a series.
Previous applications of Series-Skipper™:
"Hello, Saylor!" Feb. 7, 2002.
"There's a Scanadal in Here Somewhere!" July 18, 2001.
"They Don't Pay kausfiles Enough To Read This Series!" April 16, 2001.
"Shaw Must Go On!" Feb. 20, 2001.
"The Post's Deadly Deadlock," Feb. 14, 2001.
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