“Obama’s Wars”

A Conversation with Bob Woodward

Photo by Duke Photography. Investigative reporter Bob Woodward speaks to a crowd at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Woodward is touring to promote his book "Obama's Wars" and signed copies of the book.

Photo by Duke Photography.

Woodward talks about democracy and national security

By Patricia Lee | Duke Today October 28, 2010

Addressing an audience of about 350 students, faculty and community members in Fleishman Commons Wednesday night, Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward answered questions about the difference between the Bush and Obama administrations, secret government and acquiring information and gathering sources.

Woodward-who has written or co-written 14 best sellers in his 40-year journalism career about Watergate, the Supreme Court, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Federal reserve and the White House under various presidents-discussed his new book, “Obama’s Wars,” with Peter Feaver, a Duke professor of political science and public policy.

“What worries me most is secret government; whoever said democracy dies in darkness had it right. If we don’t know what’s going on, we’ll die,” said Woodward, who reported on the Watergate scandal with Post colleague Carl Bernstein. “This is what Nixon did … he was using the power of the presidency as an instrument of personal revenge. … Governing is about doing the right thing, finding a common purpose, and that’s what’s driving me to dig into it and explain what’s going on.”

After commenting that the past three presidents have all acted in good faith to do the right thing and have avoided the misapplication of power seen under the Nixon administration, Woodward discussed President Obama’s views on the war in Afghanistan.

“I thought, quite frankly, about calling this book ‘The Divided Man.’… In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he says, ‘War is sometimes necessary, but war is never glorious. …’ He wants out of Afghanistan. You listen to his speeches, and he hasn’t given many speeches on this recently, and that doesn’t come through, but digging under the surface, it does, and I quite frankly think that it’s important for the public to know that the commander in chief wants out.”

The lecture was presented by the Von der Heyden Fellows Program Endowment Fund and sponsored by the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. The event was co-sponsored by the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and Duke University Union.

View the original article in Duke Today here.