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Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack NY: Simon


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Title: Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack NY: Simon

Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (NY Simon
Schuster, 2004)
  • Number II in his Trilogy of the Bush
    Administration Bush at War, Plan of Attack,
    State of Denial

Chapter 2
  • Woodward begins chapter 2 with how defining 9/11
    was to Bush personally and Bush as president.
    Notes an interesting journal entry likening 9/11
    to Pearl Harbor and argues that Bush is not
    exaggerating when he makes the comparison and
    suggests that it affected Bush similarly.

Chapter 2
  • Woodward then returns to Bush at War. Four days
    into the crisis, Bush has decided not to hit Iraq
    presently. Woodward has Rumsfeld raising the
    issue. Wolfowitz being hot on the idea of taking
    out Iraq accordingly, Wolfowitz argued Iraq a
    better target. Interestingly, this time though I
    sense a little more circumspection by Rumsfeld
    while wondering if its not an opportunity.
    Bush seems to go out of his way to suggest to
    Woodward that Rummy was simply doing his job in
    examining Iraq early on. Also, Rummy comes off
    as coy and guarded in his real feelingsawaiting
    a wind gauge to assess which way the wind is
    blowing. (See pp. 24-25 Bush covering Rummy a
    year later, p. 26)

Chapter 2
  • We also learn how integral Andrew Andy Card
    was to Bush. We begin to see that Card was a
    chief of staff with direct policymaking role in
    the NSC principals setting. This is not trivial
    as it gave Card (an ad hoc principal) tremendous
    access on foreign policy as well as public

Chapter 2
  • A tally would show that 4 to 0 against hitting
    Iraq initially, with Rumsfeld abstaining making
    it 4 to 0 to 1. Powell found Rumsfelds
    abstention most interesting. What did it mean?
    he wondered. Rumsfeld had this way of asking
    questionsquestions, questions, questions!and
    not revealing his own position. (Plan, p. 25.)
    Clearly, this is coming from Powell. Powell is
    concerned with Rummy and these chicken hawks
    always quick to send American troops in harms
    way (pp. 25-26). September 14, 2001

Chapter 2
  • The next afternoon, (September 16, 2001) Condi
    Ricethis is the Camp David series of meetings in
    Bush at Waracting as the conveyor of the message
    from Bush. Bush listens to various takes at the
    meetings, Then Bush seemingly makes a unilateral
    decision apart from the meeting. It appears very
    differently than Bush senior who would argue
    around the table with his advisers. Its
    difficult to tell if Bush goes off and makes
    decisions, implied, or whether Cheney, Rice, or
    someone else gets a second bite of the apple
    absent NSC principals. Though Libby doesnt come
    up here, from other reading it seems pretty clear
    Wolfowitz and or Libby are in this group as ad
    hoc principals.

Chapter 2
  • September 17, Bush signs top secret finding for
    Pearl. It allows CIA and others to conduct
    covert actions against terrorists worldwide. (p.
    26.) Interesting to compare Bushs interview
    tidbits from one year after and two years after
    9/11 (pp. 26-27). Also, it belies some of
    Tenets subsequent recollections that Bushand
    even Clintonhad already given all the authority

Chapter 2
  • Now comes Cheney.
  • Cheney, the 61-year old conservative hard liner,
    had already carved out a special position in the
    administration and held great sway with the
    president. He was a resume vice president
    White House chief of staff to President Ford at
    age 34 then 10 years as the only congressman
    from Wyoming, his how state briefly the No. 2
    House Republican leader before being selected by
    Bushs father to be secretary of defense in 1989.
    Thought by many Republicans to be the best
    qualified in their party for the presidency,
    Cheney had considered running in 1996. But he
    found the fund-raising and media scrutiny
    distasteful, and was named CEO of Halliburton, .
    . . in 1995. He served until Bush picked him to
    be his running mate in the summer of 2000 with
    these words If times are good, Im going to
    need your advice, but not nearly as much as if
    times are bad. (27-28.)

Chapter 2
  • His role as veep expansion of the traditional
    role of veep. In Bush 43, Cheney was going to be
    an insider and a specialist on national security
    threats. Cheney (and retired Admiral Steve
    Abbott) but no mention here of Libby! Carves out
    his role as expert on national-security threats,
    WMD, terrorism, etc. (p. 29). We will read later
    he was the self-appointed examiner of worst-case

Chapter 3
  • Woodward begins looking closely at Rummy again
    in chapter 3. He goes through Rummys
    bull-in-china-shop brashness in terms of hauling
    in war planners and contingency planners in the
    Pentagon and questions the assumptions of their
    various war plans for some 70 contingencies.
    Rummy comes off looking brilliant, tempestuous,
    (embarrassing colonels), and disdainful of the
    Clinton defense department (pp. 33-35). He makes
    a nice little summary paragraph next

Chapter 3
  • This was four and one-half months before Bush
    formally announced his preemption sic doctrine.
    Rumsfeld was thinking of a future when the U.S.
    should be ready to strike first. The thing is
    clearly this came from either Rummy himself,
    implied, or Wolfowitz. I initially read this
    sort of thing and credited Rumsfeld with more
    influence than he actually had I think. Instead,
    the persons whose fingerprints are more
    difficult to trace is Cheney. Reflect in my NSC
    book versus Hydra.

Chapter 3
  • Rumsfelds real influence appears to be in
    shaking up the bureaucracy. Its clear from
    other readings that when Cheney and Bush deciding
    on who would be asked to be secretary of
    defensefirst slice was Dan Coates from Indiana
    who interviewed badlyRumsfeld felt he had
    unfinished business left from his first tour as
    youngest sec def. He was intellectually
    confident enough to be thinking in terms of how
    the DOD had to be transformed for 21st century
    and how Rumsfeld was the sort of bold leadership
    who would transform it. Makes Rumsfeld seem more
    interested with those big issues.

Chapter 3
  • Also Tenets coverage confirms that Rumsfeld
    knew initially that DOD was not ready to lead
    into Afghanistan and bided his time. By
    examining SOPs and their assumptions, he forced
    the Pentagon to questions its assumptions. (See
    pp. 34-38, 40-42). See Rumsfelds own self
    assessment on p. 44. My thoughts on Rumsfeld.

Chapter 3
  • There is an element of drama here with Woodward
    describing a British MI6 (Secret Intelligence
    Services) covert op in Pakistan and concluding
    that Pakistan was at least an unwitting
    proliferator. Bush responds by sending Tenet to
    Pakistan in late 2001. The result is the U.S.
    govt believedas did Saudis and othersthat al
    Qaeda was intent on getting WMD, if they didnt
    already have them, and the U.S. anticipating the
    use of a dirty bomb, if not the real thing in the
    U.S. Chapter 4, pp. 46-48. Big difference
    between Bush 43 and 41 for DCI latter
    traditional, non-operational, non-policymaking
    role. Also, Tenet makes clear that AQ Khan
    network surprised Musharraf more than once as
    Tenet briefed Musharraf on what had occurred
    under his nose.

Chapter 4
  • Now comes Scooter Libby. He hold three
    titles chief of staff to the veep
    national-security advisor to veep and assistant
    to the president. (p. 48.) Libby as a protégé
    of Paul Wolfowitz Libby as a former assistant
    secretary of state for Wolfowitz during late
    1980s Libby as former policy undersecretary for
    Cheney while Cheney secretary of defense
    (1988-1992), p. 48. In his current role, Libby
    was one of only two people who were not
    statutory principals to attend the National
    Security Council meetings with the president and
    the separate principals meetings chaired by Rice.
    (The other was Rices deputy, Stephen Hadley.)
    (p. 48-49.)

Chapter 4
  • From his unique vantage point, Libby watched
    and participated in the debate and development of
    the presidents national security policy. Since
    Cheney did not have direct operational
    responsibility for the military, diplomacy, or
    intelligenceor anything else for that
    matterneither the vice president nor Libby had
    to get caught up in the daily firefights or
    crises, unless, of course, they chose to insert
    themselves. They both could try to tend to the
    largest matters of policy and decision. In the
    end, Libby knew, Cheneys only product was
    adviceto the National Security Council, and most
    importantly and most directly, to the president
    (p. 49).

Chapter 4
  • Libby as one who like to immerse himself in
    details. Libby and Wolfowitz, during the first
    Gulf War, proposing placing covert operatives,
    Special Operations Commando teams, in the west of
    Iraq to protect Israel. (Ibid.) Libby,
    retrospectively, apparently believed that had
    General Schwartzkopf, used their idea, he
    wouldnt have had to tie down so much of his air
    power to guarding western Iraq. A New York Times
    piece that identifies Libby, shortly after 9/11
    and his response thereto he goes to Armitage
    and tells him Libby is used to seeing Powells
    name in the paper (a salvo!) but not his own and
    he didnt care for it. Its about what will work
    and what wont, not personal pettiness, so on.

Chapter 4
  • Libby felt that keeping the focus on
    Afghanistan initially was wise, and now with
    Afghanistan going well, he believed if the war on
    terrorism was properly and broadly defined that
    Iraq had to be dealt with. Late 2001. It was
    impossible, in his view, to deal definitively
    with terrorism, as he put it privately, without
    facing up to the issue of Iraq. (p. 50.) In
    Tenets book, Richard Perle who was on the
    Defense Advisory board met Tenet as latter was
    heading into the White House where Perle tells
    Tenet that the U.S had to go after and punish
    Iraq on thisTenet was stunned and somewhat
    suspicious of whom Perle had been meeting with
    precisely. Weve discussed!

Chapter 4
  • Libby is watching the president closely in
    meetings. Hes looking for body language and so
    on. Maybe it wasnt a war decision, Libby felt,
    but the president had decided that the Iraq
    problem was going to be solved one way or the
    other. (Ibid.)!
  • Note confirmation coming from Libby to
    Woodward that the decision to go to Iraq was made
    in early 2002.

Chapter 5
  • The president is at the ranch in Crawford in
    December 2001. Hes getting briefings by secure
    link or in person in a special room, a Sensitive
    Compartmented Information Facility. On December
    28, 2001, the threat matrix, a story broken by
    Woodward in the Washington Post, is briefed to
    Bush. Tenet has a chapter on the matrix and how
    it was an improvised response to 9/11 that became
    the basis for countless briefings including a
    daily CIA afternoon meeting for some 2-3 years
    running after 9/11. Recall, it was around this
    same time that the concerns of dirty bombs or
    nukes is also pushing the administration.

Chapter 5
  • Interestingly, Bush has just finished reading
    biography on Teddy Roosevelt whose thesis is
    Theodore Roosevelt used power decisively,
    definitively, bordering on arrogantlybut that
    was the proper way and what made him a great
    president. Theodore Rex, by Edmund Morris. (pp.

Chapter 5
  • Rumsfelds breaking china at Pentagon has paid
    off as Franks secure video conference with Bush
    with newly designed war plan for Iraq. A new
    construct, not just military, but one that drew
    on all elements of national power (pp. 54-56.)
    Franks plan, and it if I recall correctly this
    is when Bush is at Crawford late 2001 appears
    quite brilliant in retrospect, projected a
    tentative start date in Iraq of between April and
    June, 2002, were the president to say go now (p.
    60.) At the end the president tells Franks good
    job and keep grinding away.

Chapter 5
  • Rumsfeld had seemed to want to jump in two or
    three times during Franks briefing but the
    technology made him only one remote figure on a
    screen filled with others. (p. 63.) The press
    conference after the meeting seems to indicate
    the Franks was there in person, Cheney was
    probably in Washington as apparently was
    Rumsfeld, Rice was in both places. (See p. 65.)
    Also see how Bush, two years later, characterized
    the meeting and how Woodward characterizes Bush
    based on his interviews (p. 66). Bush does not
    think the U.S. is ready to take out Iraq at this
    point but he knows Iraq is a threat and that the
    US has options. There are at least two
    accounts, Woodwards Bush at War and Tenets that
    have a vote with Rumsfeld abstaining . . . .

Chapter 6
  • Some pretty positive stuff on Tenet and Saul,
    the director of ops for the regions that included
    Iraq. Then, In the first months after 9/11,
    Iraq took a back seat, though Vice President
    Cheney asked the CIA to brief him on what they
    could do. On January 3, 2002, Saul, Tenet, the
    deputy chief of the Near East division and two
    covert operators who had worked Iraq programs
    went to see the vice president and Scooter
    Libby. (p. 72.)?

Chapter 6
  • The end of the chapter is interesting for what
    the participants apparently told Woodward after
    the fact, perhaps well after. It has Cheney
    being refreshed by the CIAs bluntness that they
    couldnt do it alonetoo many FUBARs of cutting
    and running and stringing the Iraqi opposition
    out. In fact, we now know that Cheney has an
    ongoing feud with CIA and thinks them incapable
    of getting it right. It has Saul, telling it
    like it is and the president thinking to himself,
    oh darn, no sucker punch to be had against

Chapter 6
  • It has Rice comprehending, at the time, how
    difficult it was going to be to have a
    bifurcated policy of diplomacy on the one hand
    and planning, sub rosa, on the other. And it has
    Powell wisely doubting it all and coming off the
    sage of the administration. It appears that each
    camp talked to Woodward and told him how they
    were thinking at the time! (See pp. 72-74.) my
    recollection is put out story just before
    Woodwards book released in which Cheney was
    characterized as not participating?

Chapter 7
  • After all the late December 2001 flurry of
    activity, Rumsfeld has Franks rework things and
    to be ready for a January 9, 2002 meeting. Then
    turns to Powell and again how the cagey former
    general knew that of which he spoke war was a
    terrible thing, as Confederate General Robert E.
    Lee said, and it was a good thing lest everyone
    grow too fond of it. Powell had frustrations
    that he was not fully on the inside as Rumsfeld,
    Cheney, and others appeared. He had not formed
    personal bonds with Bush and for the Bushes,
    personal bonds were everything.

Chapter 7
  • He reminisces on the week before 9/11 (in my
    book) where Time comes out with Where Have You
    Gone piece on Powell. Sufficiently troubled that
    he eventually uses his good offices to reach out
    to Tommy Franks, probably a poor decision, when
    one stops to think how its going to be seen by
    Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and probably Cheney. See
    David Von Drehle, Wrestling With History
    Sometimes You Have to Fight The War You Have, Not
    The War You Wish You Had Washington Post,
    11/13/2005, p. W12. Even Tenet makes clear the
    decision to invade Iraq was relatively early in

Chapter 8
  • Begins with Gerson, speechwriter, musing about
    early 2002. He was working on Bushs state of
    the union speech and he realized he (they) had a
    plastic, teachable momenta paradigm shift, a
    time when the president had to educate and teach
    the nation about how the world had changed, how
    the next 50 years the threat was going to be
    terrorism! (See p. 85.) A reorientation of US
    foreign and defense policy. (pp. 85-86.) Very
    interesting intersection between Gerson, David
    Frum who coined axis of hatred, and Cheney who
    had internally brought up the connection between
    WMD and terrorism in the summer of 2000, just
    after he joined the ticket. See first full
    paragraph, p. 87.!

Chapter 8
  • Gerson remembered that when Cheney had joined
    the ticket in the summer of 2000, Cheney had
    raised the connection between WMD and terrorism
    in internal campaign discussions. . . . So
    Gerson changed Frums phrase axis of hatred
    to axis of evil, broadening the notion, making
    it more sinister, even wicked. It was almost as
    if Saddam was an agent of the devil. The
    connection between his regime with WMD and
    international terrorism could put the world on
    the road to Armageddon (87).

Chapter 8
  • Apropos Bushs state of the union speech for
    2002, Woodward then turns again to Libby
    interestingly. Note Libby was indicted
    October 28, 2005 with 1 count obstruction of
    justice, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of
    false statements. Subsequent to when I first
    read this, during summer 2007 Bush commuted
    Libbys prison term. Woodward begins the
    section with In the vice presidents suite on
    the second floor of the OEOB, Libby is going
    over drafts of the speechit doesnt give a date.
    He reads the axis of evil line and is somewhat
    concerned that it indicates, before the
    administration was ready to indicate, that the US
    was going after Iraq. He favored adding other
    rogue nations including Iran, DPRK, and Syria!
    (p. 90.) Woodward simply notes that his
    suggestion for Syria got nowhere with either Rice
    or Hadley (Rices deputy then, the NSC advisor in

Chapter 8
  • Woodward shifts back to defense. Apparently,
    Rumsfeld had not read the speech, a priori, or if
    he did not in a way that would allow him to
    comment on it and or change it. Interesting.
    Neither had Wolfowitz who read the speech after
    the fact and was pleased the president had
    driven the stake into terrorism and states who
    sponsor it. The speech showed that the
    president had been listening to some of the
    things Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz had been saying
    about the connection between weapons of mass
    destruction and terrorism (93). This is
    interesting first, it indicates that Cheneys
    office is part of the speech process even though
    Rumsfelds office is not, or was not at that
    time. Second, it may say something about Rices
    influence being stronger than some think. Third,
    if true about Rice, it raises question about her
    role then compared to her agenda nowin
    2005where she has been much more active as
    secretary and begs questions about what has

Chapter 8
  • Check out Woodwards section on Krauthammer and
    how he took the speech and spun it into a virtual
    declaration of war on Iraq. Krauthammer was
    probably correct in his interpretation but he was
    also trying to set the conservative agenda
    through his Op-Ed piece. (p. 95.)
  • The power of the punditocracy. Ken Adlemans
    op-ed pieces come up in Woodwards book and both
    of my books have chapters on societal including

Chapter 9
  • Bush at National Prayer Breakfast on February 7,
    2002. Very Christian theme of strength from
    tribulations and 9/11 was said tribulation (p.
    98). (Woodward had just pages earlier noted that
    Bush told Rove, just after 9/11, that Bush was
    here for a reason, and this is how were going to
    be judged (p. 91).

Chapter 9
  • Same day as the prayer breakfast, February 7,
    2002 the president and his national security
    team sic. met in the situation room (p. 98).
    Interesting stuff it seems functional Bush
    seems to understand gravity Franks gives Bush
    realistic time assessment of when the US could be
    ready to go into Iraq (p. 100)between November,
    December (2002) and out until February 2003. As
    we know, it was March 2003. Rumsfeld introduces
    shock and awe apparently in this meeting.
    Powell seems satisfied that nobody was trigger
    happy and nobody had any crazy-ass ideas about
    Iraq. Then Woodward turns to Cheney. Cheney
    thought the war plan took too long to unfold (p.
    103). Odd for a veep but perhaps not for former

Chapter 9
  • Then Woodward returns to Cheney. Cheney was
    planning a trip to the Middle East and
    consequently spoke to Franks to inquire as to
    what countries might be ripe for veep
    solicitation. The CJCS is by law the contact for
    NSC principals. The CINCs have an alternative
    chain of command. This is somewhat strange. Why
    Franks? Franks is an Army Command chief. What
    info would Franks have on that? Why did Cheney
    not ask State? This is States portfolio. Is
    this simply the case of Cheney not wishing to
    work with his old bureaucratic rival, Powell? Is
    it more sinister? Less? On March 6, Franks
    briefs Cheney! (P. 111.)

Chapter 10
  • Then Cheney on whirlwind trip to area. March
    2002 Lands on US carrier USS Stennis.
    Interesting paragraph about Cheneys encounters
    virtually every leader in the area pounded Cheney
    not on gsave or Iraq but, rather, when was the
    administration going to throw its weight behind a
    middle east peace process? Woodward notes that
    this had been a Powell hobby horse and that
    Franks generally agreed with it US must think
    about settling the Israeli-Palestinian process as
    core for everything else. Interesting in light
    of the Annapolis summit.

Chapter 10
  • By mid to late March (2002) Franks now believes
    that Bush is going to take US to war in Iraq (p.
    113) Woodward pegs it to March 21. Very
    interesting note on JCS simulation Prominent
    Hammer, March 23. First, it didnt leak until
    two months after the simulation. Second, it
    found that Iraq was going to place incredible
    strains on the militarylogistically, physically,
    emotionally, . . (pp. 114-115).

Chapter 11
  • Interesting stuff on cultural of Pentagon.
    Franks is purple and not beholding to any
    service. Yet he needs to brief them on whats
    coming. He enters enemy territory the tank in
    the Pentagon. He calls the service chiefs Title
    X motherfuckers. (pp. 116-119). Title 10 is a
    reference to Goldwater-Nichols Act, 1986.

Chapter 12
  • Bush telling Rove to stop bothering Bush. It
    has to do with problems between Rove who wished
    to use Afghanistan politically to bolster Bush
    and Powell who wished to appear an apolitical
    secretary of state.
  • Then Woodward returns to Cheney.

Chapter 12
  • Cheney apparently felt the real foreign policy
    struggle within the administration was not over
    Rove but Powell (p. 128). Interesting Cheney
    comment in the context of Iran. Apparently, two
    camps existed in the administration about Iran.
    One argued that two camps existed within Iran
    Khatami and reformers vs. theocracy and Khamenei.
    Now Khatami is gone, of course.
  • The other camp believed they were two sides of
    same coin. Cheney acknowledges the debate,
    though to whom is not clear. He then relates it
    to Powell and Rumsfeld The same question
    applies to Don Rumsfeld and Colin Powell (p.
    129). Woodward goes on to discuss preemption
    and the differences between Powells view and
    Rumsfelds. Iran

Chapter 12
  • Interesting stuff on continuity in US foreign
    policy. June 1 speech Bush gives to US military
    academy in New York (I think the West Points
    speech in 2002 national-security strategy).
    Bushs speech writer Gerson goes back to Truman
    1947 speech to link Bushs mission in a new world
    with Trumans during a similarly new world. (pp.
    130-31.) Then something about Cheney, since the
    2000 campaign, linking WMD and terrorism.
    Cheney had been raising these questions about
    the potential threat of terrorists acquiring
    weapons of mass destruction . . . . Since 9/11
    it had become Cheneys obsession (p. 131 my

Chapter 13
  • On July29-29 the Washington Post and the New
    York Times ran front-page stories on Iraq war
    planning (July 29, 2002). Rest of the chapter is
    about CIA covert ops in northern Iraq with the
    Kurds. The infamous Tim is in it, as it was
    recalled in Bush at War and or elsewhere. Not
    especially relevant for purposes of this course.

Chapter 13
  • On July29-29 the Washington Post and the New
    York Times ran front-page stories on Iraq war
    planning (July 29, 2002). Rest of the chapter is
    about CIA covert ops in northern Iraq with the
    Kurds. The infamous Tim is in it, as it was
    recalled in Bush at War and or elsewhere. Not
    especially relevant for purposes of this course.

Chapter 14
  • Chapter begins with Franks again in early August
    2002. It then shifts to Powell without carefully
    constructing a timeline. The implication is the
    Powell section begins around same time, early
  • Powell is on edge! All the stuff hes hearing
    and reading in the papers suggested a mad rush to
    militarize Iraq. Powells view, by implication,
    is that there were many things that could be done
    short of war.
  • The result is Powell is angling for private time
    with Bush to lay out his own thoughts on Iraq.
    Bush invites Powell and Rice to dinner on August
    5, 2002. This is the famous talk about Bush
    being the owner of however many millions of
    Iraqis, their aspirations, etc. Rice, apparently
    speaking to Woodward, thought the next days
    headline was Powell Makes Case for Coalition
    As Only Way to Assure Success (pp. 149-51).

Chapter 14
  • Woodward is interviewing people well after the
    fact. One is president Bush who, during his
    interview, thought back and characterized what
    Powell had been saying. First, it was Powells
    job to think tactically it was Bushs job to
    think strategically. Second, some in the
    administration thought much could be done
    multilaterally and diplomatically others in the
    administration did not. Apparently virtually
    everyone believed the UN had behaved fecklessly.
    Then Bush saying to Woodward the following.
    Colin felt very strongly that the United Nations
    was the route to go. And some in the
    administration had seen how feckless the United
    Nations had been on this issue and were uncertain
    as to whether or not the United Nations would be
    able to get it done. Then Woodward writes He
    acknowledged that one of those was the vice
    president (pp. 152-53 quotes p. 153). The next
    day the president headed to Crawford for nearly a
    month of vacation. August 2002

Chapter 15
  • August 14, 2002 Rice chaired an NSC principals
    meeting. The meeting was called to discuss what
    the deputies meetings had pushed forward goals
    and objectives in Iraq. Woodward describes the
    coalition if possible, go it alone if necessary
    approach that many administrations had taken.
    Then Rarely, however, had there been such deep
    division within a national security team sic.
    as between Cheney and Powell. Each had a
    fundamentally different definition of what was
    possible, and what was necessary (p. 155).

Chapter 15
  • From Cheneys mouth to Bushs brain! Woodward
    has Bush at Crawford on the second Friday of his
    vacation thereits August 16, 2002. Scowcroft,
    back in Washington and working as a consultant,
    is worrying about what hes hearing about Iraq.
    He pens an oped piece that runs in the Wall
    Street Journal in which he argues theres no
    connection between Saddam and bin Laden other
    that they both hate the US. Powell phones him
    and thanks him for cover Powell apparently tells
    Scowcroft Powell needs to use the opening to its

Chapter 15
  • Rice phones Scowcroft (who was formerly her boss
    at NSC) and has sharp words with Scowcroft. Bush
    gives press briefing at Crawford city center in
    which he acknowledges that smart people are
    concerned about the administrations apparent
    tilt toward war in Iraq. Bush then phones
    Gerson, with Rice on the phone (its not clear
    where Rice is) and states that Gerson needs to
    make the UN speechthe one debated just days
    earlier by NSC principalsdifferent. Now, he
    instructs Gerson to make the speech about how the
    UN must confront Iraq or condemn itself to
    obsolescence for the future. Cheneys feelings
    are coming out of Bushs mouth. How?? (See pp.
    159-161.) Also note that by time Powell gets
    personal time with bush, on Aug. 5, 2002,
    Cheney has already had his say with Bush for

Chapter 15
  • Bush meets with Woodward during this time in
    Crawford. In explaining his administrations
    position on Iraq he tells Woodward how horrible
    Iraq is under Saddam and how the US must think in
    terms of liberating subjugated peoples,
    democratization, and nothing about weapons of
    mass destruction. (162-63.) Whatever else one
    may wish to say about Bush, he truly seemed to
    believe the administrations own hyperbolic
    rhetoric. You can say that he was blinded by
    hubrisand indeed I do say thatbut I have spent
    some 6 years now studying 9/11 and its aftermath.
    I have found NO evidence that Bush consciously
    lied. He embellished to be sure and Im less
    confident of saying the same of Cheney.

Chapter 15
  • Cheney, apparently in Washington, senses hes
    losing ground to caution and those urging it,
    read Powell. Hes bugged by the Scowcroft piece
    and exercised that a New York Times editorial
    has, in Cheneys view, mischaracterized
    Kissingers view from another piece. The Times
    eventually ran a correction, but Cheney and his
    deputy, Scooter Libby, found the article
    extremely aggravating (163) and the correction
    would never catch up with the front page
    headline, sic. and Scowcrofts dissent was
    indisputable and more potent. It looked as if
    the march to war was put off (Ibid). Indeed, so
    bothered are the two that Cheney decides to make
    a major speech. This is highly unusual as Bush
    was then scheduled to give a major speech to the
    UN on September 12the speech Gerson was working
    on for Bush. But Cheney uses his influence and
    demonstrates his influence and propriety, by
    going to Bush and getting his permission to put
    out the administrations position. (Ibid.)

Chapter 15
  • Another NSC meeting, apparently principals plus,
    and without a clear date. It appears that its
    near the end of August. And my sense is that
    Bush is back in Washington though Woodward does
    not make clear. What he does detail is the
    following telling exchange
  • At an NSC meeting, Cheney said to the president,
    Well, Im going to give that speech.
  • Dont get me in trouble, Bush half-joked.
  • Trouble is what Cheney had in mind.

Chapter 15
  • And then Woodward begins the next paragraph with
    the newspaper headline of Cheneys speech and the
    story it generated. The paper ran Cheney Says
    Peril of Nuclear Iraq Justifies Attack, in the
    New York Times. The vice president had
    delivered a hard-line address to the Veterans of
    foreign Wars convention in Nashville and
    basically called weapons inspection futile.
    Woodward has Powell dumbfounded. And
    amazingly, Woodward continues note my records
    indicate said speech on 8-26-2002

Chapter 15
  • The vice president also issued his own personal
    National Intelligence Estimate of Saddam
    Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam
    Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction and
    there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use
    against our friends, against our allies and
    against us. Ten days earlier the president
    himself said only that Saddam desires these
    weapons. Neither Bush nor the CIA had made any
    assertion comparable to Cheneys (p. 164).
  • . . . .

Chapter 15
  • These remarks, just short of a declaration of
    war, were widely interpreted as administration
    policy. Powell was astonished. It was a
    preemptive attack on what the president had
    agreed to 10 days earlier. Cheneys speech blew
    it all up. Now Powell felt boxed in. To add to
    his problem, the BBC started releasing excerpts
    of an interview Powell had given before Cheneys
    speech asserting, The president has been clear
    that he believes weapons inspectors should
    return. Stories began appearing that Powell was
    contradicting Cheney. He was accused of
    disloyalty, and he counted seven editorials
    calling for his resignation or implying he should
    quit. How can I be disloyal, he wondered, when
    Im giving the presidents stated position?

Chapter 15
  • Then in another stunning revelation, Woodward
    turns to Ken Adelman, former Reaganaut and former
    assistant to Rummy. Adelman writes a piece
    published in the Wall Street Journal arguing Iraq
    is more dangerous than al Qaeda Saddam has a
    country, billions in oil revenue, and so forth.
    The stunning part is in the connection to Cheney.
    Woodward makes it sound as if it was after the
    fact but I really wonder now in 2005 having just
    had indictments against Libby yesterday. In any
    case, Cheney lets it be known through common
    friends that Adelmans piece was just what he
    needed inside the administration (165).
    Apparently, much of this happened while Bush was
    still in Crawford!

Chapter 16
  • Bush returns to White House on September 1,
    2002. Bush tells the principals that he wishes
    to go to the Congress to get their blessing. And
    again demonstrating the influence of Cheney
  • Having spent the better part of a month trying
    to sort out the international and United Nations
    issues, which were still not settled, Bushs team
    only required one principals meeting to figure
    out the domestic politics. In the discussion,
    there was a lot of deference to Cheney, who had
    served in Congress and was president of the
    Senate. (p. 167 my emphasis.)

Chapter 16
  • Bush returns to White House on September 1,
    2002. Bush tells the principals that he wishes
    to go to the Congress to get their blessing. And
    again demonstrating the influence of Cheney
  • Having spent the better part of a month trying
    to sort out the international and United Nations
    issues, which were still not settled, Bushs team
    only required one principals meeting to figure
    out the domestic politics. In the discussion,
    there was a lot of deference to Cheney, who had
    served in Congress and was president of the
    Senate. (p. 167 my emphasis.)

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • http//
  • Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National
    Convention Remarks by the Vice President to the
    Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National
  • . . . .
  • We will continue working with VFW leaders and
    members on homeland security, drawing upon your
    experiences in military and civilian life. And we
    share common cause on the matter of servicemen
    whose fate is still undetermined. For all the
    uncertainties that remain, the basic issue is
    clear thousands of brave Americans, last seen
    doing their duty, remain unaccounted for. The
    nation remembers these men, and this government
    will persist in the effort to account for every
    last one of them. (Applause.)

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • As we meet all of these commitments, our
    administration is moving forward on an agenda to
    build a safe and prosperous future for the
    American people. We have laid the foundation for
    greater prosperity and opportunity with the most
    significant education reforms in 35 years, with
    free trade legislation to open up markets to
    American producers, with tough new laws to ensure
    corporate integrity and honest accounting, with
    spending discipline in Washington and with the
    largest federal tax reduction in twenty years.
    my emphasis

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • Much has happened since the attacks of 9/11.
    But as Secretary Rumsfeld has put it, we are
    still closer to the beginning of this war than we
    are to its end. The United States has entered a
    struggle of years -- a new kind of war against a
    new kind of enemy. The terrorists who struck
    America are ruthless, they are resourceful, and
    they hide in many countries. They came into our
    country to murder thousands of innocent men,
    women, and children. There is no doubt they wish
    to strike again, and that they are working to
    acquire the deadliest of all weapons. my

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • It is a certainty that the al Qaeda network is
    pursuing such weapons, and has succeeded in
    acquiring at least a crude capability to use
    them. We found evidence of their efforts in the
    ruins of al Qaeda hideouts in Afghanistan. And
    we've seen in recent days additional confirmation
    in videos recently shown on CNN -- pictures of al
    Qaeda members training to commit acts of terror,
    and testing chemical weapons on dogs. Those
    terrorists who remain at large are determined to
    use these capabilities against the United States
    and our friends and allies around the world.

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • The case of Saddam Hussein, a sworn enemy of
    our country, requires a candid appraisal of the
    facts. After his defeat in the Gulf War in 1991,
    Saddam agreed under to U.N. Security Council
    Resolution 687 to cease all development of
    weapons of mass destruction.

Cheneys VFW Speech
  • . . . .
  • Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam
    Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
    There is no doubt he is amassing them to use
    against our friends, against our allies, and
    against us. And there is no doubt that his
    aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into
    future confrontations with his neighborsconfronta
    tions that will involve both the weapons he has
    today, and the ones he will continue to develop
    with his oil wealth.

Chapter 16
  • Interesting description of the White House Iraq
    Coordination Meeting which would subsequently be
    called the White House Iraq Group (WHIG). It
    appears to have political advisers in addition to
    the national-security advisers of various kinds.
    It also demonstrates how active Andy Card was as
    an ad hoc NSC principal (see p.168 and 172 for
    example). All this leads, the next day (August 4,
    2002), to Bush having specific senators over to
    inform them of what the administration needed and
    so on.

Chapter 16
  • It seems pretty difficult for critics to claim
    ignorance given how much the administration
    openly told them. So Bush is being told, and
    directed by Cheney that said weapons are a
    certainty and that they cant stand. Bush is
    telling Woodward, in a contemporaneous interview,
    that its all about thwarting tyranny and freedom
    for downtrodden peoples, noticeable neglecting to
    cite weapons of mass destruction as rationale.
    Extraordinary influence from Cheney that is
    direct in some cases and indirect in others.
    With respect to the latter, Cheney essentially
    setting agenda thereby moving the bar so that
    previous positions (Powells coalition and UN)
    positions are rendered obsolete. And we now know
    that in order for Cheneys position to prevail as
    it did, no hint that Saddam did not have said
    weapons would have been a setback.

Chapter 16
  • Very intriguing bit of info on an apparent NSC
    meeting (presumably principals) in which Franks
    blurts out that he hasnt found a SCUD. The
    significance is that the intelligence was not
    functioning well if the intelligence was
    insufficient for Franks to find SCUDs, what else
    might the intelligence be wrong about? (See p
    173.) Later when Woodward reports the sources
    the CIA ran in the couple months before the war
    some of them are insiders. Why are they not
    probed about WMD? The die was cast, apparently.

Chapter 16
  • Thus, it is not completely surprising that Libby
    would attempt to smear Wilson the following year.
    Cheney and Libby seem to be fighting a
    rear-guard action not just against enemies from
    outside (the media, pundits, Republican stalwarts
    such as Scowcroft) but enemies within (Powell).
    This does not preclude Cheney and Libby truly
    believing that Saddam had WMD. The veep,
    inarguably the most powerful one in US history,
    sees the administration policy in zero-sum terms.
    If Powell and others position that the US
    should go slow, build coalitions, and so forth is
    winning, Cheneys position is by definition
    losing. The irony here is that Saddam amazingly
    plays into the neocons hand by encouraging the
    administration to believe Saddam has WMD as a
    deterrence strategy.

Chapter 16
  • Those who argue otherwise must be enemies,
    whether they work for the same US government or
  • A Camp David meeting where Powell and Cheney
    keep going at each other. The issue was another
    UN resolutionand there would come one more
    subsequently that Cheney argued against but Bush
    okayed to protect Tony Blair.

Chapter 16
  • Powell detected a kind of fever in Cheney. He
    was not the steady, unemotional rock that
    Powell had witnessed a dozen years earlier
    during the run-up to the Gulf War. The vice
    president was beyond hell bent for action against
    Saddam. It was as if nothing else existed (173).

Chapter 16
  • Woodward describes their bickering as follows.
    The conversation exploded into a tough debate
    between the two men, who danced on the edge of
    civility but did not depart the formal deference
    they generally showed each other. It was sharp
    and biting, however, and they both knew how to
    score debating points as they pulled apart the
    last fraying threads of what had connected them
    for so many years. Powell appeared to harbored a
    deep-seated anger even though he won the debate.
    (175.) On the next page it continues with Powell
    be confounded by Cheney and their relationship.
    Ultimately Bush sided with Powell but it was for
    Tony Blair rather than Powell (178).

Chapter 18
  • Interesting discussion of former Senator Bob
    Grahams prescience on the Iraq war (192-93).
    Again Cheney comes up in an unusual way. Graham
    had not talked to Bush but apparently had with
    Cheney? Graham notices how facile Cheney is when
    he conflates WMD and Iraq (which they used to
    great success ultimately to get congress and
    Americans to go along with the Iraq invasion and,
    of course, became the game the used in 2004 for
    the presidents re-election bud). Graham
    asserted that the Bush administration, or at
    least Cheney, had changed the definition of the
    war on terrorism (193), something in which
    Senator Graham truly believed and supported
    fully. Woodward then goes on for several pages
    about the NIE produced under pressure and
    misconstrued. We will revisit with Tenet since he
    was there. That NIE, which was subsequently
    hyped, according to Woodward, resulted in the
    Congressional vote to authorize all force
    necessary to protect the U.S. (203.) It was the
    classic bums rush.

Chapter 19
  • Rumsfeld again and how he browbeat the uniformed
    military into submission. My own view is he did
    abuse them but they should have been prepared to
    standup to him and his Gestapo as others called
    them Libby, Feith in particular, Wolfowitz,
    Cambone, et al. When Rumsfeld allowed the chiefs
    to meet with the presidentclearly counter to
    the1986 Goldwater-Nichols Acthe had his Cheney
    in the room, presumably to further intimidate
    them. Rumsfeld wanted the ciefs to meet only
    with the president, without General Franks the
    combatant commader. Wolfowitz, Hadley, and
    Libby were also excluded, though Cheney, Rice,
    and Card attended (207).

Chapter 19
  • The chapter then segues into what CIA and
    special forces were doing some of which is quite
    interesting and well devised (give credit to
    Tenet mostly). One thing sort of bothersome for
    me was when they began buying all manner of
    sources with knowledge of inner circles, why did
    no one probe about WMD? (See 212, last full
    paragraph.) The CIA operative realized that if
    50 of what they were getting was bullshit they
    still had a goldmine. This would have been a
    good time to return to question their assumptions
    about WMD. Indeed, even before this point they
    had a source, it turned out, who was inside
    Saddams inner circle and he had told them
    earlier Saddams WMD were a feint! Instead, they
    listened to Curveball!

Chapter 20
  • All about the NSA and a good chapter to read to
    help students understand the debate ongoing over
    Bushs TSPs one is the NSA warrant-less wire
    taps of Americans in America if/when
    communicating to jihadis the second one that may
    or may not have happened is data mining. General
    Hayden who is still a general has been the
    director of the CIA ever since Negroponte moved
    him there from Negropontes first deputy DNI.
    Discuss the TSPs.
  • Chapter 21 . . .

Chapter 22
  • More discussions about inspection (Blix and
    ElBaradei). It turns out they were right as the
    Iraqi Survey Group then the Robb-Silberman WMD
    report discovered but Cheney loathed them and
    feared getting trapped in the morass of the UN
    when action was needed ASAP in his view.

Chapter 22
  • In his ongoing role as self-appointed special
    examiner of worst-case scenarios, Cheney has
    spent a substantial amount of time since 9/11
    looking at the potential biological weapon threat
    sic to the United States and to U.S. troop
    overseas (237). Note again Cheneys special
    role. In this case, I think it was important that
    someone do that precise thingwhether is should
    have been Cheney or not is arguable given the
    results. The chapter again is presenting why
    the veeps office and others distrusted Blix.
    They ultimately spied on him intensively! It
    happens but once it leaked out later it was
    embarrassing and may hurt the US in future cases
    where the U.S. feints working with U.S.

Chapter 22
  • On other hand, everybody at the UN spies on
    everybody else and Blix and others surely knew
    they were being tapped and taped. While Woodward
    isnt specific, it becomes pretty clear phone
    taps and other methods were used more
    interestingly, clearly, a good number of NSA
    resources were directed at Blix. The
    intelligence indicated that Blix was not
    reporting everything and not doing all the things
    he maintained he was doing. Some of the
    principals believed that Blix was a liar. In any
    case it looked like the inspections effort was
    not sufficiently aggressive, would take months
    or longer and was likely doomed to fail (240).
    We know from subsequent newspaper and Woodwards
    State of Denial that some of the principals
    referred to Libby, Cheney, and below them Feith,
    Addington, neoconservatives outside the admin.

Chapter 22
  • The now infamous slam dunk debacle comes up
    later in the chapter but its fully covered in
    Tenet and you will form your own opinions after
    reading bothnot especially germane to this
    course though an important moment.
  • Its important what actually happened but I
    suspect it wont be fully understood for years to
    come. Bush, Cheney, Rice, and possibly others
    will likely write memoirs. At some point the
    weight of evidence will point one way or the

Chapter 22
  • Next is the rather surreal situation wherein
    president Bush made the decision to invade and
    how he didnt actually ask NSC principals their
    views. In fact, as Woodward relates later,
    Powell was told a day after Prince Bandar was
    given the word and highly classified maps and
    plans. Its just plain weird and tells us
    something about Bush though Im still not sure
    what precisely at least when others are around
    Bush never revisited decisions once made and . .
    . ? Other than Rice, Bush said he didnt need to
    ask the principals whether they thought he should
    go to war. He knew what Cheney thought, and he
    decided not to ask Powell or Rumsfeld (251 my

Chapter 24
  • Bushs rubicon moment (258-260).

Chapter 25
  • Cheneys view of how Bush made decisions and his
    admiration of it. And why not, there exist at
    least circumstantial evidence that Bush channeled
    Cheney. (262-263). On Saturday, Jan. 11, Cheney
    invited Prince Bandar Saudi ambassador to his
    West Wing office. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B.
    Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
    were also there. Sitting on the edge of the
    table in Cheney's office, Myers took out a large
    map labeled TOP SECRET NOFORN. The NOFORN meant
    NO FOREIGN -- classified material not to be seen
    by any foreign nation. (264.) Later You can
    count on this," Rumsfeld said, pointing to the
    map. You can take that to the bank. This is
    going to happen. (265.)

Chapter 25
  • This is where again Cheney acts quite counter to
    role expectations and demonstrates Cheneys
    unique role. Cheney, who had been quiet as
    usual, replied, "Prince Bandar, once we start,
    Saddam is toast. Its just plain weird that
    Cheney, while showing a foreign national (whether
    friend or not) highly classified plans and maps.
    Then speaking out of turn, effectively speaking
    for Bush!

Chapter 25
  • Even stranger, Bandar says he must hear this
    from Bush himself before he can tell his leader
    that its for all the marblesSaddam will not be
    allowed to survive no matter what. Cheney
    doesnt seem too bothered that Bandar has just
    told Cheney that the Saudis that they wont take
    Cheneys word for it but only the presidents.

Chapter 25
  • Even stranger, Bandar says he must hear this
    from Bush himself before he can tell his leader
    that its for all the marblesSaddam will not be
    allowed to survive no matter what. Cheney
    doesnt seem too bothered that Bandar has just
    told Cheney that the Saudis that they wont take
    Cheneys word for it but only the presidents.
  • The Bush didnt need Powells permission comment
    at very end of chapter. Again, I think this says
    something about Bush but dont know what for
    certain. Bush seems almost peevish.

Chapter 26
  • Feith was not popular with uniformed military
    Franks tried to ignore Feith but it was not
    easy. The general confided to several colleagues
    about Feith I have to deal with the fucking
    stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost
    every day (281). The Office of Recostruction and
    Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) and why it should
    have never been a DOD entity. (283.) The Future
    of Iraq study and how Powell tried to plant his
    experts inside but was rebuffed by Rumsfeld (read
    Cheney)also discussed in Tenet. (Ibid
    especially Cheneys thinking that too many State
    Department people on the group on 284.)

Chapter 27
  • Powells view that Cheney had the fever. Powell
    detected a kind of fever in Cheney. He was not
    the steady, unemotional rock that he had
    witnessed a dozen years earlier during the run-up
    to the Gulf War. The vice president was beyond
    hell-bent for action against Hussein. It was as
    if nothing else existed. Powell attempted to
    summarize the consequences of unilateral action,
    an argument he felt he had down pretty well. He
    added a new dimension, saying that the
    international reaction would be so negative that
    he would have to close U.S. embassies around the
    world if we went to war alone (292 and 292-294).

Chapter 28
  • Blairs desire for another UN resolution and
    Bushs loyalty to Blair. (297.) NSC staffer and
    liaison with DODfiefdoms (321).
    Communications between the civilian and military
    sides of the Defense Department are
    catastrophically broken. . . With personal
    contacts in the Pentagon among the three- and
    four-star generals and admirals, he realized that
    the Joint Staff was afraid of Rumsfeld and Feith
    and did not want to be seen as meddling with
    Franks war plan! (322.) Feiths briefing with
    cherry-picked intelligence to the president and
    the NSC. (328.) Oddly, Ken Adelman a key
    neoconservative, the same person who wrote the
    oped piece Cake Walk in the Wall Street
    Journal, who wrote another titled Give Saddam
    Hussein A Last, Last, Last, Last Chance. (333.)
    Adleman, Perle, and Gingrich as outside-channel

Chapter 31
  • The early seeds of CPA authority Jerry Paul
    Bremers horrendous decisions to a)
    de-baathification far-too deeply and b) his
    edict to dissolve the Iraqi Military putting tens
    of thousands of Iraqis out of work during 2004
    after Bremer (sponsored by Cheney, Libby, et al.)
    nudged Jay Garner aside. (343.) In retrospect,
    these two decision may have been the two most
    important after the actual decision to invade!

Chapter 35
  • More bureaucratic turf battles over leaks and
    the CNN effects and how to role out deployment
    while keeping surprise on US side. (389-391.)
    President Bushs solo meeting with Cheney,
    demonstrating once more Cheneys preternatural
    influence over Bush. (391-392.)

  • Vice President Cheney phoned Adelman, who was in
    Paris with his wife, Carol. What a clever column,
    the vice president said. You really demolished
    them. He said he and his wife, Lynne, were having
    a small private dinner Sunday night, April 13, to
    talk and celebrate. The only other guests would
    be his chief adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
    and Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary of defense.
    Adelman realized it was Cheney's way of saying
    thank you, and he and his wife came back from
    Paris a day early to attend the dinner.

  • When Adelman walked into the vice president's
    residence that Sunday night, he was so happy he
    broke into tears. He hugged Cheney for the first
    time in the 30 years he had known him. There had
    been reports in recent days of mass graves and
    abundant, graphic evidence of torture by Saddam
    Hussein's government, so there was a feeling that
    they had been part of a greater good, liberating
    25 million people.
  • We're all together. There should be no
    protocol let's just talk, Cheney said when they
    sat down to dinner.

  • Hold it! Hold it! Adelman interjected. Let's
    talk about this Gulf war. It's so wonderful to
    celebrate. He said he was just an outside
    adviser, someone who turned up the pressure in
    the public forum. It's so easy for me to write
    an article saying, 'Do this.' It's much tougher
    for Paul to advocate it. Paul and Scooter, you
    give advice inside and the president listens.
    Dick, your advice is the most important, the
    Cadillac. It's much more serious for you to
    advocate it. But in the end, all of what we said
    was still only advice. The president is the one
    who had to decide. I have been blown away by how
    determined he is. The war has been awesome,
    Adelman said. So I just want to make a toast,
    without getting too cheesy. To the president of
    the United States. Stunning!

  • They all raised their glasses. Hear! Hear!
  • Adelman said he had worried to death that there
    would be no war as time went on and support
    seemed to wane.
  • After Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said, the president
    understood what had to be done. He BUSH had to
    do Afghanistan first, sequence the attacks, but
    after Afghanistan"soon thereafter" -- the
    president knew he had to do Iraq. Cheney said he
    was confident after Sept. 11 that it would come
    out okay.

  • They all raised their glasses. Hear! Hear!
  • Adelman said he had worried to death that there
    would be no war as time went on and support
    seemed to wane.
  • After Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said, the president
    understood what had to be done. He BUSH had to
    do Afghanistan first, sequence the attacks, but
    after Afghanistan"soon thereafter" -- the
    president knew he had to do Iraq. Cheney said he
    was confident after Sept. 11 that it would come
    out okay.

  • Adelman said it was still a gutsy move. When
    John F. Kennedy was elected by the narrowest of
    margins, Adelman said, he told everyone in his
    administration that the big agenda items such as
    civil rights would have to wait for a second
    term. Certainly it was the opposite for Bush.
  • Yes, Cheney said. And it began the first minutes
    of the presidency, when Bush said they were going
    to go full steam ahead. There is such a tendency,
    Cheney said, to hold back when there is a close
    election, to do what the New York Times and other
    pundits suggest and predict. "This guy was just
    totally different," Cheney said. "He just decided
    here's what I want to do, and I'm going to do it.
    He's very directed. He's very focused."

  • "I want you three guys to shut up," Lynne Cheney
    said, pointing at Cheney, Wolfowitz and Adelman.
    "Let's hear what Scooter thinks."
  • Libby, smiling, just said he thought what had
    happened was wonderful.

  • It was a pretty amazing accomplishment, they all
    agreed, particularly given the opposition to war.
    Here was Scowcroft, the pillar of establishment
    foreign policy, vocally on the other side, widely
    seen as a surrogate for the president's father.
    There had been James A. Baker III, the former
    secretary of state, insisting on a larger
    coalition of nations. And Lawrence Eagleburger,
    Baker's successor in the last half year of the
    first Bush administration, on television all the
    time saying war was justified only if there was
    evidence that Hussein was about to attack us.
    Eagleburger had accused Cheney of "chest
    thumping. Again, peevish.

  • They turned to the current secretary of state,
    Colin L. Powell, and there were chuckles around
    the table.
  • Cheney and Wolfowitz remarked that Powell was
    someone who followed his poll ratings and bragged
    about his popularity. Several weeks earlier in a
    National Public Radio interview, Powell had said,
    "If you would consult any recent Gallup poll, the
    American people seem to be quite sa