Push Back on Woodward's Book Starts
Reminder: Bob Woodward on 60 Minutes tonight.
Condoleeza Rice has been appointed the frontline spokesperson to deny allegations in Bob Woodward's new book. As Steve noted the other day, Woodward reported that relations between Cheney and Powell were so bad that they are barely on speaking terms. Not so, says Condi.
"I can tell you, I've had lunch on a number of occasions with Vice President Cheney and with Colin Powell, and they're more than on speaking terms," Ms. Rice said on Fox News Sunday. "They're very friendly."
She also denied that Bush decided to go to war in December 2002 rather than as he reported, March 2003. And that it was a lie that Prince Bandar knew Bush's decision before Colin Powell did.
According to Woodward, Bush was reluctant to go to war, and finally decided he had to do it after discussing it with his NSA, Ms. Rice.
"You have to follow through on your threat," Rice said. "If you're going to carry out coercive diplomacy, you have to live with that decision."
"He's getting more confident, not less," Bush said of Hussein. "He can manipulate the international system again. We're not winning.
"Time is not on our side here," Bush told Rice. "Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war."
In Rice's mind, this was the moment the president decided the United States would go to war with Iraq. Military planning had been underway for more than a year even as Bush sought a diplomatic solution through the United Nations. He would continue those efforts, at least publicly, for 10 more weeks, but he had reached a point of no return.
Reading the Woodward excerpt in the WaPo today, it seems to me that it was written to be very deferential to Bush's sensibilities. He goes out of his way to reinforce Bush's reluctance about having to go to war and repeats Bush's justifications that he felt like he was doing God's work. Bush might want to delude himself, but there is no excuse for others to buy this crap. Too many sources show that Bush made his decision to go to war against Iraq long before December 2002 and would have done so no matter what because this was what he wanted to do and no one was going to tell him anything different. Remember, this is the guy who before he announced that he had started the war pumped his fist and said, Feels good. This is also the man who when things started to get dicey in Iraq, taunted the Iraqis to bring 'em on. And the man who mocked Carla Faye Tucker after having presided over her execution. This is not a man who cares much beyond the fact that others treat him like he is the most important person in the world him as befits one who commands the world's strongest military. Afterall, Rove and Cheney keep telling him he is a strong and bold leader.