Internal Damage From Woodward's Book Emerges
Check out this eye-opener in tomorrow's New York Times over the disintegrating relationships inside the cabinet as a result of the Woodward book.
"Look, a lot of people have been struck by the degree to which Secretary Powell is using this book as an opportunity — to be fair — to clarify his position on the issues," said an official. "But what this book does is muddy the water internally, which is very unfortunate and unhelpful."
Another official, who like others declined to be identified because of the political sensitivity of their criticism, accused Mr. Powell of having a habit of distancing himself from policies when they go wrong. "It's such a soap opera with him," this official said.
But Powell's camp is taking the gloves off in response:
People close to Mr. Powell said Sunday that they had no doubt he would weather any criticism from within over his apparent cooperation with Mr. Woodward, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post. Polls show that he is one of the most popular and best-known figures in government. The people close to him note that most people following the situation closely knew that he had misgivings about the war.
"Is the secretary going to be undercut for having been right?" asked an official close to Mr. Powell. "I don't think so. Undercut compared to who? Donald Rumsfeld? Dick Cheney? These are people who have some real problems right now. They're not reading Bob Woodward's book. They're reading the dispatches from the field."
"I don't think there will be much change in his dealings with Cheney and Rumsfeld," said one person close to Mr. Powell. "People already thought it was this bad. It doesn't change things for them to find out that it really was. They know how to deal with each other, and they've been through quite a bit together."
"The day-to-day nattering of the Defense Department trying to take over the business of diplomacy at every level, it's just difficult to be on the inside," said an administration official who defends Mr. Powell's actions. "Every day is difficult. The byplay at the meetings is difficult."
What a wonderful place W and Andy Card have created, huh? Is it any wonder they have screwed up foreign policy so much when the participants can barely stand each other?