New Woodward Book Scathing Look at White House | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

New Woodward Book Scathing Look at White House

The Washington Post reports that Bob Woodward's new book is roiling an embattled Bush administration:

New revelations that White House aides tried twice in the past two years to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fueled a caustic election-season debate yesterday over the president's wartime leadership and underscored divisions within his administration.

The latest book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, "State of Denial," paints a portrait of an administration riven by personal and policy disagreements exacerbated by a deteriorating situation in Iraq that has grown even worse than Bush admits to the public. In Woodward's account, Bush has become increasingly isolated as his team has rejected advice to shift gears in Iraq before it is too late.

The White House tried yesterday to dismiss the significance of Woodward's assertions, while Democrats eagerly seized on the book to bolster their campaign attacks five weeks before midterm elections. Coming days after the partial release of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that the Iraq conflict has spread the "global jihadist movement," the latest disclosures kept the focus on the missteps and consequences of an unpopular war.

The book reports that then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. twice suggested that Bush fire Rumsfeld and replace him with former secretary of state James A. Baker III, first after the November 2004 election and again around Thanksgiving 2005. Card had the support of then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, as well as national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and senior White House adviser Michael J. Gerson, according to the book.

Even first lady Laura Bush reportedly told Card that she agreed Rumsfeld had become a liability for her husband, although she noted that the president did not agree. "I don't know why he's not upset with this," she told Card, according to the book. But Vice President Cheney and senior Bush adviser Karl Rove argued against dumping Rumsfeld, and Bush agreed.

The book details how Rumsfeld alienated key figures throughout the government and military: Rice complained that Rumsfeld would not return her telephone calls, forcing Bush to personally intervene. Rumsfeld rebuffed Card when he conveyed Bush's order to send National Guard troops to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina until hearing from the president himself. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the senior U.S. commander in the Middle East, concluded that "Rumsfeld doesn't have any credibility anymore."

It also reports on ultimately futile attempts by civilian officials to persuade the Bush team to send more troops to Iraq and outlines secret government findings about escalating attacks on U.S. troops and dire forecasts about the war worsening over the next year rather than improving. [...]

New revelations that White House aides tried twice in the past two years to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fueled a caustic election-season debate yesterday over the president's wartime leadership and underscored divisions within his administration.

The latest book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, "State of Denial," paints a portrait of an administration riven by personal and policy disagreements exacerbated by a deteriorating situation in Iraq that has grown even worse than Bush admits to the public. In Woodward's account, Bush has become increasingly isolated as his team has rejected advice to shift gears in Iraq before it is too late.

The White House tried yesterday to dismiss the significance of Woodward's assertions, while Democrats eagerly seized on the book to bolster their campaign attacks five weeks before midterm elections. Coming days after the partial release of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that the Iraq conflict has spread the "global jihadist movement," the latest disclosures kept the focus on the missteps and consequences of an unpopular war.

The book reports that then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. twice suggested that Bush fire Rumsfeld and replace him with former secretary of state James A. Baker III, first after the November 2004 election and again around Thanksgiving 2005. Card had the support of then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, as well as national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and senior White House adviser Michael J. Gerson, according to the book.

Even first lady Laura Bush reportedly told Card that she agreed Rumsfeld had become a liability for her husband, although she noted that the president did not agree. "I don't know why he's not upset with this," she told Card, according to the book. But Vice President Cheney and senior Bush adviser Karl Rove argued against dumping Rumsfeld, and Bush agreed.

The book details how Rumsfeld alienated key figures throughout the government and military: Rice complained that Rumsfeld would not return her telephone calls, forcing Bush to personally intervene. Rumsfeld rebuffed Card when he conveyed Bush's order to send National Guard troops to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina until hearing from the president himself. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the senior U.S. commander in the Middle East, concluded that "Rumsfeld doesn't have any credibility anymore."

It also reports on ultimately futile attempts by civilian officials to persuade the Bush team to send more troops to Iraq and outlines secret government findings about escalating attacks on U.S. troops and dire forecasts about the war worsening over the next year rather than improving.

Previous Comments

ID
107730
Comment

Read excerpts from "State of Denial" here

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-09-30T18:16:57-06:00
ID
107731
Comment

Wow, what we already know not long before an election! Hardly a question about timing there, huh?

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-09-30T19:37:54-06:00
ID
107732
Comment

The only thing I will say is, why did this take so damn long? And it needs to come out before the fall elections; people need more information, not less. They've had that for too long. The "timing" excuse is weak, and is yet another example of killing the messenger, instead of focusing on the message. Condi Rice responds. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she cannot recall then-CIA chief George Tenet warning her of an impending al-Qaida attack in the United States, as a new book claims he did two months before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. "What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible," Rice said. Rice was President Bush's national security adviser in 2001, when Bob Woodward's book "State of Denial" outlines a July 10 meeting among Rice, Tenet and the CIA's top counterterror officer. "I don't know that this meeting took place, but what I really don't know, what I'm quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told there was an impending attack and I refused to respond," Rice said.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-02T10:31:47-06:00
ID
107733
Comment

I'm in wait and see mode on this meeting with Rice, Tenet, and Black. It's interesting that The 9/11 Commission spent hours interviewing Rice, Tenet and Black but never heard a meeting described in the dramatic terms Woodward uses, former staff members say. "This is certainly something we would have wanted to know about," 9/11 commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste tells the Times. "We asked broad questions which should have elicited this information." I could argue either way, that Woodward is "mis-remembering" or that Rice et al are "mis-remembering". However, given the track record of this administration, I know which way I'm leaning, as to who's telling the truth. And Rice may not remember the meeting, but there's no denying that August memo, "Bin Laden determined to attack", or whatever the exact title was.

Author
kate
Date
2006-10-02T10:42:27-06:00
ID
107734
Comment

And what's up with Foley from Florida? I don't deplete or castigate him for being gay (if that's what he is) but I have a problem with him ironically writing or sponsoring legislation to punish or curtail this kind of reprehensible behavior with children then participating or attempting to participate in. What a phony???!!! I tell you this administration is more deceitful, depraved, dangerous, and corrupt than Caesar's Rome. They shall soon learn MIGHT is not the only armour you need to peacefully prevail and co-exist.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-10-02T10:50:07-06:00
ID
107735
Comment

"I don't know that this meeting took place, but what I really don't know, what I'm quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told there was an impending attack and I refused to respond," Rice said. A guess: Maybe that's a semantic trick, and while she didn't actively refuse, she just didn't give a damn and didn't do anything about the information? Otherwise, why did what happened two months later happen? We already know about the infamous early-August PDB, so.... "This is certainly something we would have wanted to know about," 9/11 commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste tells the Times. "We asked broad questions which should have elicited this information." Maybe the questions were TOO broad, and allowed lots of wiggle-room? I could argue either way, that Woodward is "mis-remembering" or that Rice et al are "mis-remembering". Since Woodward wasn't at the meeting in question, he can't be "mis-remembering." He'd have to either be lying, or relying on unreliable sources. However, given the track record of this administration, I know which way I'm leaning, as to who's telling the truth. Amen, sister. And Rice may not remember the meeting, but there's no denying that August memo, "Bin Laden determined to attack", or whatever the exact title was. Juicier than that: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside U.S." :-P Worth ignoring, wouldn't you say? Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-10-02T10:50:57-06:00
ID
107736
Comment

And what's up with Foley from Florida? I don't deplete or castigate him for being gay (if that's what he is) but I have a problem with him ironically writing or sponsoring legislation to punish or curtail this kind of reprehensible behavior with children then participating or attempting to participate in. What a phony???!!! I tell you this administration is more deceitful, depraved, dangerous, and corrupt than Caesar's Rome. They shall soon learn MIGHT is not the only armour you need to peacefully prevail and co-exist. Being gay and being a pedophile are two different things. (I say this only because we gay men have long been tarred with the "pedophile" brush, completely wrongly; I'm fairly confident you know the difference, Ray.) As for the rest of your post: Amen and well put! Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-10-02T10:52:43-06:00
ID
107737
Comment

They're definitely having a bad month—between the revelations about their so-called "war on terror," and the foot-dragging on this. Let's see: The current GOP's big claims to fame: international prowess, morality, small government and individual rights. Uh, huh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-02T11:00:03-06:00
ID
107738
Comment

I agree with you, Tim. But, I did make the point above that you would think the Party That Despises Homosexuals might have at least made a move long ago based on those, er, beliefs. Also, I hear that Hastert's big defense today is that members of the national media had seen some of the disgusting exchanges between Foley and the children last fall. If so, they should be tarred and feathered for not reporting it sooner. But could someone please tell me how that in any way lets the GOP leadership off the hook!?! They really think Americans are idiots. That, ultimately, will be their undoing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-02T11:04:46-06:00
ID
107739
Comment

Your comment is well taken Tim. I certainly know the difference and tried to show the distinction although I might have done so poorly.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-10-02T11:34:51-06:00
ID
107740
Comment

I hate saying this but I think the CIA has gotten to the point that we can't believe them on almost anything right now. Same CIA that said Saddam had WMD's now says oh, we warned them about AQ. One of Bush's problems is NOT firing peole after 9/11, Tenet, FBI, and other people.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-02T12:12:21-06:00

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