Woodward writes that there was a vast difference between what the White House and Pentagon had known about the situation in Iraq and what they were saying publicly. In memos, reports and internal debates administration officials have voiced their concern about the conduct of the war, even while Bush and cabinet members such as Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have insisted that the war was going well.The New York Times is also running an article about the book. I love this paragraph:
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is described as disengaged from the nuts-and-bolts of occupying and reconstructing Iraq — a task that was initially supposed to be under the direction of the Pentagon — and so hostile toward Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, that President Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls. The American commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, is reported to have told visitors to his headquarters in Qatar in the fall of 2005 that “Rumsfeld doesn’t have any credibility anymore” to make a public case for the American strategy for victory in Iraq.Can't you just picture it: Dr. Rice frustrated that Secretary Rumsfeld will not return his calls and complaining to the President. I love it; avoidance to the nth degree.
I'm also very interested in the notion of the President receiving counsel from those around him. I wonder what things would be like had he not surrounded himself with the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rove but rather Powell, Card, and McCain.
Switching subjects slightly: The New York Times evidently scooped the Washington Post on publishing details of Woodward's book. Yes, Woodward works for the Post, but the Times somehow got their hands on a copy of the book. See this article in Editor & Publisher.