Friday, April 16, 2004

Plan of Attack: The Beginning of Something Big?

It looks as though Bob Woodward's new book is going to have all kinds of interesting revelations:

WASHINGTON, April 16 — Two months before the invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned President Bush about the potential negative consequences of a war, citing what Mr. Powell privately called the "you break it, you own it" rule of military action, according to a new book.

"You're sure?" Mr. Powell is quoted as asking Mr. Bush in the Oval Office on Jan. 13, 2003, as the president told him he had made the decision to go forward. "You understand the consequences," he is said to have stated in a half-question. "You know you're going to be owning this place?"


Mr. Powell is described as having clashed in particular with Vice President Dick Cheney, whom Mr. Woodward describes as a "powerful, steamrolling force" advocating the war who was preoccupied with reports of links between Saddam Hussein and the Qaeda terrorist network. Mr. Powell regarded Mr. Cheney's intense focus on Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda as a "fever," the book says, and he believed that the vice president misread and exaggerated intelligence about the Iraq threat and supposed terrorist ties.

Mr. Woodward's account quickly provoked speculation in Washington that Mr. Powell might have cooperated with Mr. Woodward as the book was being prepared in an effort to distance himself from the Iraq war.

It looks like Colin Powell has a chance to do the right thing. Will he follow through?

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