The 537-page book describes tensions among senior officials from the very beginning of the administration. Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Mr. Rumsfeld questioned the electronic signals from terrorism suspects that the National Security Agency had been intercepting, wondering whether they might be part of an elaborate deception plan by Al Qaeda.
On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack. But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously.
The main content of the book, however, focuses on the confusion and dissention within the Bush Administration regarding Iraq -- whether to attack, how to wage the war, how to characterize the resistance, how to win the war.
As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”
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.
The question is when this president is going to accept responsibility for getting us into this war -- and responsibility for getting us out. "Stay the course" until he can pass off the problem to the next president is not a winning strategy.
"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.
This coming from the former National Security Advisor who pushed aside Richard Clarke, the in-house expert on al-Qaeda. This coming from the White House staffer who pretty much ignored the presidential briefing memo about Osama bin Laden's plans to strike within the U.S. This coming from a key player in the Bush Administration, which fought against even having a 9/11 Commission look into 9/11. They didn't want anyone looking into it.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.
She also whines about analyses by our own U.S. intelligence agencies that what the Bush Administration is doing is making things worse.
Transitioning to the global war on terror, an animated Rice questioned, "When are we going to stop blaming ourselves for the rise of terrorism?"
This is the perspective problem the entire Bush Administration seems to have: More concern about criticism of them, more concern about the political prospects of the GOP, more concern about spinning themselves into hero status, than any concern in actually doing something effective or at least making sure they're not just making things worse.
When, Condi? When you stop being a major cause of the rise of terrorism.
Asked about recently leaked internal U.S. intelligence estimates that claimed the Iraq war was fueling terrorist recruiting, Rice said: "Now that we're fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too."
"I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they're using the fact they're being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you've made the war on terrorism worse.
"It's as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren't," she added.
Except, Condi, that the terrorists weren't even in Iraq until you and Bush invaded there. The terrorists were in Afghanistan.
Remember Afghanistan? That's the place where Osama has been, by many accounts, all this time. That's where al-Qaeda planned 9/11. That's where the Taliban government sheltered these terrorists.
We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.
You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.
You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.
And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.
And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:
Are yours the actions of a true American?
Here are some relevant videos via YouTube:
Clinton refuses to roll over for Chris Wallace on Fox
Olbermann on Clinton, and the Bush Administration's passing the buck
We've talked about the Rice factor in our current presidential politics, and whether Americans would vote for any woman. I'm still not convinced that she wouldn't be the #1 choice to replace a retiring Dick Cheney (which, I admit, is not a likely scenario since he's W's impeachment insurance, and if he were going to retire, it would have been after his drinking dead-eye shooting accident), but the pressure apparently is increasing for her to run in her own right (which raises the question of whether her "right" is the same as the wingnutty neo-fascist-Christianist right that seems to be calling the shots in Washington these days).
A disparate group of Internet gurus, political junkies and foes of Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is pushing a Rice candidacy even though President Bush's top diplomat has said repeatedly that she has no desire to be president.
But the Republican also has declined invitations to rule out a bid in 2008, spoken about the likelihood of a minority winning the White House in her lifetime and taken steps to soften her image words and deeds that have provided a glimmer of hope to her fans.I happened to see this on Ann Althouse's site. She says, "Run, Condi!"
I wanted to comment there, but apparently she's set her blog to receive comments from Blogspot users only (and I feel it's rather pointless to post using an account that has lain dormant for coming up on two years now), so I'll just say here....
I cannot think of a more underwhelming choice than between Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton -- especially for what would be the first woman president of the United States. Condi's confirmation hearings for Secretary of State made me want to scream, while every time Hillary opens her mouth I have to consider getting some bicarbonate. I don't trust either of them.
I can think of more appealing possible candidates on either side, even women. (Egad! Is it possible?) Can we talk Christie Whitman? Barbara Boxer? They've bucked their party lines and took stands on important issues (the environment and torture, respectively), and that tells me that they know what they believe and buys a lot more of my respect than the prevarications of convenience offered by Rice and Clinton.
Yes, I suppose we have to expect that all politicians lie. But I'm not inclined to support a candidate just because she's well entrenched in her party machine. Just the opposite, in fact.
Then again, when I look at the likely alternatives.... No wonder so many people just don't vote.
President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitor private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003 to determine how foreign delegates would vote on a U.N. resolution that paved the way for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NSA documents show.
Two former NSA officials familiar with the agency's campaign to spy on U.N. members say then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the plan at the request of President Bush, who wanted to know how delegates were going to vote. Rice did not immediately return a call for comment.File this under "Waddayagonnadoabowdit!"
News of the NSA spying on the U.N. received scant coverage in U.S. newspapers at the time. But with the explosive domestic spying report published in the New York Times last week, a closer examination of pre-war spying may shed light on whether the Bush administration has used the NSA for its own political purposes, as opposed to tracking down communications regarding potential terrorist threats against the U.S.I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that Bush is using his governmental power for his own political gain!
The source added that U.S. spying on the U.N. isn't new.
"It's part of the job," the intelligence source said. "Everyone knows it's being done."
Eavesdropping on U.N. diplomats is authorized under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Services Act. However, it's still considered a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which says that "The receiving state shall permit and protect free communication on the part of the mission for all official purposes... The official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable."
According to one former official, "The administration pushed the envelope by tapping their home phones."Well, they won the election, didn't they? That puts them above the law, doesn't it? That's what the right wing keeps trying to tell us.
She did not confirm the existence of the prisons, saying "we cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement and military operations." She added that "some governments choose to cooperate with the U.S." in intelligence and law enforcement matters" and that that cooperation is a "two-way street."
The U.S., she said, has shared intelligence that has "stopped terrorist attacks and saved innocent lives, in Europe as well as in the U.S. and other countries."
Rice broadly defended the practice known as rendition, in which terror suspects are whisked away from countries without formal extradition. She said rendition was recognized by international law and has been used by many countries even before the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Rice asserted that the U.S. does not transport terrorism suspects "for the purpose of interrogation using torture" and "will not transport anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured."
Then why take him there? Why use these secret camps? Because they're "terrorists" like Carlos the Jackal and Ramzi Youssef. (Good style points there: Name two notorious terrorists to justify the secret interrogation of thousands of people. All these "suspects" are guilty of being suspects, so who needs due process?)
Any violation of detention standards is investigated and punished, she said, citing the case of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison that "sickened us all" and the abuse of detainee by an intelligence agency contractor in Afghanistan.If that's a plea for credulity, it's a pretty weak attempt, considering that no officers, let alone policy makers, have been charged in any of these outrages.
After weeks of being pummeled in the European media over reports about clandestine prisoner transfers and secret detention centers, administration officials have concluded that they need to put European governments on notice that they should back off and begin to emphasize the benefits of intelligence cooperation to their citizens.Because it's so inconvenient when people actually demand accountability from the Bush Administration.
Rice pays lip service to the Constitution:
The United States is a country of laws. My colleagues and I have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We believe in the rule of law....Hence the radical right's efforts to "reshape" the Supreme Court.