Bush Began to Plan War Three Months After 9/11
According to "Plan of Attack," Bush asked Rice and his longtime communications adviser, Karen Hughes, whether he should attack Iraq, but he did not specifically ask Powell or Rumsfeld. "I could tell what they thought," the president said. "I didn't need to ask their opinion about Saddam Hussein or how to deal with Saddam Hussein. If you were sitting where I sit, you could be pretty clear."
Rumsfeld, whom Woodward interviewed for three hours, is portrayed in the book as a "defense technocrat" intimately involved with details of the war planning but not focused on the need to attack Iraq in the same way that Cheney and some of Rumsfeld's subordinates such as Wolfowitz and Feith were.
Bush told Powell of his decision in a brief meeting in the White House. Evidently concerned about Powell's reaction, he said, "Are you with me on this? I think I have to do this. I want you with me."
"I'll do the best I can," Powell answered. "Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President."
Bush said he did not remember asking the question of his father, former president George H.W. Bush, who fought Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But, he added that the two had discussed developments in Iraq.
"You know he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to," Bush said.
Describing what the 41st president said to him about Iraq, the 43rd president told Woodward:
"It was less 'Here's how you have to take care of the guy [Hussein]' and more 'I've been through what you've been through and I know what's happening and therefore I love you' would be a more accurate way to describe it."
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