Plan of Attack: The Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq
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Plan of Attack is the definitive account of how and why President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launched a preemptive attack to topple Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq. Bob Woodward's latest landmark account of Washington decision making provides an original, authoritative narrative of behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years, examining the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam.
Based on interviews with 75 key participants and more than three and a half hours of exclusive interviews with President Bush, Plan of Attack is part presidential history charting the decisions made during 16 critical months; part military history revealing precise details and the evolution of the Top Secret war planning under the restricted codeword Polo Step; and part a harrowing spy story as the CIA dispatches a covert paramilitary team into northern Iraq six months before the start of the war. This team recruited 87 Iraqi spies designated with the cryptonym DB/ROCKSTARS, one of whom turned over the personnel files of all 6,000 men in Saddam Hussein's personal security organization.
What emerges are astonishingly intimate portraits: President Bush in war cabinet meetings in the White House Situation Room and the Oval Office, and in private conversation; Dick Cheney, the focused and driven vice president; Colin Powell, the conflicted and cautious secretary of state; Donald Rumsfeld, the controlling war technocrat; George Tenet, the activist CIA director; Tommy Franks, the profane and demanding general; Condoleezza Rice, the ever-present referee and national security adviser; Karl Rove, the hands-on political strategist; other key members of the White House staff and congressional leadership; and foreign leaders ranging from British Prime Minister Blair to Russian President Putin.
Plan of Attack provides new details on the intelligence assessments of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and the planning for the war's aftermath.
he had said publicly that Saddam has “got time,” he told reporters that morning, “Time is running out on Saddam Hussein.” Bush knew he had no better friend on the European continent than the popular, second-term Polish president who had agreed to send troops to the war. The Bushes had hosted Kwasniewski, 47, and his wife for a rare State Dinner the previous July. “The level of anti-Americanism is extremely high,” Kwasniewski said at their private meeting. He had a serious political problem
passion made for riveting television. Mary McGrory, the renowned liberal columnist for The Washington Post, and a Bush critic, wrote in the lead column for the next day’s op-ed page of Powell’s “J’Accuse” speech, “I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.” She said that she had been hoping Powell would oppose war, but “The cumulative effect was stunning. I was reminded of the day long ago when John Dean, a White House toady, unloaded on Richard Nixon and you
capability,” Rove quoted Kerry saying in October 1990, according to the Congressional Record. Saddam has been “working toward” development of WMD or “had all those abilities,” Kerry had said in January 1991. (Of course, this turned out to be true as the U.N. weapons inspectors discovered after the 1991 Gulf War.) In 1998, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, Kerry said that Saddam was “pursuing a program to build weapons of mass destruction” and in October 2002, he said, “I am prepared to
58, 75, 82, 110, 114 State of the Union speech (2002) and, 86–87, 93, 95 supply system in, 61, 102, 136, 207–8, 324 targets in, 65, 75–78, 102, 110, 114, 145, 148, 157–59, 173–74, 205, 207, 216–18, 244, 264, 277 timing in, 36–37, 43, 54, 59–60, 66, 76, 81–82, 83, 96–97, 99–101, 103, 114, 118, 121–22, 125, 135, 136, 146, 244, 287–88, 329–30 unilateralism in, 61, 83, 96–98, 120, 155, 160, 175, 290 urban warfare concerns in, 126, 208; see also Fortress Baghdad U.S. casualties and, 101, 327–28
Baghdad as an example, he explained: 1. Its significance was that it was their headquarters and Saddam used the party as one instrument of control, 2. The headquarters is a multistory building with extensive communications and security, 3. There is a residential facility nearby that could be damaged, 4. Any number of weapons could be used, including cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs. POWELL WAS VERY MUCH on edge. The discussions of Iraq were increasingly focused on military planning, a