An Unhinged Presidency
That's the picture from Woodward's book, according to Kakutani. Money quote:
As depicted by Mr. Woodward, this is an administration in which virtually no one will speak truth to power, an administration in which the traditional policy-making process involving methodical analysis and debate is routinely subverted. He notes that experts — who recommended higher troop levels in Iraq, warned about the consequences of disbanding the Iraqi Army or worried about the lack of postwar planning— were continually ignored by the White House and Pentagon leadership, or themselves failed, out of cowardice or blind loyalty, to press insistently their case for an altered course in the war.
Mr. Woodward describes the administration’s management of the war as being improvisatory and ad hoc, like a pickup basketball game, and argues that it continually tried to give the public a rosy picture of the war in Iraq (while accusing the press of accentuating the negative), even as its own intelligence was pointing to a rising number of attacks against American forces and an upward spiral of violence. A secret February 2005 report by Philip D. Zelikow, a State Department counselor, found that “Iraq remains a failed state shadowed by constant violence and undergoing revolutionary political change” and concluded that the American effort there suffered because it lacked a comprehensive, unified policy.
It's hard for the Reynolds-Malkin-Hinderaker right to discredit Woodward - because he wrote books once beloved of the Bush administration and its acolytes. Now the worst fears of those of us who saw the consequences of incmpetence as soon as the rubber hit the dust in Iraq are being borne out. It's too late now, of course. But it is not too late to send a message. The election is November 7.