A reader writes:

I finished read Woodward's book today. Two observations:

First, as a person who has failed at some things in life, the portrait of failure is entirely credible to me. I don't know how to explain it, exactly - but the psychology of the thing, and the way people behave, all seems right.

You're in this thing, and you're in way over your head, and you can't fix it, because you don't control enough of it to fix it, so you keep going through the motions, and you sort of close off and don't make trouble, because you don't want to speed up the inevitable collapse - it all feels real.

Second, I have a real question about Republicans in the senate, responsible people in the house, etc. I don't think Woodward's book is new or radical - I think it sort of represents a kind of middle of the road consensus on Bush's prosecution of the war. By that I mean that I think that everyone involved in real work in Washington knows the score, and Woodward just sort of makes it official here, by documenting a lot more of it.

The Democrats are too f***ed up to deal with this problem. They're not going to do it. Will the Republicans do their duty and challenge the president? When Nixon went, it was because Republicans told him he had to go. They looked at what had happened, saw the bigger picture, and did what was right for the country.

Republicans need to force Bush's hand on Rumsfeld. And if they don't do it, they're not doing their duty to the country. It's really as simple as that.  Everyone knows he has to go, and for some reason, the president can't or won't do it. He must be forced.

I think John Warner will be part of this. McCain has too much at stake to be credibly disinterested. Rumsfeld has already begun to acknowledge that reality has overtaken his ideology. The question will be if Cheney is enough of a patriot to ditch his long-time pal. Or if Bush is strong enough to tell Cheney to do it for him. But it must happen after the election. We cannot let the pride of these men supercede the vital interests and security of the West.

(Photo: Brooks Kraft/Corbis for Time.)