Monday, April 19, 2004

Powell Guarantees an Early Retirement for Himself (and Maybe his Boss)

If we can get Bob Woodward to put out a book about every two months between now and November, Mr. Bush will indeed be enjoying the comforts of Crawford, Texas sooner than he planned. Once again the White House is scrambling to recover from disclosures in a Woodward book - this time from Colin Powell. Woodward reportedly has 40-50 sources inside the administration who regularly feed him information. You would think that John Ashcroft would be uncovering these moles, or at least blaming this problem also on 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick.

For more than a year, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his aides have tacitly acknowledged that he was concerned before the war about what could go wrong once American forces captured Iraq.

But Mr. Powell's apparent decision to lay out his misgivings even more explicitly to the journalist Bob Woodward for a book has jolted the White House and aggravated long-festering tensions in the Bush cabinet. Moreover, some officials said, the book has created problems for the secretary inside the administration just as the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and President Bush is plunging into his re-election drive.

Mr. Powell has not acknowledged that he cooperated with Mr. Woodward, but the book presents the secretary's reservations in such detail that it leaves little doubt. A spokesman for Mr. Powell said again Sunday that he would not comment on the book, "Plan of Attack."

Critics of Mr. Powell in the hawkish wing of the administration said they were startled by what they saw as his self-serving decision to help fill out a portrait that enhances his reputation as a farsighted analyst, perhaps at the expense of Mr. Bush. Several said the book guaranteed what they expected anyway, that Mr. Powell will not stay as secretary if Mr. Bush is re-elected.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link