A new book about President Bush is said to detail his early and intense planning
for war in Iraq.
According to journalists who have read the book, Plan of Attack, author
Bob Woodward says planning began in December 2001, even as the President said
he was seeking a diplomatic solution to Iraq's stand-off with the United Nations.
The Washington Post, where Mr. Woodward is an editor, reports the
book describes how the growing commitments required of the military, the CIA
and U.S. allies during the planning phase made the decision difficult, in not
impossible, to reverse.
The book will be released next week and is based on interviews with some
75 people involved in the planning of the war, including President Bush.
Asked about the reports Friday President Bush told reporters he could not
remember the exact dates he asked for planning to begin.
Plan of Attack is also reported to address Mr. Bush's concern about
world reaction to a war. The Associated Press, which obtained an advance copy,
says that to preserve secrecy, the president kept details of the planning even
from members of his own national security team.
The Washington Post report says Mr. Woodward outlines the tension
between Vice President Dick Cheney, described in the book as a "steamrolling
force" for war, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is said to have opposed
it. The Post says Plan of Attack recreates how the two were so
at odds over the conflict that they were barely on speaking terms.
Mr. Woodward is the author of another book on Mr. Bush, also based on interviews
with the president, about the war on terror. Along with Post reporter
Carl Bernstein, Mr. Woodward uncovered the Watergate scandal that led to the
resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.