Behind the scenes of the "war council."
September 22, 2001 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Behind the scenes of the "war council." The New York Times has a fascinating, behind-the-scenes story about the administration's struggle to develop a plan of attack. The story quotes highly-placed sources around Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al. The most interesting revelation? GWB himself may actually be calling the shots.
posted by pardonyou? (9 comments total)
It sounds like the system is working the way it is supposed to work: the advisers are providing advice, and the President is making decisions.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:10 PM on September 22, 2001

I can't believe it. You mean YOU'D be happy with George Bush making the decisions, or Ronald Reagan? Ronald REAGAN for God's sake! My whole worldview will be shattered if this stuff gets proved.

I was under the impression that the system was designed as follows: the advisors discuss possibilities and come up with a preferred option; the Prez goes along with it and acts as conduit between the shadowy cabal and the public.
posted by skylar at 2:33 PM on September 22, 2001

Um...he is referred to as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. That doesn't sound like a conduit title to me. He shares military power with Congress - like they can declare war, but he cannot do so alone.

For a quick and dirty summary of presidential powers:
posted by
jw161020 at 5:20 PM on September 22, 2001

skylar: Ronald Reagan may have been an unappreciated genius.
posted by gd779 at 5:38 PM on September 22, 2001

So Bush is calling the shots after being advised by some of the world's finest millitary strategists? Good- what's to worry about?

Reagan, on the other hand, was such a bad person, tore the country apart. He was behind the movement for people to take drugs in the 60's, bitch about everything, then grow up and not raise their kids worth a damn while waging bitter divorce battles.
posted by Jack Torrance at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2001

Let's not forget the time honored strategy of "top aides" placing stories with the NYT in order to influence the public's view of the president. Common practice. While the times doesn't neccessarily spin the spin that was spun to them, their reporting is def. influenced by the fact that it's based on a single source.

I think you starting getting some of the journalist's own perspective down toward the end of the article, e.g. Bush discussing the situation using baseball metaphors.

C. Powell has been shunted to the side since the start of this administration...


...and from what I've read is still the odd man out in this situation -- although I think he's pushing hard to air his take and that some of that is filtering through. Which is good. The man has a head on his shoulders. I wish he had more influence.

Bush actually did a good job in his speech the other evening (although I disagree with some of the particulars / conditions ). You could hear a lot of C. Rice in that speech.

A friend back home described an interesting article which appeared in the local paper about the man responsible for drafting that speech, but I can't located it (

In the final analysis, I think Bush is still doing what he planned on doing from the start -- managing a group of talented people, synthesizing their recommendations.

So far it's working. But is that real leadership?
posted by GAK at 8:55 PM on September 22, 2001

GAK: for whatever wierd reason, sometimes it is. :-)

I wouldn't necessarily say that Powell is being shunted off to the side...sometimes the most effective person is the one you don't always hear about. I would be willing to bet that Powell has spent the greater part of the last couple of weeks dealing with the diplomatic implications of what's been going on, so that may be why we're not hearing much from him (my guess only).

To me, sounds like the big star of this may be Rice, and that star seems to be getting brighter all the time.
posted by PeteyStock at 9:38 PM on September 22, 2001

posted by crasspastor at 9:52 PM on September 22, 2001

what crasspastor said.
posted by quonsar at 4:51 AM on September 23, 2001

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