A reader's guide to Bob Woodward's State of Denial.

How to read juicy books.
Oct. 4 2006 11:59 PM

Woodward and You

A reader's guide to State of Denial.

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Page 375: In a briefing with diplomats, one "watched Bush from Baghdad on the secure video, he was astonished. Rarely were diplomats or military in the field given such direct, clear guidance from a commander in chief."

Cheney the Dark Meddler

Pages 126-129: Two of Jay Garner's most capable staff members were suddenly yanked from the team trying to rebuild Iraq. Rumsfeld issued the order, but the real directive came from Vice President Cheney's office, where it had been determined that the two staffers' State Department ties meant they couldn't be trusted.

Page 235: At 3 a.m. U.S. weapons inspector David Kay received a phone call in Iraq from Cheney's office with information about a site in Syria where he might look for WMD.

Page 238: Cheney cornered David Kay after an Oval Office meeting, asking about information the vice president had culled from raw intelligence intercepts. "Here Cheney and Libby were acting like a couple of junior analysts, poring over fragments as if they were trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code. If only the world worked that way."

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Page 259: Libby calls Kay again. "The vice president wants to know if you've looked in this area," Libby said. "We have indications—and here are the geocoordinates—that something's buried there."

The Most Devastating One-Paragraph Account of Bush Team Dynamics

Page 241: Robert D. Blackwill, a longtime diplomat brought in to the National Security Council in August 2003, describes one of the first NSC meetings he attended: "Blackwill saw Rice try to intervene and get nowhere. So critical comments and questions—especially about military strategy—never surfaced. Blackwill felt sympathy for Rice. This young woman, he thought, had to deal with three of the titans of national security—Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell—all of whom had decades of experience, cachet and strong views. The image locked in Blackwill's mind of Rice, dutiful, informed and polite, at one end of the table, and the inexperienced president at the other, legs dancing, while the bulls staked out their ground, almost snorting defiantly, hoofs pawing the table, daring a challenge that never came."

Jay Garner, Hero

Page 125: Jay Garner, the retired Army general brought in to rebuild Iraq after Baghdad fell, is portrayed as one of the few players struggling to think clearly about the future of the country. In February 2003, he ran a "rock drill" to think through all the questions that had been left unanswered during the botched prewar planning. The report afterward anticipates much of what eventually goes wrong in the country.

Pages 182-83: When Garner was forced out, it is portrayed as such a mistake that it led to a near staff revolt. Presidential envoy and current Iraqi ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, announced he'd quit in protest.