The meme at last seems to <$Ad$>be taking flight.
For more than a year I’ve argued that the Office of the Vice President operates in the Bush White House as a sort of rogue operation, free from the bureaucratic and organizational constraints and responsibilities imposed on the normal agencies and departments of the executive branch.
(Also, almost everything Cheney touches goes bad.)
This from the new ‘how Cheney sold us the Iraq war’ piece in Newsweek …
Cheney has long been regarded as a Washington wise man. He has a dry, deliberate manner; a penetrating, if somewhat wintry, wit, and a historianâs long-view sensibility. He is far to the right politically, but in no way wild-eyed; in private conversation he seems moderate, thoughtful, cautious. Yet when it comes to terrorist plots, he seems to have given credence to the views of some fairly flaky ideologues and charlatans.
And this …
Nonetheless, it appears that Cheney has been susceptible to âcherry-picking,â embracing those snippets of intelligence that support his dark prognosis while discarding others that donât. He is widely regarded in the intelligence community as an outlier, as a man who always goes for the worst-case âscenario and sometimes overlooks less alarming or at least ambiguous signs. Top intelligence officials reject the suggestion that Cheney has somehow bullied lower-level CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency analysts into telling him what he wants to hear. But they do describe the Office of the Vice President, with its large and assertive staff, as a kind of free-floating power base that at times brushes aside the normal policymaking machinery under national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice. On the road to war, Cheney in effect created a parallel government that became the real power center.
One other thing: It’s become conventional wisdom that the Pentagon, or rather the civilians at the Pentagon, muscled out the State Department on key issues of planning for Iraq. My recent reporting tells me it’s much more a matter of Cheney and the Office of the Vice President. Much more.