George W. Bush, by the book
Bush's critics have focused sharply on Bush's early interest in planning for war with Iraq. "We won't do Iraq now," Bush says to Condoleezza Rice at Camp David on Sept. 16, 2001.
This fits the left's current theory, sounded in recent books by Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke, that Bush was always itching to get Saddam, no matter what. But Woodward's earlier book Bush at War depicted a much more restrained Bush at the same Camp David meeting. He describes Bush as having strong reservations about attacking Iraq and not wanting his advisers to use the war on terrorism to settle an old score with Saddam. This emphasis is missing in the new book.
Besides, drawing up "secret war plans" for a possible attack on Iraq wasn't irrational. The low-level war against Saddam was 12 years old, with no end in sight. American and British pilots were getting shot at, sanctions weren't working, and Bush was getting warnings that Saddam had all those terrible weapons and would use them against America.
Bush would have been a fool not to draw up plans. Gee, wait till the critics find out that FDR, without ever informing the media, was plotting to fight Japan and Germany before Pearl Harbor.