Condi Sets the Record Straight

As President Obama plans to pull the final combat troops out of Iraq, Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey speaks with Condoleezza Rice about the lead-up to war nine years ago, when she was George W. Bush's national-security adviser. Rice talks candidly about her worry over the plan for postinvasion Iraq. She felt—rightly, it turned out—that the military was underestimating the number of troops necessary to maintain order. But when she persuaded the president to raise the issue, he doomed it from the start, prefacing it with, “This is something Condi has wanted to talk about.” Immediately she could see the generals didn't think it was a serious question. “I would have resigned after that comment by the president,” said Stephen Hadley, Rice's No. 2 at the time. But Rice pressed the issue, eventually persuading Bush to take it seriously, though Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continued to attempt end runs around her, and even the president.