That NYT write-up is a joke. Notice how they deep they buried the positive comments. And the lead is that Colin Powell “said nothing — a silence that spoke volumes to many in the White House on Thursday morning.” That was the most important thing about the meeting? Really?
Maybe it’s the Bushies’ fault for failing to emphasize that nearly everyone in that room more or less agrees with their Iraq policy — none are calling for an instant pull-out, to my knowledge. Certainly Eagleburger, Baker, Schlesinger, Shultz, Laird, Carlucci, and McNamara back the war and (I think) have from the begining; probably Haig, Perry, and Cohen, too. Even Albright’s criticism wasn’t really of Iraq per se, more of a generic partisan foreign policy brickbat.
I notice that Caspar Weinberger was among those who couldn’t make it. I was wondering if he’d be there, since word is he and and several of the people in that room haven’t been on speaking terms since his 1996 book The Next War was published.