From Chapter Three: On the Road to Bagdad
Inside the Oval Office, the President's cabinet sat around a large map of Iraq. A PowerPoint presentation projected a slide that simply read, "Iraq Post-Invasion Scenarios and Challenges."
Secretary of State Colin Powell had just finished going through the PowerPoint, explaining all of the difficulties that the United States expeceted to face. "Mr. President, those are the top 100 issues we expect to face after the invasion of Iraq," he said, "Given all of these scenarios, I think that the number of troops we will need will be approximately 350 to 450 thousand."
Bush tapped his fingers thoughtfully. He stood up and approached a white dry-erase board. Grabbing a marker, he began drawing a stick figure with an exaggerated head.
"Colin, here's how I see it," Bush said. "Iraq is like this figure. Saddam is like this head. If you cut the head off... "
Bush grabbed the eraser and rubbed the board. The head would not come off.
Vice President Cheney leaned toward him and whispered, "Sir, you used the permanent marker."
The president sniffed the marker. "'Course I did," he said hastily. "I meant to do that," he added in a Pee Wee Hermanish voice.
Instead of erasing, he drew a large "X" through the head, then an arrow showing it falling off the body. "Anyway, as I was saying, if you cut the head off, the body's no good. Can't really do much without a head, can you?" He let out a series of heh heh hehs. "Plus, when you cut the head off..."
The president drew lines spurting out from the neck, making a pshoo pshoo noise as he did so. "Democracy will just come gushing out. So why would we need 400,000 troops just to make democracy spurt out of Iraq's neck?"
Cheney stood up and let out a loud "Harrumph!" The other cabinet members, following his lead, also let out their harrumphs, except for Powell.
Bush pointed to Powell. "I didn't get a harrumph out of that guy!"
Cheney growled, "Give the president a harrumph."
Instead, Powell sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Mr. President, with all due respect, do you have any experience planning a major military invasion, occupation, and nationbuilding?"
Bush paused as the room fell quiet. "No. But I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night."
The cabinet exploded in laughter. Bush, looking at his cabinent for a moment, also started to laugh. After a few minutes, he asked, "What's so funny? I really did come up with this at the Holiday Inn Express."