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Across seven administrations they have shared a belief in the importance of American military power. Today, they are President Bush's war cabinet. Here's an overview of their intertwined relationships over the decades, their conflicts, and the events that have shaped their views on America's role in the world. [This historical chart is drawn in large part from James Mann's book, Rise of the Vulcans (2004), a history of the lives, ideas and careers of Bush's war cabinet.]

NIXON FORD CARTER REAGAN G. H. W. BUSH CLINTON G. W. BUSH

THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION, 1977-81

After years in power, Rumsfeld and Cheney find themselves out of jobs when Carter takes office. Cheney leaves for Wyoming -- and soon comes right back as a congressman. Wolfowitz and Powell rise through the ranks of the Pentagon and the Army, and Armitage joins the staff of Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.). Rumsfeld is the only one to take a long leave from government, starting a successful career in business. But his name is far from forgotten in Washington.

Events

Donald Rumsfeld

Dick Cheney

Paul Wolfowitz

Colin Powell

Richard Armitage

1977:
Ford goes, the staff moves on

In 1977, Rumsfeld wins the Presidential Medal of Freedom and becomes the successful CEO of a large pharmaceutical company. His political ambitions remain, and he is often mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate.

Cheney also leaves Washington in 1977, but not for long. He goes back to his home state of Wyoming and is promptly elected to Congress, along with his friend Newt Gingrich. His hard-line conservativism is masked by his quiet nature.

· Cheney the "moderate?" >

The neo-conservative movement is now a full-blown challenge to both Kissinger and the liberal Democrats, but Wolfowitz, at DOD, has other things to worry about. Like many neocons who distrust the intelligence community, he thinks the CIA is underestimating the threat of the Soviet Union.

· Three schools of foreign policy emerge >

 

 

1978:
New opportunities, new threats

 

 

Wolfowitz spends his days pondering the possibility of an Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Although the threat seems unlikely at the time, he decides the best way to face it is to start developing an infrastructure for invading the Middle East -- just in case.

 

Armitage has a hard time finding a job that suits him as much as his Vietnam War days. But he finally gains a foothold in Washington when he takes a position assisting Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who is a hawk, war hero, and Senate Majority Leader.

1980:
Almost vice president

Ronald Reagan is the obvious choice for the Republican nomination for president -- but who will be his running mate? In a last-minute decision, Reagan picks George Bush, Rumsfeld's rival, and Rumsfeld misses his chance at holding a nationally elected office.

· The would-be VP >

 

 

 

 

NIXON FORD CARTER REAGAN G. H. W. BUSH CLINTON G. W. BUSH

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posted oct. 26, 2004

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