What Bush Knew and more …

[ After a few prefatory paragraphs, the lengthy article below is largely an indictment composed of damning excerpts, mostly from standard news sources, categorized by the following topic areas:

  1. what Bush knew about about 9/11
  2. the planes
  3. incompetence
  4. predictions
  5. what a mess
  6. war fever
  7. the defectors [within the Administration]
  8. a statesman's guide to Iraq [or: why previous administrations would not invade]
  9. the media [failed]
  10. about face [shifting rationales for invasion]
  11. support the troops [vets speak out]
  12. the draft
  13. mob mentality [the mean ways of the Bush cabal]
  14. funny money

It's a reference work, forwarded by Suzanne Faye. –BL ]

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

April 15, 2004 | Buzzflash.com
by Maureen Farrell

“Face it: a nation that maintains a 72% approval rating on George W. Bush is a nation with a very loose grip on reality,” Garrison Keillor wrote in the summer of 2002, right about the time it became obvious that America had slid into an alternate universe. “How else could we explain Condoleezza Rice's insistence, that, despite warnings from French intelligence, G-8 Summit organizers and Tom Clancy novels, nobody could have predicted that terrorists would fly airplanes into skyscrapers?,” I wrote that August, without realizing the extent of the Twilight Zone absurdities and oddities yet to come.

Of course, George Bush's Tuesday night reiteration of Rice's “who knew?” shtick was reminiscent of another bizarre statement the President made on at least two occasions, when he asserted that Saddam Hussein was given “a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.” Was Hans Blix merely the U.N.'s version of the Tooth Fairy?

Similarly embarrassing, when the President was asked about the “biggest mistake” he'd ever made, he stammered and stumbled and complained about “the pressure of trying to come up with an answer.” And though he bills himself as a steady leader for unsteady times, if not for the lucky sperm club, it's doubtful that his interview prowess would even land him a job at his local Dairy Queen.

This was further evident when a reporter asked the President why he felt the need to hide behind Dick Cheney's skirt when he testifies before the 9/11 commission. “Because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions,” came Bush's dodgy non-answer. When asked to clarify why the President and Vice President are “appearing together, rather than separately,” Bush said, “Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9-11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.” End of explanation.

Moreover, Bush's assertion that “the American people need to know my last choice is the use of military power” flies in the face of everything former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke have confessed, and makes no sense in light of any sentient being's understanding of recent history. And so, questions that were legitimate a couple years ago — such as whether or not Team Bush can be trusted — have been made ludicrous by the weight of this administration's charades.

“There have been many things swept under the carpet. And I think it's a shame in a government that you trust – I think it's a shame, the things that they chose to tell you and the things they choose not to tell you,” Sept. 11 widow Julia Sweeney said on Donahue a couple years back. Since then, a catalogue of this administration's inconsistencies and whoppers has been unearthed, offering a glimpse at the deep dark truthful mirror at the bottom of the rabbit hole. For those of who believe that Bush and his cabinet have brought “honor and integrity” to the White House, turn back now. For everyone else, however, here is an incomplete, but damning, reminder of what has transpired:

Bush Knew

“President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday.” — (“Bush Was Warned of Possible Attack in U.S., Official Says,” The New York Times,April 10, 2004)

“By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief headlined 'Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US,' the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions. . . In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence community headlined some of those reports 'Bin Laden planning multiple operations,' 'Bin Laden network's plans advancing' and 'Bin Laden threats are real.'” (“Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings: Reports Preceded August 2001 Memo,” The Washington Post, April 13, 2004)

“U.S. Had a Steady Stream of Pre-9/11 Warnings.” — (PBS, Sept. 18, 2002)

“Even though Bush has refused to make parts of the 9-11 report public, one thing is startlingly clear: The U.S. government had received repeated warnings of impending attacks — and attacks using planes directed at New York and Washington — for several years. The government never told us about what it knew was coming.” — James Ridgeway, (“Bush's 9-11 Secrets: The Government Received Warnings of Bin Laden's Plans to Attack New York and D.C.,” The Village Voice, July 31, 2003)

“George Bush received specific warnings in the weeks before 11 September that an attack inside the United States was being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, US government sources said yesterday. In a top-secret intelligence memo headlined 'Bin Laden determined to strike in the US', the President was told on 6 August that the Saudi-born terrorist hoped to 'bring the fight to America'. . .” — (“Bush Knew of Terrorist Plot to Hijack US Planes,” the Guardian, May 19, 2002)

“It seems very probable that those in the White House knew much more than they have admitted, and they are covering up their failure to take action. . . After pulling together the information in the 9/11 Report, it is understandable why Bush is stonewalling. It is not very difficult to deduce what the president knew, and when he knew it. And the portrait that results is devastating.” — John Dean, (“The 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions about the White House Statements On Intelligence,” Findlaw.com July, 29, 2003)

“President Bush and his top advisers were informed by the CIA early last August that terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden had discussed the possibility of hijacking airplanes.” (“Bush was Told of Hijacking Dangers,” The Washington Post, May 16, 2002)

“The White House said tonight that President Bush had been warned by American intelligence agencies in early August that Osama bin Laden was seeking to hijack aircraft but that the warnings did not contemplate the possibility that the hijackers would turn the planes into guided missiles for a terrorist attack. (''Bush Was Warned bin Laden Wanted to Hijack Planes,” The New York Times, May 15, 2002)

“I saw papers that show US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes'” — FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, ('I saw papers that show US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes”: Whistleblower the White House wants to silence speaks to The Independent,” The Independent, April 2, 2004)

“The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”– CIA Intelligence Report for President Bush, July, 2001 (60 Days Prior to 9/11)

“I spoke with Congressman Ike Skelton who said that just recently the director of the CIA warned that there could be an attack–an imminent attack–on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected.” — NPR Congressional Correspondent David Welna (NPR's Morning Edition, Sept. 11, 2001)

“Israeli intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent.” (“Israeli security issued urgent warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks,” The Telegraph, Sept. 16, 2001)

“Family members of victims of the terror attacks say the White House has smothered every attempt to get to the bottom of the outrageous intelligence failures that took place on its watch.” (“Bush's 9/11 Cover-up?” Salon.com, June 18, 2003)

“I really think there's nothing more despicable “| for someone to insinuate that the president of the United States knew there was an attack on our country that was imminent and didn't do anything about it.” — Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (” Bush Was Warned of Hijackings Before 9/11; Lawmakers Want Public Inquiry,” ABC News, May 16, 2002)

De Planes, De Planes!

“[T]he least understandable argument of all is the line first used by Rice in May of 2002, that no one could have foreseen that terrorists would hijack airplanes and crash-fly them into buildings. It is especially odd coming from the coordination person in the White House. . . It is also odd coming from the official who had an administration plan for actions against Al Qaeda on her desk on the day of the attacks.” — Thomas Oliphant (“Prejudging the 9/11 report,” the Boston Globe, Dec. 21, 2002)

“According to counter-terrorism experts quoted in Germany's largest newspaper, the attack on [George W. Bush at the July, 2001 G-8 Summit] might be a James Bond-like aerial strike in the form of remote-controlled airplanes packed with plastic explosives. — James Hatfield, (“Why would Osama bin Laden want to kill Dubya, his former business partner?” Online Journal, July 3, 2001)

“On Sept. 10, Newsweek has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.” (Bush: “We're at War: As the deadliest attack on American soil in history opens a scary new kind of conflict, the manhunt begins,” Newsweek, Sept. 24, 2001)

“In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a “threat assessment” by the FBI. . .” (“Ashcroft Flying High,” CBS News, July 26, 2001)

“For Mayor Willie Brown, the first signs that something was amiss came late Monday when he got a call from what he described as his airport security — a full eight hours before yesterday's string of terrorist attacks — advising him that Americans should be cautious about their air travel… Exactly where the call came from is a bit of a mystery.” (“Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel,” The San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 12, 2001)

“It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with airplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council report noted that “al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House.'” — Former British environment minister Michael Meacher, (“This War on Terrorism is Bogus,” The Guardian, Sept. 6, 2003)

“On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. [John] Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building .” (Promotional literature from The National Law Enforcement and Security Institute 's “Homeland Security: America 's Leadership Challenge,” held in Chicago on Sept. 6, 2002)

“[Vanity Fair's Craig Unger] provides a definitive account of how members of the bin Laden family and relatives of the House of Saud were spirited out of the country on private aircraft during the days following the Sept. 11 attacks — when almost all aviation was prohibited. — Joe Conason (“Up, up, and away with Prince Bandar: The truth about how the White House helped the bin Laden family flee the U.S. finally comes out. Will the “liberal” press pay attention?” Joe Conasan's Journal, Sept. 4, 2003)

“The twin-engine Lear jet streaked into the afternoon sky, leaving Tampa behind but revealing a glimpse of international intrigue in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on America. The federal government says the flight never took place. But the two armed bodyguards hired to chaperon their clients out of the state recall the 100-minute trip Sept. 13 quite vividly. In the end, the son of a Saudi Arabian prince who is the nation's defense minister and the son of a Saudi army commander made it to Kentucky for a waiting 747 and a trip to their homeland.” (“Phantom Flight From Florida,” The Tampa Tribune, Oct. 5, 2001)


“On July 5 of 2001, the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room. 'Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon,' the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group. . . Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer non-vital travel, put off scheduled exercises, place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. For six weeks in the summer of 2001, at home and overseas, the U.S. government was at its highest possible state of readiness–and anxiety–against imminent terrorist attack.” That intensity — defensive in nature — did not last.

By the time Bush received his briefing at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, the government had begun to stand down from the alert. — (“Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy,” The Washington Post, May 17, 2002)

“My analysis is that George Bush had no option but to keep George Tenet on as Director, because George Tenet had warned Bush repeatedly, for months and months before September 11, that something very bad was about to happen.” 27-Year CIA Veteran Ray McGovern, (“Interview: 27-Year CIA Veteran,” Truthout.com, June 26, 2003)

“You know why I think George Tenet is still in his job? I think there are smoking guns all over the White House. I think if you crack the White House safe, you're going to find memos from Tenet saying, 'The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming.'” Gary Hart, (“Condi Rice's other wake-up call: Former Sen. Gary Hart says he, too, warned Rice about an imminent terror attack on two occasions before 9/11,” Salon.com, April, 2, 2004)

“But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of '03.” . . . The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.” — Hunter S. Thompson, (“Big Darkness,” ESPN.com, July 22, 2003)

“On June 21, I believe it was, George Tenet called me and said, “I don't think we're getting the message through. These people aren't acting the way the Clinton people did under similar circumstances.' And I suggested to Tenet that he come down and personally brief Condi Rice, that he bring his terrorism team with him. And we sat in the national security adviser's office. And I've used the phrase in the book to describe George Tenet's warnings as “He had his hair on fire.' He was about as excited as I'd ever seen him. And he said, “Something is going to happen.'” Richard Clarke (Meet the Press, March 28, 2004)

“I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign policy and economics but also in social and environmental policy. This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for (American) people to engage in civil disobedience. I think it's time to protest – as much as possible.” American Nobel Prize laureate for Economics George A. Akerlof (“US Nobel Laureate Slams Bush Govt. as “Worst' in American History,” Der Spiegel, July 29, 2003)

“Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the administration of using classification to “disguise and keep from the American people ineptitude and incompetence, which was a contributing factor toward Sept. 11.” — (“9/11 report puts Saudis in spotlight: Lawmakers: Tell the whole story,” The Associated Press, July 28, 2003)

“Bush acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. “I was not on point,' the president said [to Bob Woodward in Bush at War ]. “I didn't feel a sense of urgency.' Well, how can you not feel a sense of urgency when George Tenet is telling you in daily briefings, day after day, that a major al Qaeda attack is coming?” Richard Clarke (Larry King Live, March 24, 2004)

“Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for reelection on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe he could have done something to stop 9/11.” — Richard Clarke, (60 Minutes, March 21, 2004)

“If I did anything like this as a policeman and killed 3,000 people, with this much evidence against me, I'd spend 100,000 years in jail,” — Retired New York City cop and 9/11 victim family member Bruce DeCell, (“Probing 9/11,” The Nation, June 19, 2003)

“This is an issue that everyone needs to worry about, because we are not safer here. George Tenet, director of the CIA, said that at last week's hearings. We're no safer here. We need to work together, regardless of our political affiliation to become safer. And the public must care about this. They must be informed.” Sept. 11 widow Kristen Breitweiser (Deborah Norville Tonight, April 1, 2004)


“As a small army of fire fighters struggled to put out the flames at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington, federal law enforcement agencies had already begun marshaling agents, readying them for what promises to be the largest criminal investigation in the history of the nation.” — Peg Tyre (Newsweek, Sept. 11, 2001)

“Congress will no doubt hold hearings to assign the fault for a massive failure of intelligence. . . ” (Bush: “We're At War': As the deadliest attack on American soil in history opens a scary new kind of conflict, the manhunt begins,” Sept. 24, 2001)

“If you were to tell me that two years after the murder of my husband that we wouldn't have one question answered, I wouldn't believe it.” — Kristen Breitweiser (“911 Chair: Attack Was Preventable,” CBS News, Dec.18, 2003)

“The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. . . .

This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now,” Hunter S. Thompson, (“Fear and Loathing in America,” ESPN.com, Sept. 12, 2001)

“Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W Bush said what America needed was “a new Pearl Harbor.' Its published aims have, alarmingly, come true.” — John Pilger, commenting on the Project for a New American Century, (PNAC) (“A New Pearl Harbor,” New Statesman, Dec. 16, 2002)

“[PNAC co-founder William] Kristol believes the United States will be “vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.' — (“Were Neo-Conservatives' 1998 Memos a Blueprint for Iraq War?” ABC News, March 10, 2003)

“I had said at — I had an 8 o'clock breakfast [on Sept. 11, 2001] — that sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, 10, 12 months, there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people, again, how important it is to have a strong, healthy Defense Department . . And someone walked in and handed a note that said that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center.” — Donald Rumsfeld (Larry King Live, Dec. 5, 2001)

The 9/11 Commission

“I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting the dots. I think they had a veritable blueprint, and we want to know why they didn't act on it.” Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (“FBI, CIA Brass in a Sling,” New York Daily News, June 6, 2002)

“They don't have any excuse because the information was in their lap, and they didn't do anything to prevent it.” Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, member of the joint intelligence committee investigating 9/11 (“Another Dot That Didn't Get Connected,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 3, 2002)

“As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done. This was not something that had to happen.” Gov. Thomas Kean, (“9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable,” CBS News, Dec. 18, 2003 )

“As each day goes by we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11th than it has ever admitted.” — Former Senator and 911 commissioner Max Cleland (“9/11 Commission Could Subpoena Oval Office Files,” The New York Times, Oct. 26, 2003)

“We spent $100 million on Whitewater. Only $3 million has been spent on investigating September 11! It's not about 'getting Bush' — I'm no fan of Bill Clinton either! In a democracy it's always about us — and what we're willing to let people get away with.” — David Potorti, author of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, (“Building a War Machine on the Back of Victims,” Pulse of the Twin Cities, Dec. 10, 2003)

Oh, What a Tangled Web

“There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government.” Unnamed American (“The CIA and Saudi Arabia, the Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Did their connections cause America to turn a blind eye to terrorism?” BBC Newsnight, Nov. 7, 2001)

“America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans.” (“Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11: America 's most controversial novelist calls for an investigation into whether the Bush administration deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks to happen,” the U.K. Observer, Oct. 27, 2002)

“US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. . . . Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11?”– Former British environment minister Michael Meacher, (“This War on Terrorism is Bogus,” The Guardian, Sept. 6, 2003)

“If the real motives were made clear-that this is a grab for oil and an attempt to break the back of OPEC -it would make our motives look more predatory than exemplary.” –Professor Michael Klare (Current History, March 2002)

“As it turns out, this is not really about Iraq. It is not about weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or Saddam, or U.N. resolutions. This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman…. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran .” — Jay Bookman, (“The president's real goal in Iraq,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 29, 2002)

“A friend who specializes in foreign policy and hobnobs with subcabinet officials in the Defense and State departments told me that the only thing that's stopped the Bushies from storming into Iran and North Korea is the upcoming election. If Bush is re-elected, “[Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld are out of the box,' he said. “They'll take Bush's re-election as a mandate to wage the 'war on terror' everywhere and anywhere.' — Robert Reich, (“W.'s Second Term: If You Think the First is Bad…” the American Prospect, April, 2004)

“Going to war with improper public understanding is risky. If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over.” — Former U.S. ambassador Richard Parker (“The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq ,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 14, 2003)

War Fever

“Saddam would do everything he could to avoid war. President Bush was doing everything he could to avoid peace.” — Robert Fisk (“President Bush wants war, not justice – and he'll soon find another excuse for it,” The Independent, Sept 18, 2002)

“From the very beginning there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go. It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying, 'Fine. Go find me a way to do this.'” — Former Treasure Secretary Paul O'Neill (“Bush Sought “Way' To Invade Iraq?,” CBS News, Jan. 11, 2004)

“The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.” — Former counter-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke (“Clarke's Take On Terror,” CBS News, March 21, 2004)

“I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. . . It's bombs away for Iraq and on our civil liberties if Bush and his cronies get their way” — Helen Thomas, speech at MIT, Nov. 4, 2002.

“America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.” John le Carre (“The United States of America Has Gone Mad,” The Times/UK, Jan. 15, 2003)

“When you take a country to war, blood and treasure, no higher decision can a President of the United States make as the Commander-in-Chief. To do it on bogus information, to use this kind of secrecy to do it is intolerable.” Former Nixon Counsel John Dean on why Bush should be impeached (NOW with Bill Moyers, April 2, 2004)

The Defectors

“Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America 's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security…. [We] have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam . . . I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration.” — U .S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling (Letter of Resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 27, 2003)

“The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure. As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out.” Rand Beers (“Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror” The Washington Post, June 16, 2003)

“When the president starts doing things that risk American lives, then loyalty to him has to be put aside. I think the way he has responded to al Qaeda, both before 9/11 by doing nothing, and by what he's done after 9/11 has made us less safe. Absolutely.” — Richard Clarke (“Clarke's Take On Terror,” CBS News, March 21, 2004)

“Starting in the fall of 2002 I found a way to vent my frustrations with the neoconservative hijacking of our defense policy. The safe outlet was provided by retired Col. David Hackworth, who agreed to publish my short stories anonymously on his Web site Soldiers for the Truth. . . I was happy to have a sense that there were folks out there, mostly military, who would be interested in the secretary of defense-sponsored insanity I was witnessing on almost a daily basis. When I was particularly upset, like when I heard Zinni called a “traitor,' I wrote about it . . .” — Former Senior Pentagon Middle East Specialist, Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (“The new Pentagon Papers: A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.” Salon.com, March 10, 2004)

A Statesman's Guide to Iraq

“From the brief time that we did spend occupying Iraqi territory after the war, I am certain that had we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit — we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of the occupation. This is a burden I am sure the beleaguered American taxpayer would not have been happy to take on.”– Norman Schwarzkopf (from his 1993 autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero)

“We should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability.” — George H.W. Bush (A World Transformed, 1998)

“The Gulf War was a limited-objective war. If it had not been, we would be ruling Baghdad today — an unpardonable expense in terms of money, lives lost and ruined regional relationships,. . . “Would it have been worth the inevitable follow-up: major occupation forces in Iraq for years to come and a very expensive and complex American proconsulship in Baghdad? Fortunately for America, reasonable people at the time thought not. They still do.” — Colin Powell, 1992 (Quoted in the book, Intervention: The Use of American Military Force in the Post-Cold War World)

“Unilateral preventive war is neither legitimate nor moral. It is illegitimate and immoral. For more than 200 years we have not been that kind of country.” — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (“Illegitimate and Immoral,” the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 2002)

“I am very disturbed by President Bush's determination that the threat from Iraq is so severe and so immediate that we must rush to a military solution. I do not see it that way.” — Sen. Jim Jeffords, Oct., 2002

“We are rushing into war without fully discussing why, without thoroughly considering the consequences, or without making any attempt to explore what steps we might take to avert conflict.” — Sen. Robert Byrd, Oct. 2002

“[The War in Iraq has]” increased our vulnerability. It's helped with terrorist recruitment, the spawning of cells in various countries. Don't take my word for it — that's what the security authorities have said. The directors of the CIA, FBI and DIA have all warned that when America attacks an Arab state, the risk to America skyrockets, it doesn't go down.” — Gary Hart (“Condi Rice's Other Wake Up Call,” Salon.com, April 2, 2004)

The Media

“The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what's coming now. The party's over, folks.. . . [Military Censorship of news] is a given in wartime, along with massive campaigns of deliberately-planted “Dis-information.” That is routine behavior in Wartime — for all countries and all combatants — and it makes life difficult for people who value real news. Count on it.” — Hunter S. Thompson (“When War Drums Roll,” ESPN.com, Sept. 17, 2001 )

“It's an obscene comparison but there was a time in South Africa when people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways, the fear is that you will be neck-laced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. It's that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore-in on the tough questions so often. Again, I'm humbled to say I do not except myself from this criticism.” Dan Rather (” Is truth a victim?” BBC Newsnight interview, June 6, 2002)

“I'm sorry to say that, but certainly television — and perhaps to a certain extent my station — was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did. . . . All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels.” CNN's Christine Amanpour (Topic A With Tina Brown, CNBC, Sept. 14, 2003)

“As soon as I came out against Bush, that's when my rights to free speech were taken away. It had nothing to do with indecency. . . I have two sources inside the FCC. They know exactly what is going on. They had a meeting two weeks ago, freaking out. I seem to be making enough noise that people are realizing we could hurt George W. Bush in the elections. So they are trying to figure out at what point do they fine me. – Howard Stern, (“The Howard Stern Show,” March 19, 2004)

“American foreign policy is not understood by the vast majority of American people. And that this is due to a media that in this country is suppressed by Washington and by the owners of this media, who often tend to be corporate entities close to the [White House] and very often are arms manufacturers with a vested interest in chaos [in] the Middle East. And as a result Americans do not actually get both sides of the story.” Denis Halliday, (“Denis Halliday: The former head of the U.N.'s humanitarian program in Iraq says an American invasion would be an international crime — and would make the U.S. even less safe,” Salon.com, March 20, 2002)

“What is the guy in the ball cap with no college education doing asking these questions that the journalists and media should be asking? There's something really embarrassing and disgusting about that, don't you think? I'm not the one that should be doing this.”– Michael Moore, WGA Theater interview, Oct. 2002)

“As the war in Iraq gets murkier and more intense, coverage on U.S. cable news stations is, astonishingly, becoming quite simple: This war is all about “weapons of mass destruction.” Saddam Hussein is a despicable tyrant. The Iraqi people must be freed from their shackles. Vinay Menon (“American Hawks' Plan Sounds Chilling Today,” The Toronto Star, March 26, 2003)

“I'm afraid the press has not done its job. They have not forced government officials to explain why standard operating procedures were not followed [on Sept. 11] nor have they pressed the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to explain why they didn't report these hijackings as they were supposed to. — David Ray Griffin (“Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts: Theologian Charge White House Complicity in 9/11 Attack,” The Santa Barbara Independent, April 1, 2004)

“In case you don't understand just how bizarre the media's silence is regarding the Bush-bin Laden connections, let me draw an analogy to how the press or Congress may have handled something like this if the same shoe had been on the Clinton foot. If, after the terrorist attack on the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, it was revealed that President Bill Clinton and his family had financial dealings with Timothy McVeigh's family, what do you think your Republican Party and the media would have done with that one? Do you think at least a couple of questions might have been asked, like, “What is THAT all about?” Be honest, you know the answer. They would have asked more than a couple of questions. They would have skinned Clinton alive and thrown what was left of his carcass in Gitmo.” Michael Moore (“George of Arabia: The unholy alliance between the Bushes and the Saudis,” excerpted from Dude, Where's My Country?, Rolling Stone, Oct. 7, 2003)

About Face

“Even if Baghdad readmits United Nations arms inspectors, the United States will still pursue a 'regime change' policy, with or without the support of its allies.” — Colin Powell, (“Nothing Saddam does can save him, says Powell,” Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 8, 2002)

“All we're interested in is getting rid of those weapons of mass destruction. We think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off with a different leader, a different regime. But the principal offense here are weapons of mass destruction.” Colin Powell (Meet the Press, Oct. 20, 2002)

“The Europeans have asked for some kind of concrete evidence showing that he's producing WMD's, but no one can produce any evidence. . . . The whole weapons inspection issue is really just a ruse. The real agenda of the Bush administration is a regime change — which is just a polite word for assassination. It has nothing to do with the U.N. or weapons inspectors or even human rights.” — Denis Halliday (Salon.com interview, March 20, 2002)

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” — (President Bush, address to the nation, March 17, 2003)

“Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA.” — Former CIA counter-intelligence head Vincent Cannistraro, (“White House 'exaggerating Iraqi threat': Bush's televised address attacked by US intelligence,” Guardian, Oct. 2002)

“[Saddam] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” — Colin Powell, (Feb. 24, 2001, Cairo, Egypt)

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons — the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.” — George W. Bush (Radio Address, Feb. 8, 2003)

“We are able to keep arms from him [Saddam]. His military forces have not been rebuilt.” Condoleezza Rice, (CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer, July 29, 2001)

“We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.” George W. Bush (Nov. 10, 2001 in a speech to the United Nations)

“The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me, or it may already be too late. The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane. . . You and me, sport — we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be — the end of the world as we knew it.” Hunter s. Thompson (“The Nation's Capital,” ESPN, July 29, 2003)

Support the Troops

“Yesterday, when I read that US Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, in a moment of blustering arm-chair machismo, sent a message to the 'non-existent' Iraqi guerrillas to “bring 'em on,” the first image in my mind was a 20-year-old soldier. . . This is the lad who will hear from someone that George W. Bush, dressed in a suit with a belly full of rich food, just hurled a manly taunt from a 72-degree studio at the 'non-existent' Iraqi resistance.” — Stan Goff ( “Bring 'Em On?”: A Former Special Forces Soldier Responds to Bush's Invitation for Iraqis to Attack US Troops,” Counterpunch, July 3, 2003)

“And so it goes. Another war, another fight in the Gulf. I don't know how this war is going to turn out; no one does. Uncertainty and risk are the only guarantee in war. Of one thing I have no doubt: It is the civilians and the troops who will bear the cost of the Defense Department's lies friends of mine who are still in uniform today, who are back in the Middle East. . . I'm afraid for them, and I'm afraid for all of us. — Gulf War Veteran Charles Sheehan-Miles, (“A Vet Watches Rerun of a Bad War,” Alternet, April 7, 2003)

“The reports of deaths are terrible. Any American death is a terrible thing. But I think the American public understands that when you're fighting a war against terrorists, when you're fighting for the security of this country, that sacrifice is something that you'd have to expect.” — Paul Wolfowitz (Fox News Sunday, July 27, 2003)

“Iraq is like Vietnam, if for no other reason than it is the senseless exercise of enormous, unequalled military power against another fourth-rate power for ideological reasons which remain unfounded in reality. If it is necessary that our youth must die for our country, at least let it be for reasons that are real if not noble. If we demand no other quality from a president, let it be that he use America 's power in the world for realistic goals and not squander it in needless, destructive ideological flights of fancy.” — Vietnam veteran John Greeley (“Is Iraq Now George Bush's Vietnam?: As horror and violence spreads in Iraq, Ted Kennedy says Iraq is now George Bush's Vietnam!,” Intervention, April 6, 2004)

The Draft

“It's very hard to imagine a military operation on the scale of Desert Storm. The real challenge for us is to avoid situations where we would need to use large numbers of people in a large, on-the-ground effort.” — Former deputy secretary of defense Kurt Campbell, (“Over There?: Military Draft Unlikely for 'War' On Terrorism,” ABC News, Sept 18, 2001)

“Even if one imagines a major ground war against Iraq or Afghanistan, these are the sorts of things that we've been planning to do with our active duty force for a long time. If we had a five-year occupation and needed to help shepherd in new governments before we could withdraw. . . then conceivably you would get into the kinds of manpower requirements that would advise in favor of a draft.” — Michael O'Hanlon (“Over There?: Military Draft Unlikely for 'War' On Terrorism,” ABC News, Sept 18, 2001)

“I don't think a presidential candidate would seriously propose a draft. But an incumbent, safely in for a second term that might be a different story.” — The Cato Institute's Charles Pena (“Will U.S. Bring Back the Draft?,” Toronto Star, Nov. 5, 2003)

“The experts are all saying we're going to have to beef up our presence in Iraq We've failed to convince our allies to send troops, we've extended deployments so morale is sinking, and the president is saying we can't cut and run. So what's left? The draft is a very sensitive subject, but at some point, we're going to need more troops, and at that point the only way to get them will be a return to the draft.” — Rep. Charles Rangel (“Oiling up the draft machine?,” Salon.com, Nov. 3, 2003)

“Army officials declined to say which or how many soldiers would be affected when it expands its “stop-loss” program, which already prevents soldiers in certain heavily used specialties from leaving the military or being reassigned to other units. . . But the practice is deeply controversial within the military. Some soldiers have complained it amounts to a reinstitution of the draft. — (“Army Order Aims to Stretch Ranks,” The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 2004)

“The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages. The Selective Service System [SSS] has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it. . . ” — ('Special Skills Draft' on Drawing Board,” The San Francisco Chronicle, March 13, 2004)

“Presidential candidate Ralph Nader this weekend warned his constituents that a military draft is pending, and asked younger voters to prepare. The independent candidate noted that the federal government is filling seats on local draft boards as preparation for a reinstatement of the draft, which was eliminated in 1973. 'The Pentagon is quietly recruiting new members to fill local draft boards, as the machinery for drafting a new generation of young Americans is being quietly put into place,' Mr. Nader said in a press release. . . ” — (“Nader tells youths to brace for draft,”The Washington Times, April 13, 2004)

Mob Mentality

“This team is tough. You cross them and they go after you and raise questions about you and your credibility rather than what you have to say,” Thomas Mann (“Newsview: Cross Bush, Face Payback,” The Associated Press, March 27, 2004)

“If smear and slander can be an art form, they've perfected it. This is not their first smear rodeo.” — John Weaver (“Bush Martial Art: Attack On Clarke Is 'Smear Rodeo,'” The New York Observer, April 5, 2004)

“These are mean and nasty people, when it comes down to it,” — Richard Clarke (Nightline, March 24, 2004)

“These people are nasty and they have a long memory.” — Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, (“Confessions of a White House Insider,” Time, Jan. 11, 2004)

“The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he's in now. Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the '80s. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's — these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people.” — Ronald Reagan, Jr. (“Reagan blasts Bush,” Salon.com, April 14, 2003)

“It's a very closed, small, controlled group. This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There's almost a religious kind of certainty. There's no curiosity about opposing points of view. It's very scary. There's kind of a ghost agenda.” — Bonnie Beers (“Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2003)

“If you want to know the truth, I blame the Bush campaign for the death of [Lars Erik] Nelson, one of the best journalists in America. Nelson saw what was going on in Florida early on, and he didn't see it with any equanimity: One of his colleagues at the Daily News called him on the day of his death, the afternoon of the televised Florida Supreme Court argument, and recalled Nelson crying out, “I can't believe they said that!” over some outrageous assertion by the lawyers for Ms. Harris and Mr. Bush. A few hours later, he was found in front of his television set, dead of a stroke. No one will convince me it was unrelated.” Ron Rosenbaum, (“Of Bush, the Harris Rumor and James Baker's Junta,” The New York Observer, Dec. 4, 2000)

“Karen Hughes accused me of lying. And so I called Karen and asked her why she was saying this, and she had this almost Orwellian rap that she laid on me about how things she'd heard — that I watched her hear — she in fact had never heard, and she'd never heard Bush use profanity ever. It was insane…the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness….” Tucker Carlson (Salon.com interview, Sept. 13, 2003)

“I thought I had done a good job for the people of Georgia . I thought they knew me as someone who had served and sacrificed for the country, as someone who was willing to defend the country 35 years ago … But the White House and the media image makers turned me into some kind of villain,” Vietnam veteran Sen. Max Cleland, (“Cleland compares election loss to losing limbs,” Associated Press, June 14, 2003)

“Sadly, what we have here is a continuing pattern by this White House. If any member of this Senate, Democrat or Republican, takes to the floor, questions this White House policy, raises any questions about the gathering of intelligence information or the use of it, be prepared for the worst.” — Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) (“Senator fights leak allegation,” The Hill, July, 2003)

“It's a shot across the bow. . . that if you talk we'll take your family and drag them through the mud as well,” — Ambassador Joseph Wilson, on the Bush White House's felonious tactics. (“Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover,” Newsday, July, 22, 2003)

“After Zinni challenged the administration's rationale for the Iraq war last fall, he lost his job as President George W. Bush's Middle East peace envoy after 18 months. “I've been told I will never be used by the White House again.'” – (” GW Bush's America: Americans Pay Price for Speaking Out, Dissenters Face Job Loss, Arrest, Threats But Activists not Stopped by Backlash,” The Toronto Star, Aug. 9. 2003)

“Essentially, Mr. Bush and the owners' group he led bullied and misled the city into raising taxes to build a $200 million stadium that in effect would be handed over to the Rangers. As part of the deal, the city would even confiscate land from private owners so that the Rangers owners could engage in real estate speculation. “It was a $200 million transfer to Bush and Rangers owners. . . ” — Nicholas Kristof (“Bush and the Texas Land Grab,” The New York Times, July 16, 2002)

“But, it's like saying, are you going to be the president of the people who don't vote for you? Yes, I am. And, there will be a certain sense of discipline.” — President George Bush, (Transcript of the president's comments on whether or not Mexico would back the U.N., resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, Copley News Service, March 6, 2003)

Funny Money

“In the summer of 2001, Mr. Bush disbanded the US intelligence unit tracking funding of Al Qaeda. What is it our G-men were uncovering? According to two separate sources speaking to BBC, the funders of Al Qaeda fronts include those who have previously funded Bush family business and political ventures.” — Greg Palast, (“Bush and The Saudis Sittin' In A Tree,” GregPalast.com, Aug. 1, 2003)

“The mosaic of BCCI connections surrounding Harken Energy may prove nothing more than how ubiquitous the rogue bank's ties were. But the number of BCCI-connected people who had dealings with Harken — all since George W. Bush came on board — likewise raises the question of whether they mask an effort to cozy up to a presidential son.” — (The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 1991)

“Nowhere is the revolving U.S.-Saudi money wheel more evident than within President Bush's own coterie of foreign policy advisers, starting with the president's father, George H.W. Bush. At the same time that the elder Bush counsels his son on the ongoing war on terrorism, the former president remains a senior adviser to the Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group. That influential investment bank has deep connections to the Saudi royal family as well as financial interests in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and train the Saudi military.” (“Bush Advisers Cashed in on Saudi Gravy Train,” The Boston Herald, Dec. 11, 2001)

“Over the four decades since then, the ever-reaching Bushes have emerged as the first U.S. political clan to thoroughly entangle themselves with Middle Eastern royal families and oil money. The family even has links to the Bin Ladens — though not to family black sheep Osama bin Laden — going back to the 1970s.” — Kevin Phillips (“The Barreling Bushes: Four generations of the dynasty have chased profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest,” The Los Angeles Times, Jan, 11, 2004)

“The best way to explain the Carlyle Group is to use a euphemism that Dwight Eisenhower employed back in the 1960s, when he was leaving office. He warned the country of something called the military/industrial complex and that is probably the best way to describe what the Carlyle Group does. . . George Bush Sr. is working for this company that is the 11th largest defense contractor in the country at the same time his son is in office waging war. . . It is clearly a conflict of interest. And conflicts of interest lead to potential corruption.” — Dan Briody, (“Fresh Air,” NPR, May 6, 2003)

“[T]he generals are a little afraid of Iraq, a little worried about it, but it's the civilians in the White House, the gang of thieving, just lobbyists for the military industrial complex, who are running the White House, and to be against them is to be unpatriotic, then hell, call me a traitor.” — Hunter S. Thompson (“Patriot Games – American journalism post 9/11,” radio interview with Mick O'Regan, Australian Broadcast Company, Aug. 29, 2002)

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