Bush "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people&quot

Wow, Paul O’Neil (Shrub’s former Treasury Secretary) whips out the knives on his former boss in his upcoming book.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4715-2004Jan9.html

Bush is (or was) in over his head, intellectually and professionally. For the 1st 3 years (eh - - make that 2 years, 11 months) of his term I always thought he had the deer-in-the-headlight look about him- - like how I’d look if all of a sudden someone plunked me in the Oval Office. He’s behaving how I have when I’m in a professional situation where I don’t understand what everyone’s talking about - - he clams up, listens quietly, and retreats to issue proclamations after he (or his advisors) can think it through. This characterization of Bush doesn’t surprise me - - it’s how I envisioned him when discussing various public policy issues. He had no real experience in this type of thing, and for the first time real players were looking to him for answers and he had no idea what to say.

I will admit he seems to have gotten better, but he’s had 3 years. I’m not so sure he has gotten better at knowing what he’s doing, though, or if he’s only gotten better at looking like he knows what he’s doing.

EDIT: My calendar was screwed up. I take it back, anyhow - - he still doesn’t often come across to me as if he knows what he’s doing.

Money can’t buy intelligence.

CIA: Pork-barrel spending? Geraldo tackles the issue this weekend!

Larry, (can I call you Larry?) What we gots here is failure to communicate! Money can make an ugly girl better looking, but it can’t make Dubya smart.

…which conclude January 20, 2004…

…which conclude January 20, 2004…[/quote]

Darn, he’s nine days off. There’s a perfectly good post shot all to hell, I guess.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/005628.php

Oops.

There is only one possible conclusion: Paul O’Neill and Ron Suskind are attempting to perpetrate a massive hoax on the American people.

Jesus, and they call us liberals conspiracy mongers. I like how one document being something else invalidates O’Neill’s statements about Cabinet meetings where they discussed finding a way to invade, though.

Certainly puts a dent in his credibility though, his “proof” being nothing of the sort…

Right. I got that. I also made a (what I thought was a) out-of-context-funny. Thanks for the patronization, though! Say, shouldn’t that read: “What we have here is a failure”…oh nevermind.

Back to the original subject: Of course Bush had a plan to attack Iraq pre-9/11. So did his father and Clinton. I’d even be willing to bet that every president since JFK had a blueprint for blowing up Cuba somewhere handy, too. Now, this isn’t the same as having an intention to attack Iraq. If he can prove that without comprimising anymore classified information, Bush has some problems in '04. Otherwise, I say sour grapes.

Bullshit. The official Clinton policy was “regime change”, with methodology unspecified; they were working on coups and the like.

The “classified information” shtick is just funny.

 VICE PRESIDENT GORE:  I haven't heard a big difference right --

in the last few exchanges.

 GOV. BUSH:  Well, I think -- it's hard to tell.  I think that --

you know, I would hope to be able to convince people I could handle
the Iraqi situation better. I mean, we don’t –

 MR. LEHRER:  With Saddam Hussein, you mean?

 GOV. BUSH:  Yes, and --

 MR. LEHRER:  You could get him out of there?

 GOV. BUSH:  I'd like to, of course, and I presume this

administration would as well. But we don’t know – there’s no
inspectors now in Iraq. The coalition that was in place isn’t as
strong as it used to be. He is a danger; we don’t want him fishing in
troubled waters in the Middle East. And it’s going to be hard to –
it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the
pressure on him.

From the presidential debates in 2000.

More from that debate:

http://www.c-span.org/campaign2000/transcript/debate_101100.asp

He’s clearly talking about strengthening the sanctions, not blurting out he’s going to invade.

Another one:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/31/sprj.irq.bush.blair.topics/

Was U.S. looking for a war with Iraq?
BUSH: "Actually, prior to September the 11th, we were discussing smart sanctions. We were trying to fashion a sanction [regimen] that would make it more likely to be able to contain somebody like Saddam Hussein. After September the 11th, the doctrine of containment just doesn’t hold any water, as far as I’m concerned.

"I told you the strategic vision of our country shifted dramatically. And it shifted dramatically because we now recognize that oceans no longer protect us; that we’re vulnerable to attack.

“And the worst form of attack could come through somebody acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them on the American people [or] on our friends in Great Britain.”

Maybe he was lying!

Frankly, I don’t think Bush was planning a take-down of Saddam Hussein prior to actually getting into office. I would say that it looks like Cheney may have been. He saw to it that neocons were placed at high levels in The Pentagon and State Department and many of them were signers of the Project for A New American Century document which more or less spells out the need for American domination of the middle east and control of its oil reserves.

Bush’s brain, that is to say Karl Rove, probably saw both political benefits and pitfalls of a move against Hussein and likely supported the concept of a ‘wartime’ president for its obvious political advantages. However without a good excuse it would have been politically impossible to get the ball rolling. Enter 9-11. That very day high level discussions have been documented that pointed to this being the very excuse that was needed to ‘get Saddam’.

Now you have all factors in alignment, political advantage (war on terror, wartime president) as well as pandering the to base (corporate contracts and religious right insiders). And you have a insulated, incurious but highly moralistic president casting around for a plan - and ending up with the neocon plan in his lap. And they sell it on good vs. evil rhetoric. This he can understand. It’s not some confusing talk about UN resolutions, root causes, or historical trending. It’s ass kicking for god and, better yet, against the guy your father let get away.

It wasn’t the WMD threat that lead us to attack Iraq. It was a strategic vision generated by the same political ‘B’ team that overestimated the Soviet threat back during Bush, Sr.'s day and called for the United States to follow a policy of preemption and exceptionalism back then - and were disavowed by the administration when they leaked the document to the press. What motivates them is in part idealism, if a bit simplistic, and in part advantage. A Perle is an operator very different from a Wolfowitz but they’re part and parcel of the same political movement that captured the Pentagon and the Vice Presidency.

The official “out in the public” policy, correct. If you believe there was no contingency plan for an invasion of Iraq, not to mention Iran, N. Korea and China, then you’re just naive. Did you know we have a special forces squad(SEALs, I believe) one executive order away from going in and disabling either Pakistan or India’s nuclear arsenal? That’s that one squad’s sole purpose, and neither of those nations are hostile to the U.S. Just because you and I don’t want to see it come to war doesn’t mean our leaders aren’t being responsible and planning for the worst. You’re instinctive, heroic defense of Clinton warms the heart, however.

All of this is moot, of course, if O’Neil can prove that these talks were about “we’re definately going in” rather than “what are we going to do if…” He seems like a nice enough guy, but there IS a perfectly legitamate motive for him to harm Bush in this scenario.

Glad you like it. I hope that sarcasm on my part doesn’t mask the bigger problem with this: Even if O’Neil has some legitimate dirt on Bush this shit will discredit him. I thought I’d be preaching to the choir here.

There’s also a contingency plan to invade the UK if it ever comes up. Pretty big gap between that and planning to find a way to implement it.

I have no idea what’s up with the “classified information” shit. It’s a fucking oilfield assessment, apparently.

I can tell you from firsthand experience that information does not have to be explosive or earth-shattering to be classified.

However without a good excuse it would have been politically impossible to get the ball rolling. Enter 9-11. That very day high level discussions have been documented that pointed to this being the very excuse that was needed to ‘get Saddam’.

This interpretation betrays a typical inability to even comprehend the argument that any credible “war on terror” demanded a show of resolve against a WMD proliferator.

(Before continuing, we should probably need to agree on the necessity for a “war on terror.” If you don’t think so, then save yourself some time and skip the rest of this post.)

Al Qaeda was encouraged to blast New York and Washington because it had learned throughout the Nineties that when it struck US interests, the US not only failed to fight back but actually rolled back from its positions – abandoning Somalia after the Mogadishu battle, and abandoning the ports of Yemen after the Cole bombing.

Everyone laughs at the analogizing of Qaeda with Fascism — but the real analogy has little to do with the respective menaces and everything to do with the manner in which western governments inadvertently emboldened both to pursue greater and greater outrages. Just as the word “Munich” has become synonymous with the useless policy of appeasing aggressive dictators, so too shall “Nairobi and Dar as Salaam” eventually become synonymous with our failure to stand down the Qaeda/Taliban threat in 1998, when it first became obvious that they were capable of catastrophic coordinated attacks against American interests.

But wait, Morris – we all get the Afghanistan operation. What’s it got to do with Saddam?

In today’s assymetric strategic environment, those rogue regimes that feel threatened by western/liberal/progressive governments have only one realistic option for achieving what might politely be called “strategic parity.” That option is the deterrent threat of catastrophic WMD attack by terrorist proxy. (And by “deterrent,” I mean “deterring America from interfering with whatever designs the regime has cooked up.”)

The integrated aims of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns are to demonstrate the two inextricable new norms that we now propose to the world’s remaining rogue regimes — do not harbor anti-American terrorist groups, and give up your ambitions of ever holding the free world hostage via WMD. We’ve looked the other way and hoped for the best for far too long, but the party is now over.

“US welcomes Iran nuclear report”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3241662.stm

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, warned that any further Iranian failure to co-operate would not be tolerated.

He said it was a “serious and ominous” message to Iran that it must comply with its nuclear obligations in the future.

Mr ElBaradei said he would report early next year on Iran’s compliance.

“Libya allows snap nuclear checks”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3354211.stm

Libya has agreed to allow immediate inspections of its nuclear facilities, the head of the UN nuclear agency says.

Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Libya, said the Libyans were being fully co-operative…

…Earlier this month, Libya said it would abandon its aspirations of developing weapons of mass destruction.

“US welcomes N Korea nuclear offer”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3373863.stm

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has welcomed North Korea’s offer to suspend testing and producing nuclear weapons and freeze its nuclear industry."

Agree. Disagree. But there it is. The least I ask of you is that you know your history – demonstrations of firm resolve by the world’s free nations have historically had a cowing effect on potential aggressors, as sad a statement on human affairs as that may be.

Dan, that might be.

I would have more confidence in this motive if indeed, the President or some administration member had actually said it. But they didn’t – they went on about WMD, human rights, sanctions, what not, never once saying that this was just part of a plan to “show terrorist supporting states who’s boss.”

I have problems with an administration that conceals the real reasons for going to war.