You’d think that President Bush would be facing, to quote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a long, hard slog in his bid to recapture the White House for a second term what with all the information trickling out of the president’s administration the past few months showing that senior administration officials knowingly misled the American public about the reasons for launching a preemptive attack against Iraq.
But, unfortunately, there’s too much infighting taking place among the nine Democrats campaigning for their party’s presidential nomination and not enough attention to the administration’s misdeeds. Too bad, because this is the type of ammunition that even the weakest Democratic candidate should be able to easily spin to convince voters that Bush should be replaced come November.
Still, despite the evidence that shows how Bush and his closest advisers have spent most of the three years they’ve been in office lying to the American public about their knowledge of the 9-11 terrorist attacks right on down to the reasons the United States invaded Iraq, Bush’s approval rating is still above 50 per cent and he holds a strong lead over all of the Democratic presidential contenders.
Maybe the drama now unfolding will put a permanent dent in Bush’s armor once and for all.
Bush’s former Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, has revealed in a new book, “The Price of Loyalty,” by journalist Ron Suskind, that the Iraq war was planned just days after the president was sworn into office.
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” O’Neill said, adding that going after Saddam Hussein was a priority 10 days after the Bush’s inauguration and eight months before Sept. 11.
“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” Suskind said. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”
As treasury secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.
O’Neill was fired from his post for disagreeing with Bush’s economic policies. In typical White House fashion, senior administration officials have labeled O’Neill a “disgruntled employee”, whose latest remarks are “laughable” and have no basis in reality.
Moreover, claims by O’Neill that the U.S. and Britain were operating from murky intelligence during the buildup to war came six days after Bush’s inauguration. It was then that British intelligence communicated to the CIA, the Pentagon and National Security Adviser Rice’s office that an Iraqi defector told British intelligence officials that Saddam Hussein had two fully operational nuclear bombs, according to two senior Bush advisers.
The London Telegraph reported the defector’s claims on Jan. 28, 2001.
“According to the defector, who cannot be named for security reasons, bombs are being built in Hemrin in north-eastern Iraq, near the Iranian border,” according to the Telegraph report. The defector said: "There are at least two nuclear bombs which are ready for use. Before the UN inspectors came, there were 47 factories involved in the project. Now there are 64."
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