Sunday, September 10, 2006

More Evidence Bush Manipulated Around Iraq War

There was enough evidence of fraud, incompetence and poor judgment in 2004 to make George W. Bush a one-term president but a majority of voters weren't quite quick enough to catch on thanks to a compliant press and the Republican noise machine. Nevertheless, the evidence just keeps pouring in. Here's an excerpt in Newsweek from a book called Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn:
Although it never got reported at the time, the most critical comments came from a Republican leader who rarely weighed in on national security issues: House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the number two Republican in the House. A month earlier, Armey, a Texan, had bluntly voiced his own misgivings about a war against Iraq. While campaigning in Iowa for a GOP congressional candidate, Armey told reporters that Saddam was “a blowhard.” But as long as the Iraqi dictator didn’t bother anybody outside his own borders, Armey had said, he couldn’t see any basis for invading Iraq: “We Americans don’t make unprovoked attacks."

(snip) the Cabinet Room , watching Bush pressure his congressional colleagues, Armey realized that Bush was serious, that he seemed committed to launching a war and overthrowing Saddam. He thought of another president from Texas, Lyndon Johnson, and what a reckless war had done to his administration. Armey, who had not said anything else about Iraq after his Iowa outburst, decided this was the moment to speak his mind directly to Bush. "Mr. President," he said, "if you go in there, you're likely to be stuck in a quagmire that will endanger your domestic agenda for the rest of your presidency."


Armey believed that Bush and other administration officials were over-reacting to the country’s post-9/11 fears. It was as if the Iraq warriors were gripped with what he later called a "he-man macho psychosis where they felt the need to go out and shoot somebody to show you’re the tough guy on the block." Armey could tell his comments were not going over well. "I was the skunk in the garden party," he said later.


Then Bush, according to Armey, "asked me if I would withhold any public comments until I had all the briefings. So I could understand how necessary this was." The president was saying, wait until you've seen the intelligence.

That was some heavy-duty game-playing and smugness on the part of Bush and Cheney. Of course, the 'evidence' they had was worthless but they were always promising to show more, a promise they never kept.

Many Americans still wonder why we went to war in Iraq. None of the reasons have ever held up. But maybe there's something to Armery's 'he-man macho psychosis' theory. Here's one more excerpt from the Newsweek article; the incident took place at a Congressional breakfast that Bush spoke at:
Saddam had shown his contempt for the United States, he told the legislators. There was no use in talking to him. “Do you want to know what the foreign policy of Iraq is to the United States is?” Bush asked angrily. The president then answered his own question by raising his middle finger and thrusting it inches in front Senator Daschle's face, according to a witness. “F--k the United States!" Bush continued. "That’s what it is—and that’s why we’re going to get him!"

This is a foreign policy? How did Bush ever become president? The historians will be studying Bush's failed presidency for generations trying to understand how our country got so out of whack that a blowhard like Bush managed to get elected.

Isikoff and Corn's book, Hubris, also contains more on the attempts to get Saddam Hussein to start the war before and during the selling of the Iraq war began in the 2002 midterm election; here's the story from The Guardian:
More than a year before the invasion of Iraq the CIA devised a plan, codenamed Anabasis, to use Iraqi exile fighters to seize an air base and declare a revolt against Saddam Hussein in the hope that his response would create a pretext for war, according to a book published tomorrow.

The plan was ultimately rejected by General Tommy Franks, who led the invasion in March 2003, but the CIA-backed fighters carried out sabotage operations and assassinations of Ba'athist officials in the run-up to the war, the book, called Hubris, reports.

And then, here's the truly lame John McCain as reported by Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times via KTLA:
"There is a certain amount of anti-Americanism which exists just because we're the world superpower," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "But in addition to that, deserved or undeservedly, the American image of hubris and condescension is damaging to our efforts. We should be more humble; we should be more considerate."

Asked whether Bush had made that problem worse, McCain smiled.

"I think sometimes the president's passion is interpreted as hubris…. [But] I think he fully recognizes that we have a problem, and I think he's working at trying to help improve America's image."

For one moment, McCain starts to make some sense and then he completely wimps out by failing to acknowledge that Bush is indeed the man most responsible for the reputation of hubris and condescension that is hampering our foreign policy at the moment. McCain is oblivious to the fact that the problem is not image; the problem is Bush's incompetence, arrogance and recklessness. Then there's the additional problem that Bush has used public relations (i.e., image-making) to deceive people; the world and a majority of Americans have finally caught on.


Anonymous euzoius said...

Very informative post.

Its seems there may have been multiple "reasons' for our unprovoked invasion of Iraq, probably skillfully deployed by the actual executive, Cheney.

I think it's clear that Cheney was very soberly looking at the invasion as a way to re-open Iraq to the world's oil companies in a way that would favor American Big Oil. The historical record of his 1990s speeches and the obvious, completely inexplicable diversion this was from hunting bin Ladin make this clear.

But the more hot-headed, intemperate and insecure Bush was likely also motivated by the "We have to kick some Arab ass!" rationale that you expose above. And perhaps Cheney (who is not insecure and is obviously a very calculating intellect) played on the mental and tempermental weakness of this most incompetent, utterly unqualified "president".

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Craig said...

Euzoius, thanks for your comments. I've appreciated your comments on other blog threads.

I suspect different people within the administration (and outside, if one includes Tony Blair and various media allies like Friedman) had different reasons for invading Iraq. Nobody bothered to notice that the reasons tended to contradict one another.

Of all of them, Cheney is the scary one. No question of that.

10:44 PM  

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