Donald Rumsfeld

Absolutely Nothing

Tragically, all we’ve fought for in Iraq, all that 4,500 American lives were shed to gain, is on the cusp, potentially, of vanishing.
– Mitt Romney, “Ideas Summit,” 6/13/2014

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Larry Downing/Reuters|

This retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer has a lot to say to the folks beating the Iraq war drums once again.  The language is that of a military man…you can pass or you can read it.  It’s entirely up to you TFC friends…

Stonekettle Station

All we fought for in Iraq.

All we fought for in Iraq is on the cusp of vanishing.

That’s what Mitt Romney says.

We fought for. We fought for. We.

Oh, so it’s we now, is it, Mitt?

We.

I must have missed you over there, but it was a busy place. We. The guy who helped set up “pro-draft” rallies and yet somehow managed to avoid service in Vietnam is upset about losing what “we” fought for? We.

Yeah, fuck you, Mitt.

And you’re all welcome to quote me on that.

Somebody stepped into my office yesterday and asked how I felt about it.  He wanted to know how I felt about “losing” Iraq.

How do I feel about losing all we fought for?

I don’t know.

First, I’m going to need somebody to explain to me exactly what it was that we were fighting for.

What was it? What is it that we gained, according to Mitt Romney? And what is on the cusp of vanishing? What is that? No, really, somebody please explain it to me.

Because I’d love to know.

The Wikipedia says Operation Iraqi Freedom started on the 20th of March, 2003, which is just another reason why you shouldn’t believe anything you read in the Wikipedia (don’t, just don’t).  That’s not correct, the war began a day earlier.  See, I was there on the night the war reallystarted, at precisely 2200 hours, on the 19th of March in the Northern Arabian Gulf.  I was there when US Navy SEALs and Polish GROM stormed the MABOT and KAAOT oil terminals a full day before Saddam Hussein discovered that his time was finally up.  In point of fact, I had arrived there four months before, a few days before Christmas in December of 2002. From the day of my arrival (and before that really) to the day the war started, and for months after, I was a Navy intelligence officer working in support of the invasion force.  There’s not much I don’t know about the events leading up to war and the aftermath of the invasion.

Well, not much except for that one little detail.

Why.

All these years later, and I still don’t know why.

Oh, I mean, I know what they told us, sure, Saddam Hussein attacked America on 9-11.  Right? That’s what they said, that’s what the Commander in Chief told us. Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaida, remember? The son of a bitch and his stinking nation of terrorists attacked us. The Iraqis had it coming. And Georgie Boy was going to finish what his daddy started. Hooray! Right? That’s what they said.

Except those of us in the professional intelligence community looked at each other and thought, wait, what? How the hell did we miss that? Saddam and Osama bin Laden are working together?Buwah? But Rumsfeld, he had his own little extra-constitutional intelligence outfit staffed with his simpering cronies who he paid to blow smoke up his pinched grey ass until his colon resembled beef jerky and he sure didn’t have much use for us – after all, we were just the military he had.

Ours, as they say, is not to reason why, ours is to but do and die, right? At least that’s what Rummy told us and you know, you go into war with the Secretary of Defense you have, not the one you’d like to have. And if Rumsfeld says he’s got the real scoop, it must be true? Right? Sure, that justifies his contempt for us, sure it does.

Except, Rumsfeld’s little masturbation fantasy turned out not to be the case.

But hey, never mind that, Saddam Hussein was threatening us anyway, wasn’t he? Sure he was, in fact, that’s the first time you heard the phrase “Weapons of Mass Destruction” isn’t it? The bastard had nukes and germs and war gas and he was just itching to use them on America, wasn’t he?  Heck we even had pictures of “mobile weapons labs” to prove it, isn’t that what Colin Powell told the UN and the world? And by damn Saddam had been buying Yellow Cake uranium from Niger, right? Colin Powell wouldn’t lie to us, would he? He was a hero, a general, he wouldn’t send his comrades into war on a lie now would he?

Except all that turned out to be bullshit too, and Colin Powell was either a dupe of staggering proportions or he was the kind of Soldier who would fuck his buddy right in the ass without so much as a reach-around and I’ll leave it up to you to figure which one is worse.

But by the time we figured out we’d been ass-raped by Colin Powell, we were shoulder deep in Iraq, Baghdad was burning, Iraq’s army had thrown down their weapons and taken off their uniforms and had melted into the population, Saddam had vanished and his sons were dead, and the President of the United States had already declared victory from the deck of an American aircraft carrier.

And so, the objective became … what?

Hearts and minds and freedom and democracy and nation building and magic bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows.

Unfortunately, it turns out we’re real good at the blowing shit up part, not so good at the magic bunnies part.

Which in retrospect, shouldn’t be all that surprising – given that in order to build a civilization it helps if you actually have some vague familiarity with the people involved.  Needless to say, we didn’t. And we didn’t care. To America, they were all little brown towelheads, sand niggers, raggedy-assed camel jockeys who ought to be grateful to America for burning down their shitty country.  Sunni? Shia? Turkman? Baathists? What’s that? What do you mean they hate each other? They’re all Muslims aren’t they? They’re all Aayrabs, right? What do you mean they hate each other? And it all fell apart, disintegrating into insurgency and murder and bloody civil war – just exactly as anybody who actually knew something about the region and its people and its history could have told you it would.  We lost less than a hundred soldiers in the actual war, the “peace” cost us nearly 5000 more.  And the Iraqis? Who the hell knows? A hundred thousand? A million? It’s impossible to tell.

And it turns out that freedom and democracy and magic flying bunnies were as elusive as Iraq’s supposed WMDs – or Colin Powell’s honor.

So, what was it again that we were fighting for?

They had no idea what we were fighting for, those saber-rattling Chicken Hawks, the cowardly connected wealthy weasels who’d managed to avoid serving in their own war, who kept theirchildren out of uniform, but just couldn’t wait to send us into one of their own making. They sent us off with parades and marching bands and cheering crowds … and brought the bodies home in secret, hidden away from the TV cameras and the public.

They had no plan and no idea what we were dying for, but they assured us what the war wasn’t about – it wasn’t about religion.

Oh no, sir, we weren’t fighting to eradicate Muslims, it wasn’t about Islam.

The Evangelical Christian religious extremists who started this war told us it wasn’t about religion.

Heh heh, riiiiiight. And Vietnam was really about containing communism. Sure.

Maybe they should have had Colin Powell tell that whopper to the UN, but he’d quit by then and was suddenly as invisible to America as those flag draped metal boxes arriving at Dover Air Force base in the middle of the night.

Americans who a few years before had been proudly waving their little flags as Johnny marched off to war were suddenly all shifty-eyed, they slapped a $5 dollar made in China magnet on the bumper of their giant gas-sucking SUVs, Support Our Troops, and with sardonically raised eyebrows complained to each other over the pumps about the immorality of a war fought for oil.

But that wasn’t true either, was it?

Iraq’s oil fields, the ones we fought and died to preserve on orders from the White House, the off-shore terminals the SEALs and the GROM risked their lives to save on that night back in 2003, the precious Iraqi oil that was going to pay for the war and pay to rebuild the country we’d blown up, well, that oil is nowhere to be found today, is it?

So, tell me again, what exactly is it that’s on the “cusp of vanishing?”

I mean it sure isn’t peace.

It’s not freedom for the Iraqi people, despite the war’s idiotic name.

It sure isn’t regional stability.

It’s not the end of terrorism or the near universal hatred of America in the Middle East.

And now that Halliburton and KBR and Blackwater and Dick Cheney have made their billions and cashed out, it isn’t even about long term economic investments and American business.

Hell, it’s not even about cheap gas.

So, go on, enlighten me. Because even though I was there, I’ve got no goddamned idea what it is that we’ve lost in Iraq beyond the 4,487 men and women we shipped home in metal boxes, beyond the 32,223 wounded and maimed, beyond the trillions of dollars we spent in our rage and our drive for revenge and our lust for blood.

Today, John McCain and Mitt Romney and the rest of the conservative war machine are railing against the President.

McCain stirred from the yellow fog of his bamboo cage and proclaimed in his best Old Man Yelling At Clouds voice, “We won Iraq! Obama lost it!”

Really Johnny Walnuts? Tell me, what did we win? And what have we lost? Please be specific, because I’d really like to know.

We no more “won” Iraq than McCain’s own father “won” Vietnam.

McCain claims he “predicted” the sectarian violence now tearing Iraq apart. Really? Where the hell was clairvoyant John McCain back in 2003 when he voted along with the rest of them to send us into war? And later, where was his great predictive ability when Iraq began tearing itself apart? I guess he was at a Dixie Chicks concert, he must have been out in the lobby ordering a plate of Freedom Fries when his pal George W. Bush let Iraq disintegrate into civil war.

And so here we are.

The same old motley cast of characters, the warhawks and the chickenhawks and the billionaires and the simple-minded saber-rattlers and the same old hate-filled pundits, they just can’t wait to jump back into Iraq.

Mitt Romney, John McCain, one who never served and one who damned well ought to know better, men who both wanted to be President of the United States and who both lost to Barack Obama, they just can’t wait to send other people’s kids back into the meat grinder.

Here’s my question.

Why?

Why, John McCain?

Why, Mitt Romney?

Why, conservatives?

This time you fuckers goddamned well tell me why.

What’s the goal? What’s the objective? Is it to end terrorism? Is it to enforce peace at the muzzle of a gun? Is it it to make defense contractors rich? Is it for jobs? Or is it for magic flying bunnies who shoot rainbows and cheap gasoline out of their little assholes to the sound of Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Or, or, is it just because you hate Barack Obama?

That’s it, isn’t it?

It is.

You sons of bitches one and all, you simpering capering madmen, this time at least have the courage to face the cameras, to look into America’s eyes, and tell them that their sons and daughters will be dying because you John McCain, because you Mitt Romney, because you Dick Cheney, because you Donald Rumsfeld, because you George W. Bush you lying bastard, because you conservatives hate Barack Obama and for no other reason. Go on, tell us, go on. Wave your little flags and beat your fleshy chests, roll out the marching bands and tell us just how many more American soldiers should die. Go on, put a number on it. Ten? A hundred? Fifty four thousand? How many of us have to die? How many more bodies will it take to satiate your mindless hunger for blood and revenge? How many more American lives are worth your insane hatred of the president? How many? How much further into debt should we drive our nation, another trillion dollars? Two? Ten? A hundred? Put a price on it you insane sons of bitches, go on, give me a number, write me a check. Tell me how much you’re willing to pay, show me the goddamned money. How many more years? How many? One? Five? Another decade? Fifty? What is it? Don’t wave your hands and make some vague prognostication, give me a number, how many lives, how much money, how many years? You look us in the eye and you fucking tell us.

Sure, let’s go back to Iraq.

Oh, yes, let us do that.

I’ll dig out my uniform and strap on my pistol and gird up my sword and ride into battle yet again.

Just so long as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and every single one of those powdered, Botoxed talking heads at Fox News are in the vanguard. That’s right, you cowards, you put on a uniform and you lead the charge this time around. The Koch brothers and Mitt Romney can pay for it, every goddamned penny, we’ll bleed them until they’re dry and then we’ll pull the gold fillings from their teeth to pay for it right along with the rest of their Wall Street cronies. You fuckers got rich off the last one, you can damned well pay for this one. And when you run out of money, we’ll take your blood, fair’s fair.

Strap John McCain into the cockpit of an A-4 Skyhawk and let him fly air cover.

If he gets himself shot down and taken prisoner again, well, you know what? Fuck him, leave him to the enemy because frankly his hate and bile and raging insanity have done more damage to this country than Bowe Bergdahl ever did.

The terrorists can keep him.

You want to go to back to war? No problem, this time, you go first.

Back then, as an officer, mine was not to reason why.

But this time, well, this time I’m a civilian. And as a citizen of the United States, this time I demand to know why.

So, you saber-rattling sons of bitches, you look me in the eye, and you tell me.

Peace love and understanding tell me
Is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

War what is it good for
Absolutely nothing…

– Edwin Starr, “War” 1969

 

 

Obama Takes a Big Shot at Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in Syria Speech

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PoliticusUSA

President Obama responded to his Bush administration critics like Liz Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld with a not so thinly veiled shot at their failed foreign policy during his Syria speech.

Obama said:

And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. That’s my judgment as commander in chief.
But I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress, and I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.

Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them.

Here’s a hint about who the president was speaking to. Recently, Liz Cheney who served in Daddy and W’s administration said that Obama had taken, “an amateurish approach to national security and foreign policy.” Donald Rumsfeld, one of the major architects of Bush’s disastrous wars has been all over cable television bashing Obama, “This president has tried to blame everybody or anybody, for everything and leadership requires that you stand up, take a position, provide clarity and take responsibility. And I can’t imagine him saying that he didn’t draw the red line. But he did draw a red line…. We have ears!”

President Obama was talking directly to Cheney and Rumsfeld when he mentioned the decade that put more war making power in the hands of the president. Rumsfeld and the Cheneys are some of the biggest advocates for the belief in unlimited Commander in Chief powers. Obama has rejected this argument from day one, and it is why the neo-cons despise him. They think that listening to the American people on questions of war is a sign of weakness. To them a real president shoots first and asks questions later.

One of the key nuances of the president’s Syria speech was that Obama was trying to build a consensus while directly confronting the failed policies of the past that created America’s distrust and war weariness.

Obama took a big shot at the grumbling war mongers of the Bush administration, and the message was sent that this president won’t be doing things their way.

Rumsfeld ‘Can’t Tell’ If Obama Has Switched Sides In War On Terror (VIDEO)

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is once again not clear on which side of an issue he stands.  Seems like we’ve been here before…

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.   07-Jun-2002

Talking Points Memo

Speaking at a conservative gathering late last month, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he didn’t know if President Barack Obama had switched sides in the War on Terror.

The video below — mined by Democratic opposition researcher James Carter IV — shows Rumsfeld answering a question from a man off-screen at an event hosted by the David Horowtiz Freedom Center on May 21 in the Los Angeles area.

“As you go around the country, do you have any sense or the same sort of sinking feeling that the rest of us have that [Obama has] actually switched sides in the War on Terror?” the man asked, drawing a smattering of applause from the audience.

“You know, I just don’t feel competent to answer,” Rumsfeld said. “I can’t tell.”

Rumsfeld added, “It bothers me greatly that he’s unwilling to identify the enemy. I don’t see how you win if you don’t.”

Carter, best-known for spotting the infamous “47 percent” video involving Mitt Romney, told TPM that the full video of Rumsfeld’s appearance went up on the Freedom Center’s websiteon Monday. How did he find the video?

“This is just what I do,” Carter said.

 

Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq

George Bush Dr. Strangelove

Putting things into context regarding “lies” and “damn lies“.  Until the GOP can answer why they lied about going into Iraq, I personally believe they need to seriously step back from the Susan Rice attacks.

They can’t have it both ways.

This is why Americans are sick and tired of GOP tactics that have allowed them to get away with this blatant double standard for years.

Mother Jones – Sept.-Oct. 2006

Mushroom clouds, duct tape, Judy Miller, Curveball. Recalling how Americans were sold a bogus case for invasion.

AT A CONGRESSIONAL hearing examining the march to war in Iraq, Republican congressman Walter Jones posed “a very simple question” about the administration’s manipulation of intelligence: “How could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?”

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, responded with an equally simple answer: “The vice president.”

But the blame for Iraq does not end with Cheney, Bush, or Rumsfeld. Nor is it limited to the intelligence operatives who sat silent as the administration cherry-picked its case for war, or with those, like Colin Powell or Hans Blix, who, in the name of loyalty or statesmanship, did not give full throat to their misgivings. It is also shared by far too many in the Fourth Estate, most notably the New York Times‘ Judith Miller. But let us not forget that it lies, inescapably, with we the American people, who, in our fear and rage over the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, allowed ourselves to be suckered into the most audacious bait and switch of all time.

The first drafts of history are, by their nature, fragmentary. They arrive tragically late, and too often out of order. Back in 2006, we attempted to strip the history of the runup to the war to its bones, to reconstruct a skeleton that we thought might be key in resolving the open questions of the Bush era. As we prepare to leave Iraq, we present that timeline to you again. MotherJones.com offers a greatly expanded (if now technologically outdated) version of this timeline, one that is completely sourced to primary documents and initial news accounts. It was our hope to make this second draft of history as definitive as possible. So that we won’t be fooled again.—THE EDITORS

8/14/92 Defense Secretary Dick Cheney declares President Bush Sr. wise not to invade Baghdad and “get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.”
4/15/93 Saddam Hussein reportedly tries to assassinate Bush Sr.
1/26/98 Project for a New American Century (PNAC)—founded by Cheney, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and other top neocons—demands President Clinton undertake the “removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime.”
6/23/98 “The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States.”—Halliburton CEO Cheney
8/7/98 Al Qaeda bombs US embassies in Africa, killing 220 and injuring some 4,000.
10/31/98 Clinton signs the Iraq Liberation Act. Regime change becomes official US policy.
Late 1998 Gen. Anthony Zinni, head of US Central Command, examines Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi’s military plan to overthrow Saddam with 1,000 men. He warns Congress it is “pie in the sky, a fairy tale.”
Nov. 1999 Chalabi-connected Iraqi defector “Curveball”—a convicted sex offender and low-level engineer who became the sole source for much of the case that Saddam had WMD, particularly mobile weapons labs—enters Munich seeking a German visa. German intel officers describe his information as highly suspect. US agents never debrief Curveball or perform background check. Nonetheless, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and CIA will pass raw intel on to senior policymakers. [Date the public knew: 11/20/05]
8/27/00 America must not act as “an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.”—VP candidate Cheney
10/3/00 Debating Al Gore, George W. Bush says he’d commit troops only with an “exit strategy,” and he’d be “very careful about using our troops as nation builders.”
10/11/00 In a subsequent debate, Bush says: “If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us.”
10/12/00 Al Qaeda attacks USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, killing 17 and injuring 39.
11/6/00 Congress doubles funding for Iraqi opposition groups to more than $25 million; $18 million is earmarked for Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, which then pays defectors for anti-Iraq tales.
11/7/00 Election night: Indecision 2000 begins.
Nov. 2000 Future Chief Justice John Roberts flies to Florida to advise Jeb Bush during recount.
12/12/00 Supreme Court hands presidency to George W. Bush.
Early 2001 Enron CEO Ken Lay named to Bush Energy Department transition team. Jack Abramoff appointed to Interior Department transition team.
1/30/01 Saddam’s removal is top item of Bush’s inaugural national security meeting. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill later recalls, “It was all about finding a way to do it. The president saying, ‘Go find me a way to do this.'” [Date the public knew: 1/10/04]
2/11/01 “Iraq is probably not a nuclear threat at the present time.”—Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Fox News’ Tony Snow
2/14/01 Dick Cheney‘s energy task force begins secret meetings with oil company executives. [Date the public knew: 4/16/01]
2/16/01 Bush: “To send a clear signal to Saddam,” US and UK bomb targets near Baghdad.
2/24/01 Saddam “has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”—Secretary of State Colin Powell
2/26/01 Future Iraq Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III says: “The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism.” [Date the public knew: 4/29/04]
3/5/01 Pentagon produces document titled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts” for Cheney’s task force. Includes a map of areas for potential exploration. [Date the public knew: 7/17/03]
4/10/01 Lone CIA analyst known only as “Joe” tells top Bush brass that aluminum tubes bought by Iraq can only be for nuclear centrifuges.[Date the public knew: 8/10/03]
8/6/01 On vacation in Crawford, Bush receives a Presidential Daily Briefing warning, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” FBI highlights Al Qaeda activities consistent with hijacking preparations, as well as surveillance of federal buildings. [Date the public knew:5/18/02]CIA officer flies to Crawford to call Bush’s attention to document. Bush replies, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.” [Date the public knew: 6/20/06]
8/10/01 Major air raid on Iraq.
8/17/01 Memo to CIA from Energy Department experts eviscerates “Joe’s” theory that aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq are for nuclear centrifuges. Memo given to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who later claims tubes are clear evidence of Iraqi nuke program. [Date the public knew:5/1/04]
Sep. 2001 Curveball granted German asylum, ceases cooperating. British spy agency MI6 has told CIA that “elements of [his] behavior strike us as typical of…fabricators.” [Date the public knew: 11/20/05]
9/10/01 NSA intercepts messages that say, “The match is about to begin” and “Tomorrow is zero hour.” Not translated until Sept. 12. [Date the public knew: 6/10/02]
9/11/01 Al Qaeda attacks. Minutes taken by a Rumsfeld aide five hours later: “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit SH [Saddam Hussein] @ same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden].”[Date the public knew: 9/4/02]
9/12/01 According to counterterror czar Richard Clarke, “[Bush] told us, ‘I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this.'” Told evidence against Al Qaeda overwhelming, Bush asks for “any shred” Saddam was involved. [Date the public knew: 3/22/04]
9/17/01 Bush wants Osama “Dead or Alive.”
9/18/01 Anthrax attacks begin.
9/18/01 In a move a federal judge will later call “conscience-shocking,” EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman says area around Ground Zero is safe and encourages residents to return.
9/18/01 Chalabi meets with top DOD officials. [Date the public knew: 5/04]
9/19/01 Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, chaired by Richard Perle and featuring Henry Kissinger and Newt Gingrich, declares that Iraq should be invaded after Afghanistan. [Date the public knew:10/12/01]
9/20/01 British PM Tony Blair advises Bush not to lose focus on Al Qaeda. Bush replies: “I agree with you, Tony. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” [Date the public knew:5/1/04]
9/20/01 PNAC letter to Bush: “Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.” [Date the public knew: 9/21/01]
9/21/01 Bush briefed by intel community that there is no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11. [Date the public knew: 11/22/05]
9/21/01 Justice Department lawyer John Yoo declares Fourth Amendment flexible, writing: “[T]he government may be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties.” [Date the public knew: 10/24/04]
9/25/01 Yoo forges doctrine of preemption, writing that Bush may use his war powers to act against groups or individuals, even if it would be “difficult to establish [that they] have been or may be implicated in attacks.” [Date the public knew: 3/22/02]
Oct. 2001 Rumsfeld sets up own intelligence unit to look for Iraqi links to terrorism. [Date the public knew: 10/24/04]
Oct.-Nov. 2001 Prisoners rendered to Egypt and Jordan. After prolonged torture and subsequent years of imprisonment at Guantánamo, some of these same prisoners are found to have no terror connection and released. [Date the public knew: 6/27/06]
10/7/01 Afghanistan invaded.
10/8/01 Office of Homeland Security established.
10/11/01 Terror alert: Terrorists could attack unspecified targets in “next several days.”
10/25/01 Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act passes 98-1 in the Senate.
10/30/01 Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announces, “We believe the United States could very well be targeted this week.”
11/8/01 The New York Times and Frontline report that an Iraqi general witnessed the Iraqi military training Arab fighters to hijack airplanes. Mother Jones later reports general to be bogus Chalabi plant. [Date the public knew: 3/1/06]
11/11/01 Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, top Al Qaeda paramilitary trainer, captured in Pakistan.
11/21/01 Bush collars Rumsfeld physically and asks: “What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.”—Bob Woodward. [Date the public knew: 4/18/04]
11/24/01 “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh captured.
11/26/01 Bush declares, “Saddam is evil.”
Late Nov. 2001 Osama bin Laden, pinned down at Tora Bora, slips away.
12/2/01 Enron declares bankruptcy.
12/3/01 Terror alert.
12/9/01 Cheney on Meet the Press: “Well, the evidence is pretty conclusive that the Iraqis have indeed harbored terrorists.” Also claims 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi spy in Prague, a claim he’ll repeat long after CIA and Czechs disavow.
12/12/01 Rumsfeld demands plan for war against Iraq. Gen. Tommy Franks proposes softening up Iraq: “I’m thinking in terms of spikes, Mr. Secretary. Spurts of activity followed by periods of inactivity.” [Date the public knew: 8/3/04]
12/22/01 Shoe bomber Richard Reid tries to blow up an AA flight from Paris to Miami.
12/28/01 Gen. Franks briefs Bush on Iraq war plans. [Date the public knew: 3/5/03]
Early 2002 Bush approves “The Program,” which permits NSA to surveil US citizens without a warrant, court approval, or signoff from the Justice Dept. [Date the public knew: 12/16/05]
Jan. 2002 The FBI, which favors standard law enforcement interrogation practices, loses debate with CIA Director George Tenet, and Libi is transferred to CIA custody. Libi is then rendered to Egypt. “They duct-taped his mouth, cinched him up and sent him to Cairo,” an FBI agent told reporters. “At the airport the CIA case officer goes up to him and says, ‘You’re going to Cairo, you know. Before you get there, I am going to find your mother and I’m going to fuck her.'” [Date the public knew: 6/13/04] Under torture, Libi invents tale of Al Qaeda operatives receiving chemical weapons training from Iraq. “This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear,” a CIA source later tells ABC.[Date the public knew: 11/18/05]
1/9/02 Yoo memo to Pentagon brass declares that the laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions, do not apply to the conflict in Afghanistan. [Date the public knew: 5/24/04]
1/11/02 William Howard Taft IV, the State Department’s chief legal adviser, responds to Yoo: “Your position is, at this point, erroneous in its substance and untenable in practice. Let’s talk.”
1/11/02 First 20 detainees arrive at Guantanamo.
1/22/02 Navy photo released showing detainees bound and hooded. Rumsfeld defends the detentions of “committed terrorists.”
1/23/02 Pakistani militants kidnap Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
1/25/02 White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales echoes Yoo: “In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.” [Date the public knew: 4/26/04]
1/27/02 Cheney calls Gitmo detainees “the worst of a very bad lot. They are very dangerous. They are devoted to killing millions of Americans.”
1/29/02 Bush delivers “Axis of Evil” State of the Union. Speechwriter David Frum later says phrase was the fruit of being asked: “Can you sum up in a sentence or two our best case for going after Iraq?” [Date the public knew: 1/8/03]
Early Feb. 2002 Daniel Pearl beheaded. [Date the public knew: 2/21/02]
Feb. 2002 “I was asked by one of the senior commanders of Central Command to go into his office. We did, the door was closed, and he turned to me, and he said, ‘Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.'”—Sen. Bob Graham. [Date the public knew: 3/26/04]
Feb. 2002 DIA intelligence summary notes that Libi’s “confession” lacks details and suggests that he is most likely telling interrogators what he thinks will “retain their interest.” Also states: “Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.” [Date the public knew: 10/26/05]
2/7/02 Presidential directive defines Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees as “enemy combatants” exempt from prisoner-of-war protections.
2/12/02 With “profound sadness,” Ken Lay refuses to testify before Congress.
2/12/02 Attorney General John Ashcroft calls on “all Americans to be on the highest state of alert.”
2/13/02 Total Information Awareness program leaked.
2/26/02 Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson sent to Niger to check out claims Iraq buying uranium-rich yellowcake. [Date the public knew: 7/6/03]
March 2002 “Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.”—Bush to Rice and three senators. [Date the public knew: 12/8/03]
March 2002 As The New Yorker later reports: “Chalabi’s defector reports were now flowing from the Pentagon directly to the Vice President’s office, and then on to the President, with little prior evaluation by intelligence professionals.” [Date the public knew: 10/27/03]
3/5/02 Joe Wilson tells CIA there’s no indication that Iraq is buying yellowcake. [Date the public knew: 7/6/03]
3/8/02 First of Downing Street memos prepared by Tony Blair’s top national security aides. “There is no greater threat now than in recent years that Saddam will use WMD…Washington believes the legal basis for an attack on Iraq already exists…Regime change has no basis in international law.” [Date the public knew: 9/18/04]
3/12/02 Color-coded terror alert system introduced.
3/13/02 Bush on Osama: “I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”
3/14/02 Downing Street memo: “Condi’s enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed…Bush has yet to find the answers to the big questions…what happens the morning after?” [Date the public knew: 9/18/04]
3/15/02 British intel reports that there’s only “sporadic and patchy” evidence of Iraqi WMD. “There is no intelligence on any [biological weapons] production facilities.” [Date the public knew: 9/18/04]
3/22/02 Downing Street memo: “US scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing…We are still left with a problem of bringing public opinion to accept the imminence of a threat from Iraq…Regime change does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam.” [Date the public knew: 9/18/04]
3/24/02 Saddam “is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time.”—Cheney on CNN
3/25/02 Downing Street memo: “There has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with Al Qaida…In the documents so far presented it has been hard to glean whether the threat from Iraq is so significantly different from that of Iran or North Korea as to justify action.” [Date the public knew: 9/18/04]
Late March 2002 Cheney tells Republican senators that the question is no longer if the US will invade Iraq but when. [Date the public knew: 5/5/02]
3/28/02 Pakistani forces capture Al Qaeda “operations chief ” Abu Zubaydah and CIA ferrets him away to underground interrogation facility in Thailand. Bush told he’s mentally unstable and really only Al Qaeda’s travel agent. [Date the public knew: 11/2/05]
4/4/02 Blair visits Bush in Crawford to discuss Iraq. Bush tells Britain’s ITV: “I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go.”
4/8/02 Bush promotes “Operation TIPS” program to turn postal workers, bus drivers, meter readers, and even lobstermen into freelance government spies.
4/9/02 Bush calls Zubaydah one of “top operating officials of Al Qaeda, plotting…murder.” Later asks Tenet, “I said he was important; you’re not going to let me lose face on this are you?…Do some of those harsh methods really work?” Zubaydah is then tortured and speaks of all variety of plots. [Date the public knew: 6/20/06]
4/11/02 Hugo Chávez briefly removed from power in Venezuela in a US-endorsed coup.
May 2002 Primary corroborator of Curveball’s claims that Iraq has mobile weapons labs is judged a liar and Chalabi plant by DIA. A fabricator warning is posted in US intelligence databases. [Date the public knew: 3/28/04]
5/8/02 Jose Padilla arrested at O’Hare airport. [Date the public knew: 6/10/02]
5/18/02 The 2001 “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” warning leaked to press.
5/20/02 FBI Director Robert Mueller says another terrorist attack “inevitable.”
5/21/02 Asked if he has a plan to attack Iraq, Gen. Franks replies: “That’s a great question…my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that.”
5/21/02 Based on statements made by Zubaydah, FBI warns of attacks against railroads, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and rushes agents to sites. [Date the public knew: 6/20/06]
5/23/02 Bush states opposition to 9/11 hearings. Senate subcommittee votes to subpoena administration about Enron.
5/24/02 FBI warns of Memorial Day attacks by scuba divers.
Summer 2002 French debunk yellowcake theory: “We told the Americans, ‘Bullshit. It doesn’t make any sense,'” says French official. [Date the public knew: 12/11/05]
June 2002 To a deputy raising doubts about Iraq war, Rice says: “Save your breath. The president has already made up his mind.” [Date the public knew: 1/7/04]
June 2002 Iraq bombing begins. Military will fly 21,736 sorties and attack 349 targets between now and the start of the war.
6/4/02 Karl Rove and GOP chair Ken Mehlman’s PowerPoint presentation for midterm strategy highlights “Focus on War and Economy.”
6/6/02 Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who tried to alert her superiors to flight training taken by Zacarias Moussaoui, testifies before Congress.
6/10/02 In midst of 9/11 hearings, Ashcroft interrupts trip to Russia to announce arrest of Padilla, who’s now accused of “dirty bomb” plot. Declared an enemy combatant, he’ll be held four years without access to court system.
Mid-2002 Cheney and Scooter Libby begin meeting directly with CIA analysts. [Date the public knew: 6/5/03]
July 2002 Gen. Franks secretly requests $700 million for war preparations. Bush approves, unbeknownst to Congress. Money taken from appropriation for the war in Afghanistan. [Date the public knew: 4/18/04]
7/11/02 “Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance, the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will.”—Richard Perle
7/15/02 Despite indications he was tortured into confession, Lindh cops to 20 years.
7/23/02 Downing Street memo written by foreign secretary after his visit with CIA’s Tenet and other US officials: “There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable…The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy…The most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.” [Date the public knew: 5/1/05]
Aug. 2002 White House Iraq Group created to market war. Members include Rove, Libby, Rice, as well as spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. [Date the public knew: 8/10/03]
8/1/02 Justice Department memo asserts that Bush’s wartime powers supersede international anti-torture laws and treaties, defines torture as only that which is “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” [Date the public knew: 6/8/04]
8/7/02 Bush given Iraq war plan by Gen. Franks.
8/20/02 “We may or may not attack. I have no idea yet.”—Bush. “There are Al Qaeda in Iraq…There are.”—Rumsfeld.
8/26/02 “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends…and against us.” —Cheney
8/26/02 Newsweek reports prisoners abused by US allies in Afghanistan.
Sep. 2002 Bombing against Iraq intensifies.
Sep. 2002 Tyler Drumheller, CIA’s European operations chief, calls German Embassy in Washington seeking access to Curveball. Germans warn he’s “crazy” and “probably a fabricator.” [Date the public knew: 11/20/05]
9/3/02 Bush asks skeptical congressional leadership to support action against Iraq.
9/5/02 Upon hearing from Tenet that no National Intelligence Estimate had been produced to assess justification for war, Sen. Graham demands one.
9/7/02 “From a marketing point of view you don’t introduce new products in August.”—White House Chief of Staff Andy Card on rollout of the war
9/7/02 Bush claims a new UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report states Iraq is six months from developing a nuclear weapon. There is no such report.
9/8/02 Page 1 Times story by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon cites anonymous administration officials saying Saddam has repeatedly tried to acquire aluminum tubes “specially designed” to enrich uranium. “The first sign of a ‘smoking gun,’ they argue, may be a mushroom cloud.”
9/8/02 Tubes “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs…we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”—Rice on CNN
9/8/02 “We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.”—Cheney on Meet the Press
9/10/02 Orange terror alert.
9/11/02 Bush marks 9/11 with Statue of Liberty backdrop.
9/12/02 Bush repeats aluminum-tube claim before UN General Assembly.
9/13/02 Cheney tells Rush Limbaugh: “What’s happening, of course, is we’re getting additional information that, in fact, Hussein is reconstituting his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs.” There is no such new intel.
9/16/02 “The president hasn’t made a decision to do anything with respect to Iraq.”—Rumsfeld
9/16/02 White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey estimates Iraq war could cost $200 billion.
Mid-Sep. 2002 American relatives of Iraqis sent as CIA moles return from Iraq. All 30 report Saddam has abandoned WMD programs. Intel buried in the CIA bureaucracy. President Bush never briefed. [Date the public knew: 1/3/06]
9/18/02 Bush calls Saddam’s offer to let inspectors back into Iraq “his latest ploy.”
9/19/02 Rumsfeld tells Congress that Saddam “has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, sarin, and mustard gas.”
9/19/02 Classified UK memo notes there’s “no definitive intelligence that [the aluminum tubes are] destined for a nuclear programme.” [Date the public knew: 9/24/02]
9/23/02 Institute for Science and International Security releases report calling the aluminum- tube intelligence ambiguous and warning that “U.S. nuclear experts who dissent from the Administration’s position are expected to remain silent. ‘The President has said what he has said, end of story,’ one knowledgeable expert said.”
9/24/02 Britain releases dossier to public saying Iraq could launch biological or chemical attack within 45 minutes. Dossier later determined to be “sexed up.”
9/25/02 “You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.”—Bush
9/25/02 Citing Libi intel, Rice says: “High-ranking detainees have said that Iraq provided some training to Al Qaeda in chemical weapons development.”
9/26/02 Classified DIA assessment of Iraq’s chemical weapons concludes there is “no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons.” [Date the public knew: 5/30/03]
9/26/02 In a Rose Garden speech, Bush says: “The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.”
9/26/02 In a speech in Houston, Bush says of Saddam: “After all, this is a guy who tried to kill my dad.”
9/27/02 Rumsfeld calls link between Iraq and Al Qaeda “accurate and not debatable.”
9/28/02 Bush’s address to nation: “The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more, and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given.”
Oct. 2002 National Intelligence Estimate produced. It warns that Iraq “is reconstituting its nuclear program” and “has now established large-scale, redundant and concealed BW agent production capabilities”—an assessment based largely on Curveball’s statements. But NIE also notes that the State Department has assigned “low confidence” to the notion of “whether in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with Al Qaeda.” Cites State Department experts who concluded that “the tubes are not intended for use in Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.” Also says “claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa” are “highly dubious.” Only six senators bother to read all 92 pages. [Date the public knew: 7/18/03]
Oct. 2002 Administration decides not to take out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi because, though he is not yet working with Al Qaeda, any terrorist in Iraq helps case for war. “People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” a former NSC member later says. [Date the public knew: 3/2/04]
Oct. 2-24, 2002 DC-area sniper attacks.
10/4/02 Asked by Sen. Graham to make gist of NIE public, Tenet produces 25-page document titled “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs.” It says Saddam has them and omits dissenting views contained in the classified NIE.
10/4/02 Knight Ridder reports: “Several senior administration officials and intelligence officers, all of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity, charged that the decision to publicize one analysis of the aluminum tubes and ignore the contrary one is typical of the way the administration has been handling intelligence about Iraq.”
10/6/02 NSC memo to White House warning of the Niger uranium claim: “The evidence is weak…the Africa story is overblown.” [Date the public knew: 4/23/06]
10/7/02 Bush delivers a speech in which he says, “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Also says Iraq is exploring ways of using drones to target the US, although Iraq’s drones have a reach of only 300 miles.
10/7/02 CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin, writing for Tenet, sends a letter to Congress declaring that the likelihood of Saddam using WMD unless attacked is “very low.” [Date the public knew: 10/8/02]
10/8/02 Knight Ridder reports: “[A] growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration’s double-time march toward war. These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses…’Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books,’ said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
10/11/02 Congress—including all serious Democratic contenders—votes to grant Bush power to go to war.
10/16/02 Bush tells public, “I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary.”
10/20/02 Saddam empties prisons.
10/21/02 In Lackawanna, New York, six American citizens of Yemeni descent are hyped as a “sleeper cell” and indicted on terror charges despite scant evidence.
Nov. 2002 CIA station chiefs from Middle East gather for a secret meeting at the US Embassy in London. The message: War is inevitable, just a few months away. [Date the public knew: 1/3/06]
Nov. 2002 At largest CIA prison in Afghanistan, code-named Salt Pit, a case officer orders guards to strip a young detainee naked, chain him to the concrete floor, and leave him overnight. He freezes to death.[Date the public knew: 3/3/05]
11/5/02 GOP gains control of Senate.
11/7/02 “War is not my first choice. It’s my last choice.”—Bush
11/8/02 UN Security Council passes Resolution 1441 offering Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.” Iraq agrees and UN weapons inspectors return.
11/14/02 Rumsfeld handicaps war length: “Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.”
11/25/02 Bush elevates Homeland Security Department to Cabinet.
11/27/02 Weapons inspections begin in Iraq.
12/2/02 Rumsfeld signs off on “Category III” interrogation techniques including “the use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family.” It is later shown that these methods are torture as defined in US federal law, and that DOD knew that at the time. [Date the public knew: 6/22/04]
12/6/02 White House sacks Lindsey over war cost estimates.
12/7/02 Iraq submits a 12,200-page declaration to the UN documenting all its unconventional arms. US discredits the report because it does not mention the tubes or the Niger uranium.
12/21/02 Asked by Bush if there’s any reason to doubt existence of WMD, Tenet says: “It’s a slam-dunk case.” [Date the public knew: 4/17/04]
12/31/02 New war cost estimate generated: $50-$60 billion.
12/31/02 “You said we’re headed to war in Iraq. I don’t know why you say that…I’m the person who gets to decide, not you.”—Bush to press corps
Jan. 2003 CIA balks at being made to bolster weak WMD intel. In a heated conversation with Scooter Libby, CIA’s McLaughlin says: “I’m not going back to the well on this. We’ve done our work.” [Date the public knew: 10/3/05]
Jan. 2003 Faith-based czar John DiIulio dubs Bushies “Mayberry Machiavellis.”
Jan. 2003 National Intelligence Council warns Bush that war in Iraq could lead to an anti-US insurgency and “increase popular sympathy for terrorist objectives.” [Date the public knew: 10/30/04]
1/3/03 “The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American.”—Bush
1/9/03 Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N.’s IAEA, echoes DOE’s view that the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq are likely for artillery rockets, not centrifuges. A senior Bush official responds, “I think the Iraqis are spinning the IAEA.”
1/9/03 After nearly two months, UN’s Hans Blix says his inspectors have not found any “smoking guns” in Iraq.
1/11/03 Bush tells Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar that he plans to go to war two days before he tells Secretary Powell. [Date the public knew: 4/18/04]
1/20/03 Bush signs presidential directive giving Pentagon control over postwar Iraq.
1/24/03 IAEA tells Washington Post, “It may be technically possible that the tubes could be used to enrich uranium, but you’d have to believe that Iraq deliberately ordered the wrong stock and intended to spend a great deal of time and money reworking each piece.”
1/27/03 UN press release: “It would appear…Iraq had decided in principle to…bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection.” Weapons inspectors have examined 106 locations and found “no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons programme.”
1/28/03 In State of the Union, Bush says “the 16 words”: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Bush adds Saddam has “tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production” and has “mobile biological weapons labs.”
1/29/03 “Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country.”—Rumsfeld
1/31/03 Notes of meeting between Bush and Blair make clear Bush intends to invade Iraq even if UN inspectors found no evidence of WMD. Bush told Blair he’d considered “flying U2 reconnaissance planes…over Iraq, painted in UN colours” to tempt Iraqi forces to fire on them, which would constitute a breach of UN resolutions. [Date the public knew: 2/3/06]
2/1/03 During UN speech rehearsal, Powell throws draft written by Libby into the air and says: “I’m not reading this. This is bullshit.” [Date the public knew: 6/9/03]
2/4/03 After reading draft of Powell’s speech, CIA agent emails his superior with concerns about “the validity of the information based on ‘CURVE BALL.'” Noting he’s the only US agent to have ever met Curveball (who was hung over at the time), the agent asks: “We sure didn’t give much credence to this report when it came out. Why now?” Deputy head of CIA’s Iraqi Task Force responds: “Let’s keep in mind the fact that this war’s going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn’t say…the Powers That Be probably aren’t terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he’s talking about.” [Date the public knew: 7/9/04]
2/4/03 CIA’s Drumheller makes personal appeal to Tenet to delete Curveball’s intel from UN speech. Date the public knew: 6/25/06
2/4/03 Powell asks Tenet to personally assure intel for speech is good. Tenet does. [Date the public knew: 6/25/06]
2/5/03 In UN speech, Powell says, “Every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” Cites Libi’s claims and Curveball’s “eyewitness” accounts of mobile weapons labs. (German officer who supervised Curveball’s handler will later recall thinking, “Mein Gott!”) Powell also claims that Saddam’s son Qusay has ordered WMD removed from palace complexes; that key WMD files are being driven around Iraq by intelligence agents; that bioweapons warheads have been hidden in palm groves; that a water truck at an Iraqi military installation is a “decontamination vehicle” for chemical weapons; that Iraq has drones it can use for bioweapons attacks; and that WMD experts have been corralled into one of Saddam’s guest houses. All but the last of those claims had been flagged by the State Department’s own intelligence unit as “WEAK.” [Date the public knew: 7/18/03]
2/6/03 Reiterating Powell’s claim, Bush says an Iraqi drone loaded with bioweapons could strike US mainland. The US Air Force is on the record as saying that “the small size of Iraq’s new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance.” [Date the public knew: 9/26/03]
2/7/03 Rumsfeld ups war length estimate: “It could last…six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
2/7/03 Three State Department bureau chiefs prepare a secret memo warning that “serious planning gaps for postconflict public security and humanitarian assistance…could result in serious human rights abuses, which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally.” [Date the public knew: 8/18/05]
2/7/03 As anti-war demonstrations increase, DHS Secretary Ridge warns of Al Qaeda “credible threats” and raises the terror alert level to orange.
2/8/03 UN’s Team Bravo, led by American bioweapons experts, searches Curveball’s former work site in Iraq and disproves many of his claims. [Date the public knew: 11/20/05]
2/8/03 In radio address to the nation, Bush warns that “firsthand witnesses [read: Curveball] have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories” for germ warfare.
2/10/03 DHS advises Americans to stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape to protect themselves against radiological or biological attack.
2/14/03 Blix again tells UN Security Council that Iraq appears to be cooperating with inspectors.
2/15/03 Largest demonstrations in history. In 600 cities worldwide, millions protest war.
2/20/03 Rumsfeld: “There is no question but that [the invasion] would be welcomed.” Later says: “Never said that. Never did…You may remember it well, but you’re thinking of somebody else.”
2/23/03 “UN weapons inspectors are being seriously deceived…It reminds me of the way the Nazis hoodwinked Red Cross officials.”—Perle
2/25/03 Gen. Eric Shinseki tells Congress “several hundred thousand troops” will be needed to occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld retaliates, naming Shinseki’s successor 14 months before the end of his term.
2/27/03 US diplomat John Brady Kiesling resigns, citing the “distortion of intelligence” and “systematic manipulation of American opinion.”
2/27/03 Wolfowitz tells congressional hearing: “I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators…the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark.”
3/1/03 Iraq destroys four missiles, meeting a UN deadline to begin disarming.
3/3/03 IAEA official tells US that the Niger uranium documents were forgeries so error-filled that “they could be spotted by someone using Google.”
3/7/03 US, Britain, and Spain present a revised draft resolution giving Saddam an ultimatum to disarm by March 17 or face the possibility of war. France refuses to sign on to ultimatum.
3/7/03 Blix tells UN Security Council that there’s “no evidence” of mobile bioweapons facilities in Iraq.
3/7/03 “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq.”—IAEA’s ElBaradei
3/8/03 On CNN, Joe Wilson says, “I think it’s safe to say that the US government should have or did know that [the Niger documents were] fake before Dr. ElBaradei mentioned it in his report at the UN yesterday.” Decision to discredit Wilson made at a meeting within the Office of the Vice President. [Date the public knew: 5/3/04]
3/8/03 “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.”—Bush
3/15/03 Bush, Tony Blair, and Spain’s president have “emergency summit.” Bush gives UN one day to find a diplomatic solution.
3/16/03 Cheney on Meet the Press: “We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” (Cheney later claims he misspoke.) Adds, “I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.”
3/17/03 Threat level elevated to orange.
3/17/03 US and UK fail to secure UN resolution authorizing use of force. Bush gives Saddam 48 hours to surrender.
3/18/03 Washington Post article headlined “Bush Clings to Dubious Allegations About Iraq” notes, “As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged—and in some cases disproved—by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports.” Story is buried on Page A13.
3/20/03 War begins.

Condi Rice Pours Cold Water On ‘Benghazi-Gate’

Mitt Romney supporters in the media were hoping to derail President Obama’s re-election momentum by hyping “Benghazi-Gate”.

Think Progress

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice broke with the majority of her party last night on Fox News, as she tried to hit the brakes on the right wing’s politicization of the recent attack in Libya.

Host Greta Van Susteren asked Rice directly and repeatedly about a set of emails uncovered by Reuters. In what has been dubbed “Benghazi-Gate,” the conservative media has jumped on the emails as definitive proof that the Obama administration has been lying about what it knew and when in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Rice’s response was likely not what Van Susteren expected:

RICE: But when things are unfolding very, very quickly, it’s not always easy to know what is really going on on the ground. And to my mind, the really important questions here are about how information was collected. Did the various agencies really coordinate and share intelligence in the way that we had hoped, with the reforms that were made after 9/11?

So there’s a big picture to be examined here. But we don’t have all of the pieces, and I think it’s easy to try and jump to conclusions about what might have happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work.

Watch Rice’s full interview here:

Throughout the interview, Rice highlighted the difficulty that comes in a “fog of war” situation, with multiple stories coming in which need to be processed and verified. Her statements strongly align with the evolution of the Obama administration’s understanding of what happened in Benghazi. Rice also joined current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in dismissing the big picture importance of the emails from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, as a small portion of the overall communication between the mission and the State Department.

With her reasoned response, Rice stands apart from other former Bush administration officials, including former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Both Rumsfeld and Bolton have repeatedly insisted that the Obama administration has performed a cover-up of the events in Benghazi.

Veterans attempt citizens arrest of Rumsfeld in Boston

Donald Rumsfeld at National Press Club, Sep 2003

Image by @mjb via Flickr

The Raw Story

Several members of the group Veterans for Peace were escorted out of the Old South Meeting House in Boston Monday night after they attempted a citizen’s arrest of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“I went down in front and looked Donald Rumsfeld in the eye and said, ‘I’m making a citizen’s arrest,’” protester Nate Goldschlag told WCVB-TV.

“He lied us into Iraq. He lied about weapons of mass destruction. He lied about Saddam Hussein being involved in 9/11.”

Three of the protesters removed from the event were with Veterans for Peace and a fourth was a member of Code Pink. One protester was arrested outside the event for allegedly using a bullhorn to assault a police officer.

Most of the 300 people who had to buy a copy of Rumsfeld’s book, “Known and Unknown,” to attend the event appeared to be fans.

“He’s one of the greatest Americans that has ever lived,” one woman said.

Watch this video from WCVB-TV, broadcast Sept. 26, 2011.

 

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Get Krugman!

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Image via Wikipedia

I agreed with Paul Krugman’s editorial and I agree with Dave Weigel’s assessment…

Dave Weigel – Slate

Early on Sunday morning, as the rest of NYTimes.com was turned over to 9/11 anniversary, Paul Krugman vented his spleen. Years of columns were condensed into a few pithy lines. “What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful,” he wrote. “The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.”

These were sentiments he’d expressed before, but he knew they’d set people off. He turned off the comment section. “I didn’t have time to sift through the predictable vast pile of obscene and threatening stuff looking for the rare entries that were fit to print,” Krugman says. So the reaction occurred away from the blog, on Twitter and in other columns. Jennifer Rubin accused him of “hatred and contempt for his countrymen.” Donald Rumsfeld picked up the essential tool of the angry op-ed reader:

Screen shot 2011-09-12 at 11.49.04 AM

On a day when everyone else was flashing back to 9/11/2001, I was flashing back to the days and months later, when criticism of the Bush administration returned, and the practitioners of it became, briefly, Emmanuel Goldsteins. Remember Susan Sontag? Remember the Dixie Chicks? Remember the campaign to “revoke the Oscar” from Michael Moore? There hasn’t been much criticism of the substance of Krugman’s remarks; denying that 9/11 and counterterrorism strategy became “wedge issues” is denying a few years of political history. The criticism is of Krugman for expressing it. He brushes the criticism right off.

“I’m not saying anything in that post that I wasn’t saying back in 2002, when people like him were riding high,” says Krugman. “And isn’t Rumsfeld ‘sweep everything up, related and not’ the poster child for 9/11 exploitation?”

If you’ve forgotten the “sweep everything up” reference, there’s a refresher here.

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The 9/11 Tapes

Gawker

The New York Times has assembled and posted more than two hours of military, air traffic, and airline radio communications—some of it never before heard in public—from the morning of September 11, 2001. It is depressing and fascinating.

Astonishingly, a complete archive of the available audio documenting the attacks from the perspective of air traffic controllers and other people responsible for tracking the four doomed flights has never been assembled. Investigators working for the 9/11 Commission labored to pull together all the recordings they could find, but the draft “audio monograph” of 114 recordings they culled in 2004 came too late—the Commission was disbanded before a pre-release legal review could be completed. While many of the recordings were played at commission hearings, the full document remained secret.

Until last year, when a former 9/11 Commission investigator named Miles Kara recovered the files from the National Archives, and, in concert with students at Rutgers Law School, finished cataloging and transcribing them. The transcripts will be published by the Rutgers Law Review, and the audio is being posted by the Times. It’s an amazing trove, and it boggles the mind that not even the commission tasked with generating a complete accounting of that day never thought to pore over every moment of audio.

There are two notable, and fascinating omissions: Thirty minutes of audio from the cockpit of Flight 93, caught when someone keyed one of the pilots’ microphones, and a “high-level conference call” joined by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and others.

The audio is endlessly perusable. When Betty Ong, a flight attendant on American Airlines flight 11—which hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center—called her airline’s operations center to report the hijacking, she reported that no one could get into the cockpit or if the pilots were safe.

Well if they were shrewd, they would keep the door closed,” the voice on the other end of the line replied.

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The week in one-liners: Boehner, Palin, Rummy

 

Politico   

The top quotes in politics this week:

“It’s going to get harder. So, we might as well do it now. Pull off the band-aid. Eat our peas.”— President Obama saying it’s time to pass the debt deal.

“Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-O.” — House Speaker John Boehner on working with the White House.

“I love Jell-O personally.” — Press Secretary Jay Carney joking around with reporters.

“I’m ready to answer the call.” — Fox’s Bill O’Reilly offering to broker the debt talks.

“I’m running.” — Alan Grayson declaring his next congressional run.

“I believe that I can win a national election.” — Sarah Palin teasing a 2012 run in an interview with Newsweek.

“She’s got a good family, she’s got a good husband, she’s got awesome support, she’s got God on her side, and I think people are envious of that.” — Bristol Palin talking about her mother.

“I don’t sign pledges — other than the Pledge of Allegiance and a pledge to my wife.” — Jon Huntsman refusing to sign the “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge.

“It takes those of us with two titanium hips and a titanium shoulder a bit longer to get through TSA…” — Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tweeting about his airport pat-down.

“I thought that the topic was perfectly legitimate and I certainly would do it again,” Fox’s Chris Wallace defending the substance of the “flake” question he asked Michele Bachmann.

Politico’s: The Week In One-Liners

Politico

“New York is the city that is open to everyone from everywhere. … Greeks, Geeks, Gleeks. We love them all.” – Mayor Mike Bloomberg, upon meeting the cast of “Glee.” 

“I’m glad you’re asking these key, important questions, guys.” – White House press secretary Jay Carney, mocking reporters for pressing him on why the White House did not release a statement marking Easter Sunday.

“Karl Rove is a loser.” – Donald Trump, making friends with the GOP establishment.

“Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.” – Condoleezza Rice, reacting to some jabs that one-time colleague Donald Rumsfeld took at her in a recent interview. 

“I’ve had lot of Qs abt my “Z” tweet yestrday. It is as simple as a mistake. Evrybody: get a goodnite sleep” - Sen. Chuck Grassley, explaining a tweet he sent by accident. (The tweet simply read “Z.”) 

“Fox News can confirm the president of the United States is a citizen of the United States. Period.” – Fox News’s Shepherd Smith, clarifying and mocking at the same time. http://mediaite.com/a/rgbhv 

“I’ve come to New Hampshire today because I’m very concerned. I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump’s Republican registration.” – Sen. Rand Paul, turning the tables on The Donald. 

“I’m really pissed!” - Whoopi Goldberg, railing against gas prices.

“I do chase women, like the prime minister of Italy, but that’s about it.” – Arne Moltis, a candidate for West Virginia governor, confessing.

“Obama watched some television coverage of the royal wedding.” – White House press secretary Jay Carney, telling reporters that the president is just like us.