Woodward Gets The Goods On Bush: Illegal Redirection Of Afghan Funds To Prepare For Iraq War
I think now may be a good time for James Baker to talk with Leonard Garment. Thanks to a tip from commenter tings, we now know why Bob Woodward has kept his book relatively under wraps for so long. A good reporter who knows he has the blockbuster story will sit on it as long as possible without talking about it or overshooting. Woodward and Bernstein learned this from Watergate. Well, while Rove tries to deal with Woodward’s book by misdirecting the media to focus on the interpersonal petty rivalries amongst antagonistic cabinet members, the real story behind Woodward’s book is the impeachable way that Bush financed the Iraq war ramp up.
"President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, '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," says Woodward.
"...The end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. ...Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."
Keep in mind that at the time of this redirection of congressionally-approved funds for Afghanistan towards secret war preparations for Iraq, the Senate was in Democratic hands. So Bush had no way to tip his hand here by asking Tom Daschle for Iraq war preparation funds. There was no appropriation for Iraq war preparations, as Bush had yet to get his war resolution, which still required him to demonstrate a nexus between Saddam and terrorism before he could go in. The same resolution required him to exhaust all diplomatic means necessary before resorting to war. Yet Bush approached Rumsfeld and redirected these monies three months in advance of the resolution, and a full seven months in advance of making the declaration to Congress that all diplomatic means were exhausted. As Woodward himself says, Congress was kept in the dark.
Also keep in mind that Bush had sent in teams of Special Forces operatives into Iraq months before the invasion to locate areas of strategic interest and make other preparations. So this money would have been used for actual war logistics and planning, and again without congressional authorization or even notice as far as Woodward knows to the congressional leadership on a top secret basis.
In other words, an illegal war.