Sunday :: Apr 18, 2004

Why Aren't The "60 Minutes" Revelations Getting Attention Yet?


by Steve

Here are a couple of the significant points from the “60 Minutes” piece with Woodward tonight. I have yet to see it, but from the CBS website we get the following, including the as yet unreported tidbit that Bush redirected monies without congressional knowledge and approval away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq war planning in July 2002.

Woodward reports that just five days after Sept. 11, President Bush indicated to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that while he had to do Afghanistan first, he was also determined to do something about Saddam Hussein.

”There's some pressure to go after Saddam Hussein. Don Rumsfeld has said, ‘This is an opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps. We should consider it.’ And the president says to Condi Rice meeting head to head, ‘We won't do Iraq now.’ But it is a question we're gonna have to return to,’” says Woodward.

“And there's this low boil on Iraq until the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, 2001. This is 72 days after 9/11. This is part of this secret history. 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.’"

Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam -- and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check.

”Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward.

“Gets to a point where in July, 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."

Oh, and the Saudis as we all suspected will turn the spigots open with a lot of cheaper oil just before the election to cinch it for Bush.

Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election -- to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”

Note that the initial Administration spin effort by Rice and others is focused on the “he said, she said” type of stuff, and disagreements about when Bush decided to go to war. All of this is irrelevant to the point at hand, which is that Bush asked for Iraq war plans just after 9/11 and had Rummy give Tommy Franks a blank check using unapproved funds for war preparations three months before rolling out the war drive just before the 2002 midterm elections. The White House wants to keep the focus away from these things and more on the “Colin and Dick get along fine” mantra.

And yes, Kerry should make a big deal about the Bush-Saudi connection now to show that both Bush and the Saudis are willing to damage the US economy just so that they can both profit from it in their own ways. Kerry can undercut any resulting effort by Bush and the Saudis this fall when it happens by telling voters to wait and see how their gas prices will magically fall just in time for the election as one more reason why we need to boot both the Saudis and Bush.

But I am still amazed and disappointed in the media. We have known from CBS's own website since Friday night that Woodward had evidence that Bush had redirected the $700 million without congressional authorization or knowledge. We are just finding out tonight about the Saudi promise to manipulate the world oil supply to help Bush electorally. And yet we see not a peep from the major media yet on either story.

Have we become so jaded as a country that a $700 million unauthorized redirection to a secret war effort by this cabal is not shocking anymore? Has the media lost its sense of perspective as well? It wasn't too long ago that a lie about sex or a loss of less than one hundred thousand dollars on a stupid Arkansas land deal was enough to ensure years of media coverage and a $75 million taxpayer supported political witch hunt. And now nothing.

Steve :: 5:44 PM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!