portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements united states

government

Looks like an interesting book

Noting a book review by John F. Dickerson
In the January 19, 2004 issue of TIME, there will be a review of the book The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill. Reviewed by John F. Dickerson, the book discusses life close to the president as plans for the Iraq war were discussed. It is an insider look at how this administration works, and it is not a pretty sight. Here is a quote from the Dickerson review:

"From his first meeting with the President, O'Neill found Bush unengaged and inscrutable, an inside account far different from the shiny White House brochure version of an unfailing leader questioning aides with rapid-fire intensity. The two met one-on-one almost every week, but O'Neill says he had trouble divining his boss's goals and ideas. Bush was a blank slate rarely asking questions or issuing orders, unlike Nixon and Ford, for whom O'Neill also worked. "I wondered from the first, if the President didn't know the questions to ask," O'Neill says in the book, "or if he did know and just not want to know the answers? Or did his strategy somehow involve never showing what he thought? But you can ask questions, gather information and not necessarily show your hand. It was strange." In larger meetings, Bush was similarly walled off. Describing top-level meetings, O'Neill tells Suskind that during the course of his two years the President was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people.""
Here is the link to the article above 11.Jan.2004 09:16

bellflower

In case you are interested, here is the link to the book review:
 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040119-574809,00.html

O'Neill is on 60 Minutes TONIGHT 11.Jan.2004 11:04

posted below on PDX IMC

The Bush Administration began making plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks, as has been previously reported.

That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. In a new book "The Price of Loyalty," O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,'" says O'Neill in the book.

O'Neill talks to CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

URL for CBS story 11.Jan.2004 11:19

on 60 Minutes

tonight


Bush began Iraq plan pre-9/11, O'Neill says 11.Jan.2004 11:22

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff, 1/11/2004

WASHINGTON -- President Bush and his senior aides began plotting the invasion of Iraq just days after he took office in January 2001 and not, as the administration has indicated, after terrorists struck against the United States eight months later, according to former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was forced from his post in December 2002.

In an interview scheduled to air tonight on CBS News' "60 Minutes," O'Neill derided what he considered the administration's intent from the start to remove Saddam Hussein by force.

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill told the news program, according to excerpts released yesterday. "For me, the notion of preemption, that the US has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday that Hussein "was a threat to peace and stability before Sept. 11, and even more of a threat after Sept. 11."

The interview of O'Neill, the only Bush Cabinet member so far to leave office, served as a preview to a forthcoming book written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind about O'Neill's experience in the Bush administration.

The book is based in part on thousands of notes and documents collected by the former treasury chief, as well as information gathered by Suskind from other White House insiders, to examine the first half of the president's term. It is bound to reignite the debate over whether the Bush administration used the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as cover to launch a preordained policy of toppling Hussein.

"I have always said that the president failed to make the case to go to war with Iraq," Howard Dean said in a statement released by his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. "Now, after the fact, we are learning new information about the true circumstances about the Bush administration's push for war, this time by one of his Cabinet secretaries.

"The country deserves to know, and the president needs to answer, why the American people were presented with misleading or manufactured intelligence as to why going to war with Iraq was necessary," Dean said. "Secretary O'Neill's comments only underscore the continuing importance that these outstanding questions be answered." Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, one of Dean's rivals for the presidential nomination, said O'Neill had raised very serious charges.

"We already knew the administration broke every promise they made to work through the UN, use the resolution to enforce inspections, build a coalition, and plan for peace," Kerry said in a statement released by his campaign. "But Secretary O'Neill's revelations would mean the administration never intended to even try to keep those promises . . . It would mean that for purely ideological reasons they planned on putting American troops in a shooting gallery occupying an Arab country almost alone."

Beginning in the Clinton administration, official US policy called for "regime change" in Iraq, which had flouted United Nations resolutions put in place after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration cast its campaign against Hussein as part of the war on terror.

Administration officials said that Iraq's alleged ties to terrorists and Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction made it imperative that he be removed before he could pass deadly weapons to terrorist organizations.

Since the end of the Iraq war, US military investigators have failed to prove the existence of weapons of mass destructon or direct links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, which has claimed credit for the Sept. 11 attacks.

McClellan, the White House spokesman, also questioned the motives of O'Neill, who was asked to resign after he raised issues with some of the president's policies, including telling Congress he was not convinced that Bush's proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut was the best solution for the flagging economy.

"It appears that the world according to Mr. O'Neill is more about trying to justify his own opinions than looking at the reality of the results we are achieving on behalf of the American people," McClellan said in Texas, where the president is staying at his ranch.

Candidate Bush, as early as 1999, made it clear that Iraq would be dealt with. In a speech at the Citadel military academy on Sept. 23, 1999, he said achieving peace in the world will "require firmness with regimes like North Korea and Iraq, regimes that hate our values and resent our success. I will address all these priorities in the future."

Administration officials began sending public signals about a possible confrontation with Iraq before Sept. 11. In July 2001, after an Iraqi surface-to-air missile was fired at the American surveillance plane policing a no-flight zone over Iraq, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said, "Saddam Hussein is on the radar screen for the administration."

But the administration didn't put public emphasis on removing Hussein until after the Sept. 11 attacks. In fact, two months after the attacks, when he was asked whether military action against Huessein had been considered, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "I never saw a plan that was going to take him out."

Still, O'Neill's comments provide a new window into the possible thinking of the president and his senior aides on Iraq. On the eve of the US-led invasion last March, two years after Bush took office, the president said all diplomatic avenues to avoid a conflict had been exhausted. O'Neill's charges raise questions about whether there was ever an intention to use diplomacy to deal with Iraq.

In the book, "The Price of Loyalty," O'Neill is quoted as saying that he was surprised that no one in the National Security Council in early 2001 questioned why Iraq should be invaded. "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying `Go find me a way to do this,' " O'Neill told CBS.

The book also cites internal Bush administration documents from the first three months of 2001 that show the White House was looking at military options and planning for the aftermath of Hussein's overthrow. "There are memos," Suskind said in the "60 Minutes" interview. "One of them marked `secret' says `Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.' "


Bush is no leader 11.Jan.2004 12:08

GRINGO STARS

Bush doesn't know what's going on. He does what he's told to do. He's not "hiding his plans" - he HAS no plans of his own. He must consult with others before performing his act. He's the affable fratboy when in the spotlight, and that is his job; cheerleader, spokesmodel for empire.

GRINGO STARS is no progressive 11.Jan.2004 13:05

Michael C.

Gringo Stars,

Do you think anyone cares about what you have to say after your numerous links to racist sites? You have as much credibility as the President does. Are you actually going to show your face at any rallies in the future or are you going to be too busy hanging out with your racist buddies?

to 'Michael C.' the Fascist Troll 11.Jan.2004 13:34

stay on topic

what have you to say about the *topic of the originally posted article* -

namely,

former Treasury Secretary O'Neill's new book, and the Bush administration's pre-emptive plan for Iraq invasion before 9/11?

Ex-Treasury Chief Saw No Iraq WMD Evidence, Was Told "Deficits Don't Matter" 11.Jan.2004 13:42

Adam Entous

Ex-Treasury Chief: Saw No Evidence of Iraq WMDs
2 hours, 15 minutes ago

By Adam Entous

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said he never saw any evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- President Bush's main justification for going to war -- and was told "deficits don't matter" when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.

In excerpts from a new book chronicling his rocky two-year tenure and an interview with Time magazine, O'Neill said Bush balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from "the corporate crowd," a key constituency.

O'Neill, fired in a shake-up of Bush's economic team in December 2002, also said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits -- expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone -- posed a threat to the U.S. economy.

Cheney cut him off, according to the interview posted on the Time Web site on Sunday. "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said. O'Neill said he was too dumbfounded to respond. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due."

A month later, Cheney -- instrumental in bringing O'Neill into the administration -- told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

The vice president's office had no immediate comment.

Democrats seized on the account.

"What Paul O'Neill says ... is what a lot of other people are beginning to conclude -- that there was an overstatement by the Bush administration of the weapons of mass destruction part of the argument for going to war against Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)," Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, told "Fox News Sunday."

'BLIND MAN'

O'Neill likened Bush at Cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," according to excerpts from an interview to air Sunday evening on CBS's "60 Minutes."

Democratic presidential hopeful Richard Gephardt, a U.S. congressman from Missouri, said he had a similar impression of Bush, telling CBS' "Face the Nation" program: "He is a nice man. And he's a smart man. But he doesn't have experience. He doesn't have knowledge. And he has no curiosity."

Commerce Secretary Don Evans defended Bush.

"I know how he leads, I know how he manages.... He drives the meetings, tough questions, he likes dissent, he likes to see debate," Evans told CNN's "Late Edition."

Republican Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) of Florida accused O'Neill of taking "a Shakespearean approach to advance his career and his book sales. Not since Julius Caesar have I seen such a blatant stab in the back. Et tu, Mr. O'Neill?"

In the book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind, "The Price of Loyalty," O'Neill charged that Bush entered office in January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was in search of a way to go about it.

"In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction," O'Neill, who sat on the National Security Council, told Time.

"There were allegations and assertions by people... To me there is a difference between real evidence and everything else," he added.

The magazine said O'Neill sought support for his position on deficits and corporate reform from long-time friends -- Cheney and Federal Reserve (news - web sites) Chairman Alan Greenspan (news - web sites), who he says agreed with many of his proposals and helped craft a tough plan to hold executives accountable.

"I realized why Dick just nodded along when I said all of this, over and over, and nothing ever changed," he said. "This is the way Dick likes it."


Check out the spoken word of 11.Jan.2004 14:59

The Big Kaboom

Jello Biafra, "The Big Kaboom" pt 1, he actually goes into this quite nicely, and much better than the NY Times, or CBS, or whatever corporate wage slave (freelance) news you have out there. The invasion of Iraq is a very serious thing and probably lead dignitaries to divulge this to the MUslim world which actually prompted the attack of the world trade center. I suppose now this information makes it OK to go ahead and do what we are doing. Not by a long shot. Just give it a listen he connects the dots very well on his own.

wait until the Richard Clarke book comes out 11.Jan.2004 20:41

in March

"One Bush insider, however, ventures that no one really cares what a former Treasury secretary says. But, a book due out later by Richard Clarke, the White House's top terror expert under both  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0743260244/ref=nosim/youwonnowwhat/ President Clinton and President Bush, is another matter. Mr. Clarke is known to feel the Bush administration largely ignored the threat of terrorism and Osama bin Laden before 9-11, even after al Qaeda in June 2001 claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American soldiers."