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Bu$h, Oil & Iraq: Some Truth at Last!

For the brief moment it was on the tv screen one could see that this bit of paper, stamped Secret, was undoubtedly one of the most explosive documents in the history of imperial conspiracy. Here, dead center in the camera's lense, was the refutation of every single rationalization for the attack on Iraq ever offered by George W. Bush and his co-conspirators, including Tony Blair

That NSC document told 60 Minutes' vast audience the attack on Iraq was not about national security in the wake of 9/ll. It was not about weapons of mass destruction. It was not about Saddam Hussein's possible ties to Osama bin Laden. It was about stealing Iraq's oil, same way the British stole it three quarter of a century earlier. The major oil companies drew up the map, handed it to their man George, helped him (through such trusties as James Baker) steal the 2000 election and then told him to get on with the attack.
January 14, 2004
 http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn01142004.html

The O'Neill / Suskind Bombshells

Bush, Oil & Iraq: Some Truth at Last

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Here we have former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill disclosing that George Bush came into office planning to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and MSNBC polls its audience with the question, Did O'Neill Betray Bush?

Is that really the big question? The White House had a sharper nose for the real meat of Leslie Stahl's 60 Minutes interview with O'Neill and Ron Suskind, the reporter who based much of his expose of the Bush White House, The Price of Loyalty, on 19,000 government documents O'Neill provided him.

What bothers the White House is one particular National Security Council document shown in the 60 Minutes interview, clearly drafted in the early weeks of the new administration, which showed plans for the post-invasion dispersal of Iraq's oil assets among the world's great powers, starting with the major oil companies.

For the brief moment it was on the tv screen one could see that this bit of paper, stamped Secret, was undoubtedly one of the most explosive documents in the history of imperial conspiracy. Here, dead center in the camera's lense, was the refutation of every single rationalization for the attack on Iraq ever offered by George W. Bush and his co-conspirators, including Tony Blair

That NSC document told 60 Minutes' vast audience the attack on Iraq was not about national security in the wake of 9/ll. It was not about weapons of mass destruction. It was not about Saddam Hussein's possible ties to Osama bin Laden. It was about stealing Iraq's oil, same way the British stole it three quarter of a century earlier. The major oil companies drew up the map, handed it to their man George, helped him (through such trusties as James Baker) steal the 2000 election and then told him to get on with the attack.

O'Neill says that the Treasury Department's lawyers okayed release of the document to him. The White House, which took 78 days to launch an investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA officer, clearly regards the disclosure of what Big Oil wanted as truly reprehensible, as opposed to endangering the life of Ms Plame. It's going after O'Neill for this supposed security breach.

Forget about O'Neill "betraying" Bush. How about Bush lying to the American people? It's obvious from that document that Bush, on the campaign trail in 2000, was as intent on regime change in Iraq as was Clinton in his second term and as Gore was publicly declaring himself to be.

Here's Bush in debate with Gore, October 3, 2000:

"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. I'm going
to prevent that."

The second quote is from a joint press conference with Tony Blair on January 31, 2003. Bush rationalizes:

"Actually, prior to September 11, we were discussing smart sanctions. We were trying to fashion a sanction regime that would make it more likely to be able to contain somebody like Saddam Hussein. After September 11, the doctrine of containment just doesn't hold any water. The strategic vision of our country shifted dramatically because we now recognize that oceans no longer protect us, that we're vulnerable to attack. And the worst form of attack could come from somebody acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them on the American people. I now realize the stakes. I realize the world has changed. My most important obligation is to protect the American people from further harm, and I will do that."

In his cabinet meetings before 9/11 Bush may, in O'Neill's words, have been like a blind man in a room full of deaf people. But, as O'Neill also says, in those early strategy meetings Bush did say the plan from the start was to attack Iraq, using any pretext. Bush's language about "smart sanctions" from the press conference at the start of last year was as brazen and far more momentous a lie as any of those that earned Bill Clinton the Republicans' impeachment charges.
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January 14, 2004
 http://www.counterpunch.org/leopold01142004.html

O'Neill's Claims Supported by 1998 Memo

The Rummy/Wolfowitz War Letters

By JASON LEOPOLD

Anyone who doubts former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's recent claims that President Bush mislead the public and secretly planned the Iraq war eight months before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 needs to read the two letters sent to then President Bill Clinton in 1998 and Speaker of the House Trent Lott by current members of the Bush administration urging Clinton to launch a preemptive strike against Iraq.

Back then, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz and other pro-war hawks lobbied Clinton and Gingrich to remove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power using military force and indict him as a "war criminal." Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, both of whom were working in the private sector at the time, were affiliated with the right-wing think tank Project for a New American Century, which was founded by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol in 1997 to promote America's foreign and defense policies.

Other familiar names on PNAC's roster of supporters include Richard Armitage, currently Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Perle, one of the architects of the Iraq war and former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, and Robert Kagan, a former Deputy for Policy in the State Department's Bureau for Inter-American Affairs during the Ronald Reagan's presidency. Kagan is also co-chair of PNAC.

PNAC has been instrumental in helping the Bush administration shape its defense policies. Since Bush has been in office, PNAC has succeeded in getting Rumsfeld to scrap the multibillion-dollar Army Crusader Artillery Program and also advising the Defense Secretary to request a $48 billion one-year increase for national defense, both of which were written about extensively in reports posted on PNAC's web site before Rumsfeld was approached by the group.

However, one of PNAC's first goals when it was founded in 1997 was to urge Congress and the Clinton administration to support regime change in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was allegedly manufacturing chemical and biological weapons, claims that today have turned out to be untrue.

"Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq..." PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report. Kristol's Weekly Standard magazine is owned by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox News Channel, considered by many media critics to be the mouthpiece of the Bush administration.

A year after Kristol's report, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Armitage and other PNAC members sent a letter to Clinton, repeating much of what Kristol said in his report a year earlier.

"We urge you to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power," says the letter sent to Clinton. "This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council."

However, in an ironic twist, Clinton rebuffed the advice saying his administration was focusing on the worldwide threat posed by the terrorist group al-Qaeeda and it's leader Osama Bin Laden, who was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack and who Iraq war critics say the Bush administration should have been focusing on after 9/11 instead of Saddam Hussein.

The 1998 letters to Clinton and Gingrich seems to back up the revelations made by O'Neil in the book "The Price of Loyalty" that the Iraq war was, in fact, planned in the days after Bush was sworn into office-possibly even earlier-if you consider that between 1998 and late 1999, when Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, the chief architects of the Iraq war, they spent nearly two years lobbying Congress to use military force to overthrow Saddam Hussein from power.

When Clinton refused, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and others from PNAC wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott, saying that the United States should "establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf-and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power."

"We should take whatever steps are necessary to challenge Saddam Hussein's claim to be Iraq's legitimate ruler, including indicting him as a war criminal," says the letter to Gingrich and Lott. "U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein's regime from power and establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place. We recognize that this goal will not be achieved easily. But the alternative is to leave the initiative to Saddam, who will continue to strengthen his position at home and in the region. Only the U.S. can lead the way in demonstrating that his rule is not legitimate and that time is not on the side of his regime."

All of the Iraq "war" letters are posted on PNAC's web site,  http://www.newamericancentury.org

The letters offered no hard evidence that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction but it did say that with Saddam Hussein in power "a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard . . ."

Jason Leopold can be reached at:  jasonleopold@hotmail.com

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