It is clear that George W. Bushs handlers are doing an extreme makeover of his television persona, from his usual combativeness to a kinder and gentler imitation of his father. The conversion was most evident at his March 21, 2006, press conference, where he laudably refrained from bristling at accusatory questions, and came across as understanding why people have valid concerns about the way the war in Iraq is going.
His convenient memory, however, betrayed this new disguise. He told reporters and everyone watching TVwith a straight facethat I didnt want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong. This is a worse distortion than his post-Katrina statement that I dont think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.
The record has always been clear, to people who pay attention to who said what and when, that Bush had Saddam Hussein in his sights long before 9/11. Unfortunately, the dots of his intentions have been as hard to connect as the intelligence prior to that horribly ill-fated day in September. Fortunately, we have a new and authoritative book that ties all the dots together. Written by Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra IIThe Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, provides an amazingly detailed and inside account of the plans that preceded the invasion and the war itself. Even Dick Cheney endorsed this book as A fascinating account of the war, and he did not dispute its authenticity.
Cobra II, written more like a scholarly tome than a political indictment, contains all the evidence one needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bush wanted war with Iraq more than he wanted to contain Hussein or bring democracy to the Iraqi people.
Here is the evidence I have culled from Cobra II:
Bush, speaking at the conclusion of the Sept. 15-17, 2001, Camp David war council: We will get this guy (Hussein) but at a time and place of our own choosing. (page 17)
Three days after Bushs Jan. 29, 2002, axis of evil State of the Union address, General Tommy Franks flew to Washington to present Rumsfeld with the latest version of the plan. It was no longer called the commanders estimate but dubbed Generated Start, an allusion to the idea that the United States would rapidly generate the air and ground forces to topple Hussein. (page 36)
In early February 2002, Rumsfeld had asked Franks if he could carry out the attack in the spring of 2002. (page 38)
Paul Pillar, national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, responds to a hasty report about the false Iraq-al-Qaeda connection, that after 9/11, the administration was trying to hitch Iraq to the wagon of terror. … (page 127)
In January 2003, Saddam directed his top aides to grant United Nations inspectors the access they wanted. (page 119) Hussein had already stunned his Revolutionary Command Council with the news that Iraq did not possess WMD. (page 118)
With absolute conviction that the Iraqi leader was secretly pursuing his old ambitions, the Bush team never asked that a new intelligence estimate be produced on Iraqs WMD. (page 126)
September 11 had opened in the United States a political window for action, and Iraqs vulnerabilities now opened a strategic window. (page 131)
The Jan. 2, 2006, issue of Army Times reported, Support for President Bush and for the war in Iraq has slipped significantly in the last year among members of the militarys professional core. If support of military officers has slipped significantly, is it any wonder that ordinary people are finally seeing how horribly Bush has misled them?
The only opposition to impeachment Ive heard, from people who are not blind Bush backers, is that this would make Cheney president. The solution to this is simple: we impeach Bush and Cheney as criminal co-conspirators.
W. Harrison Goodenow is a Rockford resident.
From the April 19-25, 2006, issue