Thanksgiving Is Ruined

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April 16, 2004
Lies and the Lying Liars that Told Them

From today's AP story on Bob Woodward's new book:

"Woodward says Bush pulled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld aside Nov. 21, 2001 - when U.S. forces and allies were in control of about half of Afghanistan - and asked him what kind of war plan he had on Iraq. When Rumsfeld said it was outdated, Bush told him to get started on a fresh one. The book says Bush told Rumsfeld to keep quiet about it and when the defense secretary asked to bring CIA Director George Tenet into the planning at some point, the president said not to do so yet."

So I did some research.

That same day - Nov. 21, 2001- during a visit with troops in Fort Campbell, Ky., President Bush discussed carrying the fight to other nations that support terrorists. "Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror," he said. "Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil ones." This is the first verbal indication that the US is going after countries other than Afghanistan.

_Jan. 29, 2002: Bush calls North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction," he says, "these regimes pose a grave and growing danger."

_Feb 1: Sec Powell in an interview with Univision: "The President quite clearly pointed out to the world that these are evil regimes -- not evil people living in these countries," Secretary Powell said. "At the same time, there are no war plans on his desk for him to do something tomorrow; but we will continue to have firm policies with respect to these countries."

This is the first documented use of the phrase "no war plan on [the] desk" to deny that a military action had been decided upon.

_Feb. 6: Secretary of State Colin Powell says "regime change" is necessary in Iraq and the United States "might have to do it alone."

_Feb. 14: National security adviser Condoleezza Rice says Bush would move slowly in weighing his options for ousting Saddam. "There is no timetable for `we have to do this or that.' Military power is always an option, but it's not the only option."

_Feb 15: In an interview with The Financial Times, Colin Powell said that a war with Iraq is "not imminent" and "there are no war plans on the president's desk". But, he added, the US is convinced "that Iraq would be better served with a different leadership", and that the administration has "no doubt" about Saddam Hussein's willingness to resort to chemical and biological missiles.

_March 19: Vice President Dick Cheney ends 11-nation Middle East tour to feel out Arab leaders on plans to widen the U.S. war on terror to include Iraq. Most advise against striking Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.

_May 23: Visiting Europe, Bush tries to calm worries among allies. " I told the chancellor [German Chancellor Schroeder] that I have no war plans on my desk, which is the truth. And that we've got to use all means at our disposal to deal with Saddam Hussein. "

_May 26: Pres. Bush in a press conference with Pres. Chirac: "Let me start with the Iraqi regime. The stated policy of my government is that we have a regime change. And as I told President Chirac, I have no war plans on my desk. And I will continue to consult closely with him. We do view Saddam Hussein as a serious, significant -- serious threat to stability and peace."

_June 1: Bush tells West Point graduates the United States will strike pre-emptively against suspected terrorists or governments that help them if that's necessary to protect Americans. "We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt its plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge." This is the first public announcement of the Bush policy of pre-emption.

The New York Times continued: "Nonetheless, a senior Administration official said after Mr. Bush's speech that he 'has no war plans on his desk,' and had not yet settled on a course of action in Iraq. "

_June 5: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, in London, says Saddam has "a sizable appetite" for destructive weapons. "There is not a doubt in the world that with every month that goes by, their programs mature."

Colin Powell, in an interview on NPR, states about Iraq: "There is no plan on his [Bush's] desk."

_June 13: Joint press conference with John Howard of Australia. Bush says: "I told the Prime Minister there are no war plans on my desk. I haven't changed my opinion about Saddam Hussein, however. He is -- this is a person who gassed his own people, and possesses weapons of mass destruction. And so as I told the American people, and I told John, we'll use all tools at our disposal to deal with him. And, of course, before there is any action -- military action, I would closely consult with our close friend. There are no plans on my desk right now."

_June 16 On "Meet the Press", Sens. McCain and Biden are asked about the "no war plans on my desk" quote by Gloria Borger.

BORGER: But the president says he has no war plans on his desk.

McCAIN: Well, in all due respect, that's probably technically correct. They're probably not on his desk. They're probably on somebody's desk down the hall.



BORGER (to Biden): Now, I was just going to ask you, has any decision been made in this administration about which plan, which tact they intend to take against Iraq?

BIDEN: To the best of my knowledge, no. And I only know what John knows. The president's looked me in the eye and said, there is no plan on my desk, there's been no decision made. But I agree with John. There's obviously plans on other people's desks.

_June 24: Cheney calls Iraq's interest in producing weapons of mass destruction a "gathering danger" that requires "the most decisive response by America and its allies."

_July 31: Senate Foreign Relations Committee opens hearings on Iraq.

_Aug. 7: Bush promises to consult with Congress and allies before acting. "I will explore all options and all tools at my disposal; diplomacy, international pressure, perhaps the military."

_Aug 8: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Congress invites "expert testimony" in to present the pros and cons of a massive armed forces strike against Iraq.

_Aug. 9: Bush says he has no timetable to attack Iraq, "and if I did, I wouldn't tell you or the enemy." U.S. officials meet Iraqi opposition groups.

_Aug. 15: In an interview with the BBC, Rice says Saddam harbors a willingness to destroy his neighbors, "a very powerful moral case for regime change." Rice declared the threat posed by Saddam would emerge "in a very big way'' if he is allowed to remain in power.

_Aug. 22: Bush says: "There should be no doubt in anybody's mind this man [Hussein] is thumbing his nose at the world, that he has gassed his own people, that he is trouble in his neighborhood, that he desires weapons of mass destruction. I will use all the latest intelligence to make informed decisions about how best to keep the world at peace, how best to defend freedom for the long run. We'll continue to consult. Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies."

_Aug 16: Bush: "The American people know my position, and that is regime change is in the interest of the world."

_Aug. 26: In a speech to the Veterans of Foriegn Wars, Cheney says the United States could face devastating consequences from any delay in acting to remove Saddam. "What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness." Cheney states that arguments against a pre-emptive strike on Iraq are "deeply flawed.'' "We will not simply look away, hope for the best and leave the matter for some future administration to resolve.''

_Sept. 7: Bush meets British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Camp David. "The policy of inaction is not a policy we can responsibly subscribe to," Blair says.

Elizabeth Bumiller, writing in the New York Times, says that the White House said the rhetorical buildup was planned in advance with an eye toward the Sept. 11 anniversary and Bush's U.N. speech. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August,'' Bush chief of staff Andrew Card says.

_Sept. 8: Cheney says Saddam is trying to build a nuclear bomb, "and increasingly, we believe the United States will become the target of those activities."

_Sept. 12: Bush tells the United Nations it will risk becoming irrelevant if it doesn't confront the threat posed by Iraq's flouting of U.N. resolutions. "If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account."

_Sept. 19: Bush asks Congress for authority to "use all means," including military force if necessary, to disarm and overthrow Saddam if he does not comply with U.N. demands.

_Sept 23: Bush at a speech in NJ: "But I also told them that if they would not act, if they would not deal with this true threat we face in America, if they would not recognize that America is no longer protected by oceans and that this man is the man who would use weapons of mass destruction at the drop of a hat, a man who would be willing to team up with terrorist organizations with weapons of mass destruction to threaten America and our allies, if they wouldn't act, the United States will -- we will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons".

_Sept. 28: The White House acknowledges that the Pentagon gave Bush a detailed set of military options on Iraq in early September. Officials say Bush has not decided to go to war.

Bush makes a speech in Arizona: "Saddam Hussein has got a choice, and that is, he can disarm. There's no negotiations, by the way. There's nothing to negotiate with him. He told the world he would disarm 11 years ago, and he's lied to the world. It's their choice to make. He must disarm, just like he said he would do. And the United Nations, in order to be effective, must disarm him. But for the sake of our freedom, for the sake of our future, if nothing happens, the United States will lead a coalition to hold him to account and to disarm Saddam Hussein. We owe it to the world to do so."

_Oct. 7: In a national address, Bush calls Saddam a "murderous tyrant" and says he must disarm Iraq or the United States "will lead a coalition to disarm him."

Speech in Ohio: "We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons."

"Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans."

"I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands"

_Oct. 10-11: The House votes 296-133 and the Senate votes 77-23 authorizing Bush to use military force if necessary against Iraq.

_Oct 21: Bush Press Conference: "We've tried diplomacy. We're trying it one more time. I believe the free world, if we make up our mind to, can disarm this man peacefully."

_Oct. 25: Press conference with Pres. Jiang Zemin: "I made it clear to the President of China that I am interested in seeing to it that the United Nations is effective -- effective in disarming Saddam Hussein. That's what the United Nations has said for 11 years, that Saddam ought to disarm. And, therefore, any resolution that evolves must be one which does the job of holding Saddam Hussein to account. That includes a rigorous, new and vibrant inspections regime, the purpose of which is disarmament, not inspections for the sake of inspections."

_Nov. 8: Security Council unanimously approves U.S.-drafted resolution saying Saddam will face "serious consequences" if he fails to comply with weapons inspections, which resume later.

_Dec. 24: Rumsfeld starts troop buildup.

_Jan. 28: In his State of the Union speech, Bush accuses Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction and tells U.S. armed forces to get ready.

_Feb. 4: With mixed findings coming from weapons and nuclear inspections, Powell makes the case at the U.N. that Saddam poses an imminent danger. France and Germany want inspectors to be given more time.

_Feb. 14: Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix says his team has found no weapons of mass destruction.

_March 14: More than a week of intense diplomacy fails to persuade enough members of the U.N. Security Council to vote for a resolution authorizing force. Bush administration criticizes France for saying it will veto any war resolution.

_March 16: Bush meets on the Azores with Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, where the leaders declare the diplomatic window would close within a day.

_March 17: The United States withdraws its U.N. resolution without a vote, and Bush schedules a prime time speech to prepare the nation for the war.

[Addition: Jamie pointed me to the revelation from Woodward's book that hit the press this afternoon:
"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. "

Guess I'm going to have to buy the book and do a side-by-side timechart.]