Caveat emptor, George W. Bush

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Coup d’état

The sudden and illegal seizure of a government, usually instigated by a small group of the existing state establishment to depose the established government and replace it with a new ruling body.

George W. Bush

George Walker Bush is only the second president to follow his father as President.
George W. Bush was the first President that had a criminal record, convicted of drunk driving and cocaine possession.

1946: Born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut.
1968: Graduates from Yale University with a Batchelor of Science degree in History
1968-1973: Fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard
1975: Graduates from Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration
1994-2000: Serves as the Governor of Texas
December 13, 2000: Declared winner of the Presidential election
December 21, 2000: Resigns as Governor of Texas
January 20, 2001: Inaugurated as the 43rd United States President
November 2, 2004: Re-elected as President

Richard Cheney

1969: Nixon administration, serves in a number of positions.
1975-1977: Named White House chief of staff under President Gerald Ford.
1978-1988: Elected to represent Wyoming in the U.S. House; elected House minority whip
1987-1989: Director of the Council on Foreign Relations foreign policy organization.
1989-1993: Secretary of Defense, directs the invasion of Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.
1995-2000: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton.
2000: Agrees to lead George W. Bush’s vice presidential search team.

March 2000: George W. Bush asked former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to be the vice presidential nominee. Cheney declines, instead accepts a position vetting potential vice presidential candidates.

May 15, 2000: Halliburton gave Dick Cheney a $34 million retirement package. Cheney signed a second disclosure form disclosing the following Halliburton income:

  • Salary/bonus (gross): $821,896
  • Elective deferred salary: $403,166
  • Stock equivalent unit bonus: $396,213
  • Senior executive deferred compensation contributions: $53,692
  • Elective deferred salary lump sum payout: $1,140,160
  • Restricted stock imputed income: $7,560,000
  • Nonqualified stock option income: $21,964,254
  • Senior executive deferred compensation payout: $2,797,128

July 25, 2000: Dick Cheney resigned as CEO of Halliburton. As vice president, he argued that this step removed any conflict of interest. Cheney’s net worth, estimated to be up to $86 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton. He was also a member of the board of advisors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) before becoming vice president.

July 25, 2000: George W. Bush once again asked former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, to be the vice presidential nominee. This time Cheney accepts. While the U.S. Constitution does not specifically disallow a president and a vice president from the same state, it does prohibit electors from casting both of his or her votes for persons from his or her own state. Cheney—who had been a resident of Texas for nearly 10 years—changed his voting registration back to Wyoming. Had Cheney not done this, either he or Bush would have forfeited their electoral votes from the Texas electors.

NOTE: Cheney advocated Donald Rumsfeld for the post of Secretary of Defense to counter the influence of Colin Powell at the State Department, and tried unsuccessfully to have Paul Wolfowitz named to replace George Tenet as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

December 1, 2000: Texas federal District Court Judge Sidney Fitzwater rejects voter suit arguing that Dick Cheney is an inhabitant of Texas and thus ineligible to receive votes of Texas electors (Jones v. Bush)

December 4, 2000: Florida Judge N. Sanders Sauls rules against Gore, saying that hand recounts in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties aren’t warranted and the Nassau County vote total should stand. He refuses Gore’s request to overturn George W. Bush’s certified statewide victory.

December 9, 2000: Florida begins a statewide manual recount of the undervote ballots. The Florida Supreme Court denies Bush’s application for a stay. The U.S. Supreme Court, divided 5-4, issues a stay in Gore v. Bush to stop the manual recounts.

December 12, 2000: The U.S. Supreme Court renders a complex decision to overturn the Florida Supreme Court ruling that called for manual recounts. The court’s unsigned “per curiam” decision carried the opinion of seven justices and says that the recounts as ordered by the Florida court suffered from constitutional problems. However, four Justices wrote dissenting opinions regarding possible remedies in the case. The court said in the 7-2 per curium that “Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet the Dec. 12 date will be unconstitutional … we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida ordering the recount to proceed,” “It is obvious that the recount cannot be conducted in compliance with the requirements of equal protection and due process without substantial additional work.” The case was remanded to the Florida court “for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

January 29, 2001: The National Energy Policy Development Group was a group, created by Executive Order, that was chaired by Vice President Richard Cheney. Cheney’s National Energy Policy was developed in secret meetings with petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity industry representatives and lobbyists including executives from Enron, Exxon-Mobile, Conoco, Royal Dutch Shell and BP Oil.

NOTE: The energy task force members included Cheney and the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation and Energy. The remaining members of the task force are the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs. Note that the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not a member of the task force.

February 3, 2001: The Energy Task Force chaired by Dick Cheney prior to 9/11 collected maps of Iraqi oil fields and potential suitors for that oil. A secret document written by the National Security Council (NSC) directed NSC staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the “melding” of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: “The review of operational policies towards rogue states,” such as Iraq, and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields”. A former senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the NSC said: If this little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and laying grand, global plans.

March 5, 2001: Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts – this document includes a table listing 30 countries which have interests in Iraq’s oil industry. The document also includes the names of companies that have interests, the oil fields with which those interests are associated, as well as the statuses of those interests.

NOTE: Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. A Pentagon document titled “Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,” which, he said, outlines areas of oil exploration. “It talks about contractors around the world from … 30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq.” O’Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting asked 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 said.

Describing a White House meeting in which he said Bush seemed to waver about going forward with a second round of tax cuts. “Haven’t we already given money to rich people… Shouldn’t we be giving money to the middle?” Bush “was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people” during Cabinet meetings. One-on-one meetings were no different. Describing his first such meeting with Bush, O’Neill said, “I went in with a long list of things to talk about and, I thought, to engage [him] on. … I was surprised it turned out me talking and the president just listening. It was mostly a monologue.”

March 2001: Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department as a result of the Sierra Club’s and Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.”

May 18, 2001: Bush issued an executive order remarkably similiar in structure, scope and language to the draft submitted two months earlier by the American Petroleum Institute.

April 2001: The secret White House task force solicited input from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston. The Baker report, which was submitted to Cheney, recommended considering a “military” option in dealing with Iraq, which the report charged was using oil exports as a “weapon,” by turning its spigot on and off to “manipulate oil markets.”

NOTE: Cheney sold his stock options in Halliburton, when shares hit their 2000 peak, in the low-to-mid $50 range. By November 30, 2000, the stock had fallen to $33 a share. Halliburton shares returned 467% over the last decade. Without dividends, shares returned 391% over the last 10 years. Halliburton’s normalized earnings per share grew at an average rate of 18% a year from 2001.

Halliburton was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms.

NOW YOU SEE IT, NO YOU DON’T

November 7, 2000: For the first time since 1888, the United States of America “elected” a president who lost the popular vote. This marked only the fourth time in U.S. history in which the eventual winner failed to win a plurality of the popular vote (after the elections of 1824, 1876, and 1888).

EXIT POLLS

Al Gore won the aggregate of the unadjusted state exit polls by 50.8-44.4%, a 6 million vote margin. But he won the recorded vote by just 540,000 votes (48.4-47.9%). There were six million uncounted votes, the vast majority (75-80%) for Gore. Uncounted ballots accounted for 3-4 million of the 5.5 million vote discrepancy. Vote switching and ballot stuffing may account for the remaining 1-2 million.

Officially, Bush won Florida by 537 recorded votes. But, Gore won the unadjusted Florida exit poll by 53.4-43.6%. Given the 3.0% exit poll margin of error (including a 30% cluster effect), there is a 97.5% probability that Gore won by at least 200,000 votes.

Florida 2000 Exit Poll: Gore (D): 53.0%; Bush (R): 43.3%; Nader (G): 1.6%; Buchanan (R): 0.5%; Others: 0.8%; Blank: 0.8%

There were 185,000 uncounted ballots: 110,000 over-punched and 75,000 under-punched. In addition, thousands of “butterfly” ballots meant for Gore were marked for Buchanan in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County. The recount was aborted by 5 Republicans on the Supreme Court.

But Florida was not unique. The 9.8% margin discrepancy was exceeded in 10 states:
TX, AL, NC, TN, GA, AR, ID, MD, SC & FL.

Twelve states flipped from Gore in the exit poll to Bush in the recorded vote: AL, AR, AZ, CO, FL, GA, MO, NC, NV, TN, TX & VA. Gore would have won the election if he captured just one of the states.

NIGHT THE COUNTRY FELL DOWN

7:48 PM: The Associated Press, then CNN, and finally all of the other major TV networks declared Vice President Al Gore the victor in Florida, based on Voter News Service projections from exit polls. These polls were considered extremely reliable because they polled actual voters who had just left the polls, rather than those who said they would vote in the days before the election. At the time they announced the projected winner of Florida, the polls were still open in the panhandle region, but only for a few more minutes.

9:31 PM: Bush’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, takes to the airwaves to dispute the network calls that Florida has gone for Gore.

9:55 PM: Bush is presented on TV calmly asserting that his people in Florida assure him that he will win Florida when the votes are counted. Moments later the networks redesignate Florida as “too close to call”.

George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush were also shown in the hotel room. George W. Bush was sitting there on the phone with the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, he says, then he tells everyone that he is not conceding in Pennsylvania and Florida, “don’t believe all these projections”

NOTE: When Bush announced the creation of the Office of Homeland Security, he appointed Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania, as its director.

2:16 A.M: John Ellis, from FOX News, who happened to be George W. Bush’s cousin, called the State of Florida—and the election—for Bush. Within four minutes, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN, all followed suit.

2:18 AM: The Television networks quickly transitioned into declaring Governor George W. Bush the President-Elect of the United States.

4:34 AM: Florida’s Attorney General, Bob Butterworth, confirmed that Florida law would require an automatic machine recount. He also confirmed that there had been many reports of voter irregularities in his state, especially in Palm Beach County. This controversy was over the design of the ballot, called a “butterfly ballot”.

INSIDE MAN

November 8, 2000: Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (and co-chair of George W. Bush’s election efforts in Florida) certifies that George W. Bush is the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes. Her ruling was upheld in the state circuit court, but was subsequently overturned on appeal by the Florida Supreme Court. But the Florida Supreme Court decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.

November 9, 2000: The preliminary nationwide popular vote numbers are: Gore 48,976,148 votes and Bush 48,783,510 votes. Bush has won 29 states with 246 electoral votes. Gore has won 18 states plus the District of Columbia for a total of 260 electoral votes. Neither candidate has enough electoral votes to claim victory.

November 10, 2000: New Mexico, with five electoral votes, is retracted from Gore; the state reverts to too close to call.

November 11, 2000: George W. Bush’s campaign filed suit to block the manual recount of ballots sought by Al Gore. The campaign cited the “potential for mischief” and said the process was inherently less fair and more subjective than counting by machine.

Aren’t we supposed to count all the votes in an election?

November 15, 2000: In a petition to the Florida Supreme Court, Secretary of State Harris asks the justices to order Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to end the manual recounts. Elections officials in Palm Beach County ask the state’s highest court to decide if they can recount ballots by hand. The Bush camp will join in on the suit by the Florida Secretary of State that seeks an order to block further manual recounts.

George W. Bush rejects Al Gore’s proposal for a statewide manual count of Florida’s presidential vote, saying it would be neither fair nor accurate. Bush also rejects Gore’s idea for a one-on-one meeting. He says he would be glad to meet Gore after the election.

November 16, 2000: Florida Supreme Court rules that Palm Beach County can proceed with a manual recount of ballots. Within minutes, officials in Palm Beach County announce they will begin their recount.

November 26, 2000: Secretary of State Harris denied a Palm Beach County request to extend the 5PM deadline to turn in completed vote totals. Palm Beach misses 5 p.m. deadline by 90 minutes and left 1,000 ballots uncounted. The official results are 2,912,790 votes for Bush; 2,912,253 for Gore, a margin of victory of 537 votes.

Governor Jeb Bush signs the Certificate of Ascertainment designating 25 Florida electors pledged to George W. Bush and transmits the document to the National Archives as required by Title 3, U.S. Code, Section 6.

The Florida Secretary of State, which just so happens to also be the co-chair of George W. Bush’s election efforts in Florida, and George W. Bush’s brother, the Governor of Florida, call the election for George W. Bush. 

December 8, 2000: there had been multiple court decisions regarding the presidential election in Florida and on that date the Florida Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, ordered a statewide manual recount.

December 9, 2000: the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stay the Florida recount, because according to Justice Scalia: It suffices to say that the issuance of the stay suggests that a majority of the Court, while not deciding the issues presented, believe that the petitioner has a substantial probability of success. The issue is not, as the dissent puts it, whether “counting every legally cast vote can constitute irreparable harm.” One of the principal issues in the appeal we have accepted is precisely whether the votes that have been ordered to be counted are, under a reasonable interpretation of Florida law, “legally cast vote[s].” The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election. Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards, is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires.

The dissenters opined: Counting every legally cast vote cannot constitute irreparable harm… Preventing the recount from being completed will inevitably cast a cloud on the legitimacy of the election. The four dissenting justices argued that stopping the recount was an “unwise” violation of “three venerable rules of judicial restraint”, namely respecting the opinions of state supreme courts, cautiously exercising jurisdiction when “another branch of the Federal Government” has a large measure of responsibility to resolve the issue, and avoiding making peremptory conclusions on federal constitutional law prior to a full presentation on the issue.

SUPREME COURT WAS CUT IN

Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), is the United States Supreme Court decision that resolved the dispute surrounding the 2000 presidential election. Three days earlier, the Court had preliminarily halted the Florida recount that was occurring. Eight days earlier, the Court unanimously decided the closely related case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, 531 U.S. 70 (2000). In a per curiam decision, the Court, by a 5-4 vote, ruled that no alternative method could be established within the time limit set by Title 3 of the United States Code (3 U.S.C.), (“Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors”), which was December 12.

By a 7-2 vote, the Court ruled that there was an Equal Protection Clause violation in using different standards of counting in different counties. Three concurring justices also asserted that the Florida Supreme Court had violated Article II, § 1, cl. 2 of the Constitution, by misinterpreting Florida election law that had been enacted by the Florida Legislature. The Equal Protection Clause took effect in 1868. 

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, states: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The per curiam opinion in Bush v. Gore did not technically dismiss the case, and instead “remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.” Gore’s attorneys therefore understood that they could fight on, and could petition the Florida Supreme Court to repudiate the notion that December 12 was final under Florida law. However, Gore dropped the case, because he was not optimistic about how the Florida justices would react to further arguments and, as one of his advisers put it, “the best Gore could hope for was a slate of disputed electors”. On remand, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion on December 22, 2000 that did not dispute whether December 12 was the deadline for recounts under state law, although this was disputed in a concurring opinion by Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw.

Some critics of the decision argue that the majority seemed to seek refuge from their own logic in the following sentence in the majority opinion: “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” The Court’s defenders argued that this was a reasonable precaution against the possibility that the decision might be read over-broadly, arguing that in the short time available it would not be appropriate to attempt to craft language spelling out in greater detail how to apply the holding to other cases. Critics, however, interpreted the sentence as stating that the case did not set precedent in any way and could not be used to justify any future court decision, and some suggested that this was evidence the majority realized its holding was untenable. Regardless of whether the majority intended the decision to be precedential, it has been cited by several federal courts in election cases.

NOTE: On the eve of the election Sandra Day O’Connor had made a public statement that a Gore victory would be a personal disaster for her. Clarence Thomas’s wife was so intimately involved in the Bush campaign that she was helping to draw up a list of Bush appointees more or less at the same time as her husband was adjudicating on whether the same man would become the next President. Finally, Antonin Scalia’s son was working for the firm appointed by Bush to argue his case before the Supreme Court, the head of which was subsequently appointed as Solictor-General.

Faithless Elector

“Faithless Electors” are members of the Electoral College who, for whatever reason, do not vote for their party’s designated candidate. A Democratic elector from the District of Columbia in the 2000 U.S. Election, abstained from voting in the Electoral College rather than vote for Al Gore as was expected, this Electoral College abstention was the first since 1864.

A District of Columbia elector abstained, how convenient.

It should also be noted, that Secretary of State Harris’s purge of voters in Florida had removed both ineligible and eligible voters. Harris, along with state Division of Elections director Clay Roberts and Governor Jeb Bush used an inaccurate ineligible-voter list that eliminated a disproportionate number of eligible people mostly being African Americans from Florida voter rolls. According to journalist Jake Tapper, the problem went uncorrected for two years despite the warnings and complaints of elections supervisor Ion Sancho, and affected the 2000 presidential election.

IMPENDING DOOM AND THE MASTER SLEEPS

February 24, 2001: Colin Powell in Cairo had said, “[Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.” Similarly, assertions of operational links between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda have largely been discredited by the intelligence community, and Secretary Powell himself later admitted he had no proof.

Summer of 2001: CIA Director George Tenet, Richard Clarke, and several other officials were running around with their “hair on fire,” warning that al-Qaida was about to unleash a monumental attack.

May and June of 2001: the intelligence community began to acquire intelligence information indicating that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network intended to strike inside the United States, with the likely targets deemed to be New York and Washington; that summer, the target was narrowed down to the World Trade Center. This plot, however, was deemed too outrageous to be taken seriously, the fact that in 1994, French commandos had stormed a hijacked airliner, foiling a kamikaze attack on the Eiffel Tower. Intelligence forces in the Philippines had discovered similar plans in 1995.

The entire month of August in 2001, George W. Bush and CIA Director George Tenet decide to take a vacation.

Timothy Roemer, a former Democratic congressman, asked CIA Director George Tenet him when he first found out about the report from the FBI’s Minnesota field office that Zacarias Moussaoui, an Islamic jihadist, had been taking lessons on how to fly a 747. Tenet replied that he was briefed about the case on Aug. 23 or 24, 2001. Roemer then asked Tenet if he mentioned Moussaoui to President Bush at one of their frequent morning briefings. Tenet replied, “I was not in briefings at this time.” Bush, he noted, “was on vacation.” He added that he didn’t see the president at all in August 2001. During the entire month, Bush was at his ranch in Texas. “You never talked with him?” Roemer asked. “No,” Tenet replied. By the way, for much of August, Tenet too was, as he put it, “on leave.”

A USA Today story, written right before Bush took off, reported that the vacation – scheduled to last from Aug. 3 to Sept. 3—would tie one of Richard Nixon’s as the longest that any president had ever taken. A week before he left, Bush made a videotaped message for the Boy Scouts of America. On the tape, he said, “I’ll be going to my ranch in Crawford, where I’ll work and take a little time off. I think it is so important for the president to spend some time away from Washington, in the heartland of America.”

August 6, 2001: Bush was given the now-famous President’s Daily Brief (by one of Tenet’s underlings), warning that this attack might take place “inside the United States.” For the previous few years—as Philip Zelikow, the commission’s staff director, revealed this morning—the CIA had issued several warnings that terrorists might fly commercial airplanes into buildings or cities.

August 7, 2001: the day after the fateful PDB, Bush, they wrote, “was in an expansive mood … when he ran into reporters while playing golf.” The president’s aides emphasized that he was working, now and then, on a few issues—education, immigration, Social Security, and his impending decision on stem-cell research.

August 29, 2001: less than a week after Tenet found out about Moussaoui, Bush gave a speech before the American Legion. The White House press office headlined the text of the address, “President Discusses Defense Priorities.” Those priorities: boosting soldiers’ pay and abandoning the Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty. Nothing about terrorism, Osama Bin Laden, hijackings. Nothing that reflected the PDB or Moussaoui.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and the State Department’s counterterrorism chief explained, why the PDB—let alone the Moussaoui finding—should have compelled everyone to rush back to Washington. In his CIA days, Johnson wrote “about 40” PDBs. They’re usually dispassionate in tone, a mere paragraph or two. The PDB of Aug. 6 was a page and a half. “That’s the intelligence-community equivalent of writing War and Peace,” Johnson said. And the title—”Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US”—was clearly designed to set off alarm bells. Johnson told his interviewer that when he read the declassified document, “I said ‘Holy smoke!’ This is such a dead-on ‘Mr. President, you’ve got to do something!’ ”

By the end of that August, though Bush had only been in office since January 20, for a total of 215 days, he had already managed 96 days of vacation time. Almost 45% of the time between January 20, 2001 and September 11, 2001, George W. Bush was on vacation. Bush ended up setting a presidential record for vacation days taken —977 days over the course of his two administrations or an unbelievable 33 percent of his presidency.

September 9, 2001: U.S. military commanders asked for additional funds to meet the domestic terrorist threat, and the Senate Armed Services Committee attempted to reprogram $600 million from Bush’s beloved missile defense. The response: a promised presidential veto.

Top Bush advisers held only two meetings devoted to terrorism during the entire nine-month period before September 11.

OUR COUNTRY’S DAY OF PAIN

September 11, 2001: The worst terrorist attack in United States history happens.

The September 11th attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims. The victims included 246 on the four planes, 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. 

NOTE: Latest figures show more than 2,500 police officers, firefighters, ambulance staff and sanitation workers reported they had cancer last year – twice as many as said they had the disease 12 months earlier. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) documented 863 firefighters and ambulance workers with cancers certified as relating to their work on September 11 2001, according to the New York Post.

The official story is that hijackers flew a Boeing 767 jet into the North Tower at 8:46 am, then flew another Boeing 767 jet into the South Tower at 9:03 am. After burning for only 56 minutes, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am. Then, 29 minutes later, the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 am. Later that day, 7 World Trade Center collapsed at 5:21 pm.

The official story also claims that the (steel-structure) buildings 1 WTC, 2 WTC and 7 WTC collapsed after they were weakened by fire.

7 WTC

The 7 World Trade Center was 47 stories tall, clad in red exterior masonry. 7 WTC was said to be damaged by debris when the nearby North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. The debris was to have ignited fires, which continued to burn on lower floors of the building. The building collapsed completely at 5:21:10 pm, according to FEMA, while the 2008 NIST study placed the final collapse time at 5:20:52 pm.

The collapse made the 7 World Trade Center the first tall building known to have collapsed primarily due to uncontrolled fires, and the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to have collapsed due to fire.

NOTE: The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 am. Based upon the argument that the fire was started in 7 World Trade Center by the collapse of the North Tower, 7 WTC burned for almost seven hours, from 10:28 am to 5:21 pm, before it collapsed.

Just hours after the 9/11 attacks: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met in the Pentagon with Air Force General Richard Myers, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other top aides. Notes taken by Rumsfeld aide Steve Cambone (and referred to pages 334 and 335 of the 9/11 Commission Report) show the secretary asked for the “best info fast..judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] @ same time—not only UBL [Osama bin Laden].” Rumsfeld also tasked Jim Haynes, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, “to talk w/ PW [Paul Wolfowitz] for additional support [for the] connection w/ UBL.” Other comments from the notes: “Need to move swiftly…go massive–sweep it all up things related and not.”

December 1, 2001: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered the Central Command chief, General Tommy Franks, to come up with the first formal briefing on a new war plan for Iraq.

February 7, 2002: Ariel Sharon meets with Bush, Israeli officials convey the message to the US administration that Iran represented a greater threat in the region than Iraq. According to Lawrence Wilkerson, a member of the US State Department’s policy planning staff and later chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, different sources in Israel explained to senior US officials that “if you are going to destabilize the balance of power, do it against the main enemy.”

COULD IT BE?

Immediately following the attacks, a building performance study (BPS) team of engineering specialists was formed by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (SEI/ASCE) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

May 2002: The BPS team issued its report, finding that the aircraft impacts caused “extensive structural damage, including localized collapse” and that the resulting fires “further weakened the steel-framed structures, eventually leading to total collapse.” They also presented recommendations for more detailed engineering studies of the disaster. The BPS team investigation was later followed by a more detailed investigation conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which also consulted outside engineering entities.

September 2005: The NIST investigators did not find anything substandard in the design of the WTC towers. They also emphasized the role of the fires and found that sagging floors pulled inward on the perimeter columns: “This led to the inward bowing of the perimeter columns and failure of the south face of 1 WTC and the east face of 2 WTC, initiating the collapse of each of the towers.”

The structural engineers working on the World Trade Center considered the possibility that an aircraft could crash into the building. Leslie Robertson, one of the chief engineers working on the design of the World Trade Center, considered the scenario of the impact of a jet airliner—a Boeing 707 (the Boeing 707-320B is the aircraft that most people associate with the name, Boeing 707).

NIST found a three-page white paper that mentioned an aircraft-impact analysis, involving impact of a Boeing 707 at 600 miles per hour (970 km/h), but the original documentation of the study, which was part of the building’s 1,200-page structural analysis, was lost when the Port Authority offices were destroyed in the collapse of the 1 WTC; the copy was lost in 7 WTC.

In 1993, John Skilling, lead structural engineer for the WTC, recalled doing the analysis, and remarked, “Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed,” he said. “The building structure would still be there.”

So, let’s compare the 707 to the 767. The maximum takeoff weight for a Boeing 707-320B is 336,000 pounds. The maximum takeoff weight for a Boeing 767-200ER is 395,000 pounds. The 767 weighs 59,000 more pounds. The wingspan of a Boeing 707 is 146 feet. The wingspan of a Boeing 767 is 156 feet. The wingspan of the 767 has 10 more feet. The length of a Boeing 707 is 153 feet. The length of a Boeing 767 is 159 feet. The 767 is 6 more feet longer. The Boeing 707 could carry 23,000 gallons of fuel. The Boeing 767 could carry 23,980 gallons of fuel. The 767 only carried 980 more gallons of fuel, just 5% more fuel. The cruise speed of a Boeing 707 is 607 mph = 890 ft/s. The cruise speed of a Boeing 767 is 530 mph = 777 ft/s. So, the cruise speed of the 707 is 77 mph = 113 ft/s faster than the 767.

1 WTC and 2 WTC had been built to withstand the impact of a 707, including the burning of the fuel. As you can see, the 707 is very similar to a 767, but weighs 15% less, can fly 13% faster, and carries only 5% less fuel. Yet, the official story says these two towers collapsed after 56 minutes and an hour and 42 minutes, because of the impacts of a 767 and fire. 

Then I ask you this, how then can 7 WTC not be hit by a plane, but burn for almost seven hours and then collapse?

2:40 p.m.: a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

BUT, WE JUST COULDN’T OF PREDICTED

After the cataclysmic events of September 11, Bush administration officials adopted the public stance that an attack like those on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been all but unimaginable up until the moments they took place.

President Bush explained, “Never [in] anybody’s thought processes . . . about how to protect America did we ever think that the evildoers would fly not one but four commercial aircraft into precious U.S. targets . . . never.”

Condoleezza Rice followed a similar line: “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that . . . [Al Qaeda] would try to use a hijacked airplane as a missile.”

NOTE: Back in 1995 an accomplice of Ramzi Yousef’s who had trained as a pilot at three separate U.S. flight schools revealed that the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center attack planned to hide bombs on twelve U.S.-bound airliners and crash an explosive-laden airline into the CIA. Six years later the National Intelligence Council received a Library of Congress-prepared report warning that al Qaeda suicide bombers “could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives” into the Pentagon, the CIA building, or the White House. This followed on an August 1998 intelligence report suggesting that a group of unidentified Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center. These documents were passed along to the FBI and FAA.

Bush himself personally received two major briefings during the summer of 2001, one in the White House Situation Room and another on his ranch in Crawford. Each warned that a major terrorist attack against the United States, possibly carried out by al Qaeda, and possibly including hijacked planes, was likely in the offing.

The latter memo read to Bush was entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”—not “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.,” as Ari Fleischer would later argue. Condoleezza Rice would likewise claim, by way of partial exoneration, “The overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas.”

The warnings to Bush appear to have been based on information passed along by British, German, Israeli, Moroccan, Russian, Jordanian, and Egyptian intelligence, as well as by the U.S. intelligence community’s own considerable resources. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the memo’s authors worried “that members of Al Qaeda, including some U.S. citizens, had resided in or traveled to the United States for years and that the group apparently maintained a support structure here.” It raised the possibility that bin Laden would hijack planes and noted patterns of activity consistent with such a plan, as well as information acquired in May 2001 indicating a group of bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives.

“Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon,” the government’s top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, stated.

What did George Bush do after receiving his second serious warning of imminent danger to the nation whose protection and defense he had sworn to uphold?

According to reporter Ron Suskind, Bush replied to the CIA briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now,” and spent the rest of the day fishing.

CONNECTIONS

The Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper revealed that the FBI arrested five Israelis four hours after the attack on the Twin Towers while filming the smoking skyline from the roof of their company’s building. The FBI had arrested the five for “puzzling behavior”. They are said to have been caught videotaping the disaster in what was interpreted as cries of joy and mockery.

Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen

The Times reported on September 18 that investigations were under way into the unusually large numbers of shares in insurance companies and airlines sold off before the attack, in the UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, France and the US. News accounts in the weeks that followed reported a notable pattern of trading in the options of United and American Airlines as well as Morgan Stanley and other market activity. An article published in The Journal of Business in 2006 provides statistical evidence of unusual put option market activity days before 9/11: Examination of the option trading leading up to September 11 reveals that there was an unusually high level of put buying. This finding is consistent with informed investors having traded options before the attacks.

In a statement to the 9/11 Commission in 2003, Mindy Kleinberg, of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, said: Never before on the Chicago Exchange were such large amounts of United and American Airlines options traded. These investors netted a profit of at least $5 million after the September 11 attacks. Interestingly, the names of the investors remain undisclosed and the $5 million remains unclaimed in the Chicago Exchange account.

Regarding these trades, the 9/11 Commission found no malfeasance: A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda purchased 95% of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10… much of the seemingly suspicious trading in America on September 10 was traced to a specific U.S.-based options trading newsletter, faxed to its subscribers on Sunday, September 9, that recommended these trades.

In September 2001, The New York Times and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that four hours after the attack, the FBI arrested five Israelis who had been filming the smoking skyline from the roof of a white van in the parking lot of an apartment building, for “puzzling behavior”. They were charged with illegally residing in the United States and working there without permits. The Israelis were said to have been videotaping the disaster with what was interpreted as cries of “joy and mockery”. Police found the van and a search revealed $4,700 in cash hidden, along with foreign passports and a boxcutter which aroused suspicions and led to the detention of the occupants. The men were held in detention for more than 2 months, during which time they were subjected to interrogation and lie detector tests, before being deported back to Israel; one of the men (Paul Kurzberg) refused to take the test for 10 weeks, and then failed it.

The five men worked at the company Urban Moving Systems, owned and operated by Dominick Suter. After the men were arrested the FBI searched their offices and questioned Suter, however Suter fled to Israel before he could be questioned further. Eventually, Suter’s name appeared on the May 2002 FBI Suspect List, along with the Sep 11 hijackers and other suspected extremists.

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE

September 12, 2001:

2:30 a.m.: CBS reports that a car packed with explosives has been stopped on the George Washington Bridge. The New Jersey police claim there were enough explosives to destroy the entire bridge.

3:50 a.m.: The Jerusalem Post reports that Osama bin Laden has given a speech denying any connection to the attacks

10:53 a.m.: President George W. Bush holds a cabinet meeting, saying that the attacks “were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war.”

5:00 p.m.: Attorney General John Ashcroft announces that some of the hijackers were pilots trained in the US.

Afghanistan’s Taliban ambassador to Pakistan has condemned the string of astonishing terrorist attacks on the United States. “We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain. We hope the courts find justice,” ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said in a statement in Pakistan

September 13, 2001: The United States National Transportation Safety Board, which usually investigates air disasters, issued a press release stating that the NTSB would assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that the FBI would be “the lead investigative agency”.

Bush stated: “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden.” He added: “It is our No. 1 priority and we will not rest until we find him.”

September 14, 2001: The names of the 19 suspected hijackers are released by the FBI.

September 17, 2001:

Speaking with reporters after a Pentagon briefing on plans to call up reserve troops, Bush offered some of his most blunt language to date when he was asked if he wanted bin Laden dead. “I want justice,” Bush said. “And there’s an old poster out West… I recall, that said, ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.'”

The Lebanese Hezbollah-owned satellite channel Al-Manar comes out with a news piece arguing that the Israeli secret services and Zionist supporters of them were most likely responsible, and claiming that 4,000 Israelis had stayed away from work at the World Trade Center that day.

Bush also had a warning for Americans: He said the war to stamp out terrorism would be long and could be costly and might be short on the kinds of operations and obvious victories that are seen in traditional wars.

“The Bush Family vacations with the Bin Ladens”

September 19, 2001: government records show flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure. The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show. The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts because they said they were concerned for their safety in the wake of the attacks, and the F.B.I. – which was then beginning the biggest criminal investigation in its history – arranged to have agents escort them to their local airports, the documents show.

The confidential documents have been obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act and ongoing litigation. The documents state: ON 9/19/01, A 727 PLANE LEFT LAX, RYAN FLT #441 TO ORLANDO, FL W/ETA (estimated time of arrival) OF 4-5PM. THE PLANE WAS CHARTERED EITHER BY THE SAUDI ARABIAN ROYAL FAMILY OR OSAMA BIN LADEN…THE LA FBI SEARCHED THE PLANE [REDACTED] LUGGAGE, OF WHICH NOTHING UNUSUAL WAS FOUND.

In 1978, George W Bush and Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s elder brother, were founders of the Arbusto Energy oil company. The Bin Laden family, George H.W. Bush and George W Bush were all investors in the Carlyle Group.

According to the Washington Post,  the Carlyle Group met at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in NYC one day before 9/11. In attendance at this meeting were former president George H. W. Bush and  Shafiq bin Laden, the brother of Osama bin Laden. The Carlyle Group is a large private-equity investment firm, closely associated with officials of the Bush and Reagan administrations, and has considerable ties to Saudi oil money, including ties to the bin Laden family.

NOTE: Salem bin Laden died on May 29, 1988 when he accidentally drifted into high voltage electrical power lines adjacent to the Kitty Hawk Field of Dreams Ultra-Lite Flying Field at the edge of Schertz, a northeastern San Antonio suburb. The Sprint ultralight aircraft he was flying fell 115 feet to the ground after the wire strike. Salem, who was not wearing a safety helmet, died of head injuries from the resulting fall. The National Transportation Safety Board did not conduct an accident investigation since the aircraft was an ultralight aircraft, which was not covered under their mandate due to exemption while operating under FAR Part 103 Provisions required by Federal law. The Schertz Police, who attended to the incident, stated in the report that Salem died in a freak accident.

This was the second plane crash-related death in the Bin Laden family, as Salem’s father Mohammed bin Laden was also killed in a plane crash in 1967.

FBI Special agent Robert Wright broke down when testifying that he had been gagged and could not reveal the true extent of what he knew about the Bush-Bin Laden connection and 9/11. His lawyer stepped up and said live on C-Span that “The Bush Family vacations with the Bin Ladens”.

Late August 2001: barely a couple of weeks before September 11, Senator Bob Graham, Representative Porter Goss and Senator Jon Kyl were on a top level mission in Islamabad, Pakistan. Meetings were held with President Pervez Musharraf and with Pakistan’s military and intelligence brass, including the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmad. The ISI was instrumental in providing financial support to the 9/11 terrorists. General Ahmad had ordered the transfer of $100,000 to the presumed 9/11 ring-leader Mohamed Atta.

On the morning of September 11: Bob Graham, Porter Goss and Jon Kyl were having breakfast on Capital Hill with General Ahmad. Also present at this meeting were Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.

September 12-13: Meetings between Lt. General Ahmad and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Agreement on Pakistan’s  collaboration negotiated between Ahmad and Armitage.  Meeting between General Ahmad and Secretary of State Colin Powell

September 13: Ahmad meets Senator Joseph Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Evidence confirms that Al Qaeda is supported by Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI). Amply documented, the ISI owes its existence to the CIA: “With CIA backing and the funnelling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the ISI developed [since the early 1980s] into a parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government….The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers estimated at 150,000.” The ISI actively collaborates with the CIA. It continues to perform the role of a ‘go-between’ in numerous intelligence operations on behalf of the CIA. The ISI directly supports and finances a number of terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda.

September 21, 2001: Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.

AGREE WITH US – OR YOU ARE A TERRORIST

President Bush gives speech to joint session of Congress, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Rudy Giuliani, and Governor Pataki in attendance. He thanks the world for its support of the US, and announces that the US is at war with terrorism and demands countries choose to be “with us or with the terrorists.” He limits the enemy to terrorist groups with “global reach.” Five unconditional demands are imposed on the Taliban, including the immediate closedown of all terrorist training camps and the delivery of all al-Qaeda leaders to US authorities. He creates a new cabinet-level office, Homeland Security and names Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as its head.

THEN CAME AFGHANISTAN

Moderate elements of the Taliban are reported to have given the USA advance warning of the attacks. The BBC reports that Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, sent the USA an advance warning of the attack following a tip-off he received from Tohir Yo‘ldosh, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Like al-Qaeda, the Taliban allowed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to place training camps in Afghanistan. Tohir Yo‘ldosh was reported to have been concerned that if al-Qaeda was not stopped prior to launching the attacks, the USA would retaliate against all of Afghanistan, which would have a negative effect on his movement’s efforts.

September 21: Afghanistan press conference announces willingness to turn Osama bin Laden forcibly over only with evidence. United States reiterates it will not negotiate on demands. The US never releases the evidence demanded.

September 24: Over 100,000 tons of debris had been removed from the World Trade Center site. Only 13 days after the attack, what happened to the investigation?

United States reveals that special forces are now, and/or have been recently, operating in Afghanistan already or in recent days.

September 28: FBI Press Conference release of an untranslated handwritten 4-page hijackers’ letter written in Arabic and found in three separate copies at Dulles, the Pennsylvania crash site, and in Mohamed Atta’s suitcase. It includes Islamic prayers, instructions for a last night of life, and a practical checklist of final reminders for the mission.

So, they can remove 100,00 tons of debris at the WTC site in 13 days, but it takes the FBI seventeen days to find a letter in Atta’s bag?

September 30: The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, admits that the Taliban regime is protecting Osama bin Laden in an unknown location in Afghanistan, that he had been given the ulema recommendation that he leave the country voluntarily which he has turned down, and that the Taliban would be open to negotiations with the US given evidence of bin Laden’s culpability in the 9/11 attacks. John Ashcroft expresses skepticism as well as anger at the Taliban’s refusal to accept conditions.

October 2, 2001: Bush again rejected a Taliban appeal for discussions. “There is no timetable for the Taliban, just like there are no negotiations,” he said. His position was confirmed by Fleischer: “There will be no discussions and no negotiations. So what they say is not as important as what they do. And it’s time for them to act.”

October 7, 2001: the first air strikes began. One week into the military campaign the Taliban made a further failed plea for negotiations. Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister Maulvi Abdul Kabir told reporters in Jalalabad that the Taliban would hand over Bin Laden if the US stopped bombing Afghanistan.

October 15, 2001: Bush declares, “They must not have heard. There are no negotiations. This is non-negotiable.” Speaking on the White House lawn, Bush reiterated his position that the US is not obliged to provide any proof of bin Laden’s involvement. “There is no need to discuss innocence or guilt,” he said. “We know he’s guilty. Turn him over. If they want us to stop our military operations, they’ve just got to meet my conditions,” Bush said.

In other words, not only the Taliban, but the entire world must accept on faith Washington’s accusations against bin Laden.

Some two weeks prior to launching the war, Secretary of State Colin Powell promised to make public an evidentiary case against the man whom the US accuses of masterminding last month’s attacks. But the Bush administration reneged on this pledge.

November 6, 2001: the British prime minister Tony Blair, speaking on CNN’s Larry King Live, backed up Bush’s position: “The Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda network have virtually merged now. Their forces are the same, probably their military structures are virtually the same. So there’s no negotiating with them.”

Late 2001: Cheney said it was “pretty well confirmed” that attack mastermind Mohamed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official. Later, Cheney called Iraq the “geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”

February 2002: a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy. And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

March 18, 2003: Bush’s letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph: (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

March 13, 2002 (only 6 months after 9/11): at a White House press conference, Bush stated: Well, deep in my heart, I know the man’s on the run if he’s alive at all. And I – you know, who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not? We hadn’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is really – indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission. Terror’s bigger than one person. And he’s just – he’s a person who has now been marginalized. His network is – his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. … And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, you know, again, I don’t know where he is. I’ll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But, you know, once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became – we shoved him out more and more on the margins.

The official story of Osama bin Laden’s death, according to Defense Department, is that the USS Carl Vinson took Osama Bin Laden’s body out to sea and dropped it at undisclosed location. Doubts about bin Laden’s death were fueled by the disposal of his body at sea, the decision to not release any photographic or DNA evidence of bin Laden’s death to the public, the contradicting accounts of the incident (with the official story on the raid appearing to change or directly contradict previous assertions), and the 25-minute blackout during the raid on bin Laden’s compound during which a live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the U.S. special forces was cut off.

Numerous organizations filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking at least a partial release of photographs, videos, and/or DNA test results, including The Associated Press, Reuters, CBS News, Judicial Watch, Politico, Fox News, Citizens United, and NPR. On April 26, 2012, a US federal judge decided in the case Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense, et al that the DoD did not need to release any evidence to the public.

Then came the Iraq War that we just had to have to stop all of the weapons of mass destruction that we never found. Only 4,487 Americans died fighting this war which was found to be based on total lies. You know, the war we started to get Osama bin Laden. And which turned out to be the longest running war in American history.

Well, I guess, at least, the opium production went up in the country under US control.

NOTE: In 1991, Paul Wolfowitz was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. General Wesley Clark had gone to see him when he was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center. And he said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.” And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

Bush began formally making his case to the international community for an invasion of Iraq in his 12 September 2002 address to the UN Security Council.

July 23, 2002: leaked minutes of a conversation between British intelligence officials and Prime Minister Tony Blair, referred to as the Downing Street memo. It reads, Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

October 2002: Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of Central Command for U.S. forces in the Middle East and State Department’s envoy to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, called Iraq “maybe six or seven,” in terms of U.S. Middle East priorities, adding that “the affordability line may be drawn around five.”

However, while commander of CENTCOM, Zinni held a very different opinion concerning the threat posed by Iraq. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2000, Zinni said: “Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region. This is primarily due to its large conventional military force, pursuit of WMD, oppressive treatment of Iraqi citizens, refusal to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), persistent threats to enforcement of the No Fly Zones (NFZ), and continued efforts to violate UN Security Council sanctions through oil smuggling.” However, it is important to note that Zinni specifically referred to “the Persian Gulf region” in his Senate testimony, which is a significantly smaller region of the world than the “Middle East”, which he referred to in 2007.

February 5, 2003: The Bush administration’s overall rationale for the invasion of Iraq was presented in detail by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations Security Council. In summary, he stated, We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he’s determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein’s history of aggression… given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post–September 11 world.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was passed by congress with Republicans voting 98% in favor in the Senate, and 97% in favor in the House. Democrats supported the joint resolution 58% and 39% in the Senate and House respectively. The resolution asserts the authorization by the Constitution of the United States and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism.

United States military operations were conducted under the codename Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL).

Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States (148,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), and Poland (194). According to George W. Bush and Tony Blair, the coalition mission was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some long-standing U.S. allies, including the governments of France, Germany, and New Zealand. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC’s 12 February 2003 report.

February 15, 2003: a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.

According to General Tommy Franks, the objectives of the invasion were, “First, end the regime of Saddam Hussein. Second, to identify, isolate and eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Third, to search for, to capture and to drive out terrorists from that country. Fourth, to collect such intelligence as we can related to terrorist networks. Fifth, to collect such intelligence as we can related to the global network of illicit weapons of mass destruction. Sixth, to end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support to the displaced and to many needy Iraqi citizens. Seventh, to secure Iraq’s oil fields and resources, which belong to the Iraqi people. And last, to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government.”

After considerable debate, the UN Security Council adopted a compromise resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which authorized the resumption of weapons inspections and promised “serious consequences” for non-compliance. Security Council members France and Russia made clear that they did not consider these consequences to include the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi government. Resolution 1441 gave Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” and set up inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Hussein accepted the resolution on 13 November and inspectors returned to Iraq under the direction of UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

February 2003: the IAEA “found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq”; the IAEA concluded that certain items which could have been used in nuclear enrichment centrifuges, such as aluminum tubes, were in fact intended for other uses. UNMOVIC “did not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programs of weapons of mass destruction” or significant quantities of proscribed items.

In the 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush said “we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs”. On 5 February 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations General Assembly, continuing U.S. efforts to gain UN authorization for an invasion. His presentation to the UN Security Council, which contained a computer generated image of a mobile biological weapons laboratory. However, this information was based on claims of Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi codenamed “Curveball”, an Iraqi emigrant living in Germany who later admitted that his claims had been false.

February 27, 2003: Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, called the estimate by General Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, ”wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials had put the figure closer to 100,000 troops. Mr. Wolfowitz, with Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller, at his side, said ”There will be an appropriate moment,” when the Pentagon would provide Congress with cost ranges. ”We’re not in a position to do that right now.”

”The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. At the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld said the factors influencing cost estimates made even ranges imperfect. Asked whether he would release such ranges to permit a useful public debate on the subject, Mr. Rumsfeld said, ”I’ve already decided that. It’s not useful.” 

March 17, 2003:  in an address to the nation, Bush demanded that Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay, surrender and leave Iraq, giving them a 48-hour deadline. But the U.S. began the bombing of Iraq on March 18, 2003.

December 2002: a representative of the head of Iraqi Intelligence, the General Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, contacted former Central Intelligence Agency Counterterrorism Department head Vincent Cannistraro stating that Hussein “knew there was a campaign to link him to 11 September and prove he had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).” Cannistraro further added that “the Iraqis were prepared to satisfy these concerns. I reported the conversation to senior levels of the state department and I was told to stand aside and they would handle it.” Cannistraro stated that the offers made were all “killed” by the George W. Bush administration because they allowed Hussein to remain in power, an outcome viewed as unacceptable. It has been suggested that Saddam Hussein was prepared to go into exile if allowed to keep $1 billion USD. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s national security advisor, Osama El-Baz, sent a message to the U.S. State Department that the Iraqis wanted to discuss the accusations that the country had weapons of mass destruction and ties with Al-Qaeda. Iraq also attempted to reach the U.S. through the Syrian, French, German, and Russian intelligence services.

War of Terror

The rationale for invading Iraq as a response to 9/11 has been widely questioned, as there was no cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. But, shortly after 11 September 2001 (on 20 September), Bush addressed a joint session of Congress (simulcast live to the world), and announced his new “War on Terror”. This announcement was accompanied by the doctrine of “pre-emptive” military action, later termed the Bush Doctrine. Allegations of a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were made by some U.S. Government officials who asserted that a highly secretive relationship existed between Saddam and the radical Islamist militant organization al-Qaeda from 1992 to 2003, specifically through a series of meetings reportedly involving the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). Some Bush advisers favored an immediate invasion of Iraq, while others advocated building an international coalition and obtaining United Nations authorization. Bush eventually decided to seek UN authorization, while still reserving the option of invading without it.

The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of George W. Bush. The phrase was first used by Charles Krauthammer in June 2001 to describe the Bush Administration’s “unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol.” After 9/11 the phrase described the policy that the United States had the right to secure itself against countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups, which was used to justify the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The Bush Doctrine was used to describe specific policy elements, including a strategy of “preemptive strikes” as a defense against an immediate threat to the security of the United States. This policy principle was applied particularly in the Middle East to counter international terrorist organizations. Generally, the Bush Doctrine was used to indicate a willingness to unilaterally pursue U.S. military interests. Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002. The phrase “Bush Doctrine” was rarely used by members of the Bush administration. The expression was used at least once, though, by Vice President Richard Cheney, in a June 2003 speech in which he said, “If there is anyone in the world today who doubts the seriousness of the Bush Doctrine, I would urge that person to consider the fate of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.”

All Set

General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

NOTE: In the aftermath of military-caused regime change in Iraq and Libya … with concerted regime change efforts now underway aimed at Syria and Iran, with active and escalating proxy fighting in Somalia, with a modest military deployment to South Sudan, and the active use of drones in six — different Muslim countries, it is worth asking whether the neocon dream as laid out by Clark is dead or is being actively pursued and fulfilled, albeit with means more subtle and multilateral than full-on military invasions.

The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ “Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.” The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy; it was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Binyamin Netanyahu. As the title indicates, it advised the right-wing Mr Netanyahu to make a complete break with the past by adopting a strategy “based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism …” The paper set out a plan by which Israel would “shape its strategic environment”, beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. With Saddam out of the way and Iraq thus brought under Jordanian Hashemite influence, Jordan and Turkey would form an axis along with Israel to weaken and “roll back” Syria. Jordan, it suggested, could also sort out Lebanon by “weaning” the Shia Muslim population away from Syria and Iran, and re-establishing their former ties with the Shia in the new Hashemite kingdom of Iraq. “Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them”, the paper concluded.

  • Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, “comprehensive peace” to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.
  • Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.
  • Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West. This can only be done if Israel takes serious steps to terminate aid, which prevents economic reform.

 

May 1, 2003: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared an end to major combat operations in Afghanistan

May 1, 2003: The Mission Accomplished speech gets its name from a banner that read “Mission Accomplished” displayed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a televised address by Bush. Bush stated at the time that this was the end to major combat operations in Iraq. “In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” Bush’s assertion—and the sign itself—became controversial after guerrilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech.

The U.S.-led Coalition forces toppled the government and captured the key cities of a large nation in only 21 days. General Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, recommended “several hundred thousand” troops be used to maintain post-war order, but then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—and especially his deputy, civilian Paul Wolfowitz—strongly disagreed.

According to Iraq Body Count, a group that relies on press reports, NGO-based reports and official figures to measure civilian casualties, approximately 7,500 civilians were killed during the invasion phase. The Project on Defense Alternatives study estimated that 3,200–4,300 civilians died during the invasion.

June 5, 2003: Bush offered a “Mission Accomplished” message to the troops in Afghanistan at Camp As Sayliyah – “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.”

September 2003: Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied: It’s not surprising that people make that connection.

2004 –

Faithless Elector

“Faithless Electors” are members of the Electoral College who, for whatever reason, do not vote for their party’s designated candidate.

Anonymous (Democrat, Minnesota): An unknown elector from Minnesota, pledged to vote for Democrat John Kerry, cast a presidential vote instead for Kerry’s running mate John Edwards (the elector also cast his or her vice presidential vote for Edwards). One Minnesota elector, who believed the Edwards vote must have been a mistake, said, “I’m certainly glad the Electoral College isn’t separated by one vote.”

January 7, 2006: US-installed regime in Baghdad approves a new hydrocarbon law that will hand unprecedented control of the country’s vast oil reserves to US and British energy conglomerates. The new law, makes a mockery of any claims of Iraqi sovereignty and underscores that the real aim of the bloody enterprise by US imperialism has been to colonize the country and seize some of the largest untapped oil resources left on the globe.

September 14, 2006: Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes told Hannity’s Fox News that in a recent meeting with Bush, the president had told him “bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.” Barnes said Bush told him that capturing bin Laden is “not a top priority use of American resources.”

And just six months after 9/11, Bush suggested in a press conference that Bin Laden was not a top priority for his administration. Asked whether Bush thought capturing Bin Laden was important, Bush scolded those who cared about Bin Laden for not “understand[ing] the scope of the mission” because Bin Laden was just “one person,” whom Bush said, “I really just don’t spend that much time on“: Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not. We haven’t heard from him in a long time. The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. He’s just a person who’s been marginalized. … I don’t know where he is. I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.

In 2003, a study released by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting stated the network news disproportionately focused on pro-war sources and left out many anti-war sources. According to the study, 64% of total sources were in favor of the Iraq War while total anti-war sources made up 10% of the media (only 3% of US sources were anti-war). The study looked at 6 American news networks after 20 March for three weeks. The study stated that “viewers were more than six times as likely to see a pro-war source as one who was anti-war; with U.S. guests alone, the ratio increases to 25 to 1.”

A September 2003 poll revealed that seventy percent of Americans believed there was a link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of 9/11. 80% of Fox News viewers were found to hold at least one such belief about the invasion, compared to 23% of PBS viewers. Ted Turner, founder of CNN, charged that Rupert Murdoch was using Fox News to advocate an invasion. Critics have argued that this statistic is indicative of misleading coverage by the U.S. media since viewers in other countries were less likely to have these beliefs. A post-2008 election poll by FactCheck.org found that 48% of Americans believe Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attacks, the group concluded that “voters, once deceived, tend to stay that way despite all evidence.”

International coverage of the war differed from coverage in the U.S. in a number of ways. The Arab-language news channel Al Jazeera and the German satellite channel Deutsche Welle featured almost twice as much information on the political background of the war. Al Jazeera also showed scenes of civilian casualties which were rarely seen in the U.S. media.

The central U.S. justification for launching the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein’s alleged development of nuclear and biological weapons and purported ties to al-Qaeda made his regime a “grave and growing” threat to the United States and the world community. 

During the lead-up to the war and the aftermath of the invasion, critics cast doubt on the evidence supporting this rationale. Concerning Iraq’s weapons programs, prominent critics included Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector who argued in 2002 that inspections had eliminated the nuclear and chemical weapons programs, and that evidence of their reconstitution would “have been eminently detectable by intelligence services ….”

Although it is popularly believed that Saddam Hussein had forced the IAEA weapons inspectors to leave Iraq, they were in fact withdrawn at the request of US Ambassador Peter Burleigh in advance of Operation Desert Fox, the 1998 American bombing campaign. After the build-up of U.S. troops in neighboring states, Hussein welcomed them back and promised complete cooperation with their demands. Experienced IAEA inspection teams were already back in Iraq and had made some interim reports on its search for various forms of WMD.

Similarly, alleged links between Iraq and al-Qaeda were called into question during the lead-up to the war, and were discredited by a 21 October 2004 report from U.S. Senator Carl Levin, which was later corroborated by an April 2006 report from the Defense Department’s inspector general. These reports further alleged that Bush Administration officials, particularly former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith, manipulated evidence to support links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in an interview with the BBC in September 2004, “[F]rom our point of view and from the Charter point of view [the war] was illegal.” This drew immediate criticism from the United States and was immediately played down. His annual report to the General Assembly for 2003 included no more than the statement: “Following the end of major hostilities which resulted in the occupation of Iraq…” A similar report from the Security Council was similarly terse in its reference to the event: “Following the cessation of hostilities in Iraq in April 2003…” The United Nations Security Council has passed nearly 60 resolutions on Iraq and Kuwait since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The most relevant to this issue is Resolution 678, passed on 29 November 1990. It authorizes “member states co-operating with the Government of Kuwait… to use all necessary means” to (1) implement Security Council Resolution 660 and other resolutions calling for the end of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait and withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwaiti territory and (2) “restore international peace and security in the area.”

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who responded to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s 5 February 2003 presentation to the U.N Security Council by saying that: “Given the choice between military intervention and an inspections regime that is inadequate because of a failure to cooperate on Iraq’s part, we must choose the decisive reinforcement of the means of inspections.” In response to Donald Rumsfeld’s reference to European countries that did not support the invasion of Iraq as ‘Old Europe’, Dominique de Villepin ended his speech with words that would later come to embody the French-German political, economic, and military alliance throughout the beginning of the 21st Century: “This message comes to you today from an old country, France, from a continent like mine, Europe, that has known wars, occupation and barbarity. (…) Faithful to its values, it wishes resolutely to act with all the members of the international community. It believes in our ability to build together a better world.”

The direct opposition between diplomatic solution and military intervention involving France and the United States which was personified by Chirac versus Bush and later Powell versus de Villepin, became a milestone in the Franco-American relations. Anti-French propangada exploiting the classic Francophobic clichés immediately ensued in the United States and the United Kingdom. A call for a boycott on French wine was launched in the United States and the New York Post covered on the 1944 “Sacrifice” of the GIs France would had forgotten. It was followed a week later, on 20 February, by the British newspaper The Sun publishing a special issue entitled “Chirac is a worm” and including ad hominem attacks such as “Jacques Chirac has become the shame of Europe”. Actually both newspapers expressed the opinion of their owner, U.S. billionaire Rupert Murdoch, a military intervention supporter and a George W. Bush partisan as argued by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian published on 17 February.

Casus Belli

Bush often described the Iraq War as a “central front in the war on terror”.

Some critics of the war, particularly within the U.S. military community, argued pointedly against the conflation of Iraq and the war on terror, and criticized Bush for losing focus on the more important objective of fighting al-Qaeda. As Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon’s former top operations officer, wrote in a 2006 TIME article,
“I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat—al-Qaeda.”

Critics within this vein have further argued that containment would have been an effective strategy for the Hussein government, and that the top U.S. priorities in the Middle East should be encouraging a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, working for the moderation of Iran, and solidifying gains made in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Hey, what about a real investigation of 9/11. They don’t even truly nvestigate the cause of war?

Besides arguing that Iraq was not the top strategic priority in the war on terrorism or in the Middle East, critics of the war also suggested that it could potentially destabilize the surrounding region. Prominent among such critics was Brent Scowcroft, who served as National Security Advisor to George H. W. Bush. In a 15 August 2002 Wall Street Journal editorial entitled “Don’t attack Saddam”, Scowcroft wrote that, “Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region… there would be an explosion of outrage against us… the results could well destabilize Arab regimes”, and, “could even swell the ranks of the terrorists.”

July 3, 2006: the CIA announced that late in 2005 they had closed down the unit code-named Alec Station which had been tasked for over a decade with the mission of hunting down Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants. The CIA stated that tracking bin Laden was still a high priority, but that the agency was changing its focus to regional trends instead of specific individuals.

Then we had Abu Ghraib, which showed that America now resorted to torturing prisoners.

Hurricane Katrina, which the administration sat by for three days, while people died.

Then there was the outing of a CIA official, Valerie Plame. American diplomat Joseph C. Wilson investigated the contention that Iraq had sought uranium for nuclear weapons in Niger and reported that the contention had no substance.

Veterans were neglected at the Walter Reed hospital, the administration loved the soldier and forgot the veteran.

Employment

The Congressional Budget Office issued a report in January 2001 — the month Bush took office — that estimated budget surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the 2002-2011 period. The total public debt stood at $5.7 trillion on Jan. 20, 2001, the date of Bush’s inauguration. And when he left, the total debt was $10.6 trillion. So, that is going from a $5.6 trillion surplus to $10.6 trillion in debt when Bush leaves. $10.6 minus $5.7 trillion debt he inherited = $4.9 trillion increase in debt. $4.9 trillion in additional spending plus a $5.6 trillion in surplus = $10.5 trillion in Bush spending. Bush set the all-time record by increasing the debt by $1.1 trillion in 100 days between July 30 and Nov 9, 2008. Federal outlays rose nearly 33% during the first four fiscal years for which Bush signed the appropriations bills (FY2002 – 2005) and rose again by another 34% during the next four fiscal years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22.7 million jobs were added between January 1993 and January 2001, under Clinton. BLS data shows only a net increase of 1.1 million jobs, from January 2001 to January 2009. Roughly 8.75 million jobs were lost from January 2008 to February 2010. BLS data show that 4.4 million jobs were lost in Bush’s last year in office, and 4.3 million more jobs were lost during Obama’s first 13 month

CBO projects 2014’s deficit will be $506 billion, so the deficit has fallen by more than half since Obama took office. Federal spending in 2014, ran only 7.9% higher than it was when Obama took office. The total number of jobs in September 2014 was nearly 5.5 million higher than when Obama was first sworn in. Four times more jobs have been added under Obama than were gained in George W. Bush’s eight years in office.

Housing Foreclosure

June 17, 2002 – Bush, in Atlanta to unveil a plan to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million, “Part of economic security,” Bush proposed affordable housing tax incentives. He insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet ambitious new goals for low-income lending. Concerned that down payments were a barrier, Bush persuaded Congress to spend up to $200 million a year to help first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs. Bush pushed to allow first-time buyers to qualify for federally insured mortgages with no money down. Bush populated the financial system’s oversight agencies with people who wanted fewer rules, not more. Bush’s banking regulators, saw over a 9,000-page pile of regulations as they promised to ease burdens on the industry. When states tried to use consumer protection laws to crack down on predatory lending, the comptroller of the currency blocked the effort, asserting that states had no authority over national banks. December 2003: Bush signs the American Dream Downpayment Act to be implemented under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The goal was to provide a maximum downpayment assistance grant of either $10,000 or six percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever was greater. In addition, the Bush Administration committed to reforming the homebuying process that would lower closing costs by approximately $700 per loan.

A total of 846,982 properties were in some stage of foreclosure in 2005. A total of 1,259,118 foreclosures were filed during 2006, up 42% from 2005. A total of 2,203,295 foreclosures were filed on 1,285,873 properties during 2007, up 75%from 2006. A total of 3,157,806 foreclosures were filed on 2,330,483 properties during 2008, up 81% from 2007.

In 2007, the government seized control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Bush announced on Aug. 31, “F.H.A. Secure,” it aimed to help about 80,000 homeowners refinance their loans. Bush developed Hope Now, a voluntary public-private partnership to help struggling homeowners refinance loans.

Among the Republican Party’s top 10 donors in 2004 was Roland Arnall. He founded Ameriquest, then the nation’s largest lender in the subprime market, which focuses on less creditworthy borrowers. In July 2005, the company agreed to set aside $325 million to settle allegations in 30 states that it had preyed on borrowers with hidden fees and ballooning payments. It was an early signal that deceptive lending practices, which would later set off a wave of foreclosures, were widespread. Bush nominated Mr. Arnall as his ambassador to the Netherlands.

The New Century Financial Corporation, a huge subprime lender whose mortgages were bundled into securities sold around the world, was headed for bankruptcy in March 2007.

Save the Criminals

It was Sept. 18. Lehman Brothers had just gone belly-up, overwhelmed by toxic mortgages. The investment bank Bear Stearns had been toppled. Bank of America had swallowed Merrill Lynch in a hastily arranged sale. Bush had agreed to pump $85 billion into the failing insurance giant American International Group. The president listened as Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, laid out the latest terrifying news: The credit markets, gripped by panic, had frozen overnight, and banks were refusing to lend money. Then his Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., told him that to stave off disaster, he would have to sign off on the biggest government bailout in history.

Mr. Paulson, a former chairman of the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, had been given unusual power; he had accepted the job only after the president guaranteed him that Treasury, not the White House, would have the dominant role in shaping economic policy. Never once, Mr. Paulson said in an interview, has Mr. Bush overruled him. “I’ve got a boss,” he explained, who “understands that when you’re dealing with something as unprecedented and fast-moving as this we need to have a different operating style.”

Paulson spelled out what would become a $700 billion plan to rescue the nation’s banking system, the president did not hesitate.

Oil Buddies

Then in 2008, just as Bush was leaving office. Oil hit its all-time high of $147 per barrel (now it fluctuates between $95-105 on average throughout the year). Our country had never seen prices well over $4 per gallon like most of the country experienced that summer.

March 24, 2008:  Cheney responded to a question about public opinion polls showing that Americans had lost confidence in the war by simply replying “So?”

Then came September when the economy officially started falling. We lost jobs every single month in 2008 (2.6 million in total). The worst annual loss of jobs since 1945. In his last three months in office, we lost a combined 1.7 million jobs. In January 2009, his last month in office, we lost 598,000 jobs.

But, Bush still bailed out Wall Street, after promoting the deregulation that lead to the collapse, and made the actual crooks who created it and who benefited from it – to big to fail.

The American auto industry was on the verge of collapse, our deficits were out of control, our national debt was almost double what it was when he took office, the stock market was plummeting, millions of Americans were losing their homes and unemployment was skyrocketing out of control.

RESULTS

Number Of Iraqis Killed In US War And Occupation Of Iraq: 1,455,590
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Killed in Action (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq: 4,801
Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Killed In Afghanistan: 3,487
Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan: $1,626,826,530,295

The Iraqi Council of Ministers approve a controversial new hydrocarbon law, heavily pushed by the US and UK governments, that will radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world. It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972. The new law is a radical departure from the norm for developing countries and would be the first of its kind for any major oil producer in the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world’s number one and two largest producers, “both tightly control their industries through state-owned companies with no appreciable foreign collaboration,” as do most members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The most significant legal aspect of the pending legislation is the introduction of so-called production-sharing agreements (PSAs), in which the state maintains formal ownership of oil reserves but pours out billions in compensation to foreign oil companies for their investment in the infrastructure and operation of drills, pipelines and refineries. According to the draft of the legislation, the PSAs in Iraq would be fixed for 30 years or more, allowing foreign oil companies to maintain favorable arrangements no matter what a future government might do to regulate their profits, tax rates or production levels. One provision in an earlier draft of the new law—which may or may not be retained in the latest version—insists that any disputes with a foreign company must ultimately be settled by international, rather than Iraqi, arbitration.

The terms granted under the new law guarantee will guarantee massive profits to ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and other energy conglomerates. While recovering the costs of their initial investment to develop an oil field, foreign companies will be able to retain 60 to 70 percent of oil revenue. After recouping their initial outlay, the companies can take up to 20 percent of the profit.

“You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you’re gone.” —W.

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