President Bush addressed the nation tonight in the face of sinking poll numbers and confusion about the Bush plan for the war. It’s time for the President to clear up the confusion and level with the American people about where the war in Iraq is going.
ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TELL CONFLICTING STORIES
ON THE DURATION OF THE WAR
Cheney says insurgency in its last throes. Vice President Dick Cheney: the insurgency is in its “last throes.” [International Herald Tribune, June 26, 2005 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/politics/26cnd-policy.html]
Rumsfeld says insurgency could last 12 years. “The insurgency will be put down by the Iraqi people over time,” Mr. Rumsfeld said on Fox News Sunday. “It won’t be won by the coalition forces.” He added that “insurgencies tend to go on 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 years.” [International Herald Tribune, June 26, 2005 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/26/politics/26cnd-policy.html]
- Cheney’s appeal to the dictionary doesn’t resolve the discrepancy: “No, I would disagree. If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a, you know, a violent period, the throes of a revolution.” [CNN, 6/23/05, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/23/wbr.01.html]
- There’s no confusion about the definition of “throes.” It’s the length of “last throes” that the American people want explained.
ON NEGOTIATING WITH TERRORISTS
Rice says we don’t do it. “Obviously, the United States continues to hold to a policy that we do not negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.” [Condoleezza Rice, Remarks With Italian Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2005/44601.htm]
Rumsfeld says we do. “Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged Sunday that U.S. officials met with insurgents in Iraq, after a British newspaper reported two such meetings took place recently at a villa north of Baghdad.” [AP, June 26, 2005 http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050626/ap_on_re_eu/britain_iraq]
IT’S NO SURPRISE BUSH AND HIS OFFICALS DON’T AGREE WITH EACH OTHER – THEY CAN’T AGREE WITH THEMSELVES
George Bush Then and Now: For a Timetable Before He Was Against One.
ThenGeorge Bush called for an exit strategy: “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.” [Houston Chronicle April 9, 1999]
Bush called for a timetable. “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.” [Scripts Howard, June 5, 1999]
NowBush changes course and says a timetable doesn’t make sense. “It doesn’t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you’re — you’re conceding too much to the enemy.” [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050624.html]
Donald Rumsfeld Then and Now: Against Sweetheart War Contracts Before He Was For Them.
ThenRumsfeld thought contracts awarding companies a percentage of their costs as profits led to waste and profiteering. “For obvious and valid reasons ‘cost plus percent of cost contracts’ are illegal by statute and are not used by the U.S. Government. This contract looks like a ‘cost plus percent of cost’ contract. It sounds like a ‘cost plus percent of cost’ contract, and it apparently works almost like a ‘cost plus percent of cost’ contract. But, interestingly, it is called, euphemistically and somewhat mysteriously – and it is, to my knowledge the only one so called – a ‘cost plus award fee’ contract. Who says you cannot turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse? [Congressional Record, 8/20/66]
“Why this huge contract has not been and is not now being adequately audited is beyond me. The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial.” [Congressional Record, 8/20/66]
Halliburton gets the same sweetheart contracts Rumsfeld used to criticize. “The contracts entitle the company to get full reimbursement for its costs from the government, in addition to a fee that is a percentage of those costs, an arrangement that critics say creates an incentive for the company to pad its bills.” [Boston Globe, 6/28/05]
Donald Rumsfeld Then and Now: Against Contracts for Political Allies Before He Was For Them.
Rumsfeld blasted company for benefiting from its financial contributions to politicians. Rumsfeld, in response to the claim that a contract would only be a “drop in the bucket” to such a large company, responded: “The capacity of the Brown and Root bucket is certainly vast, even by Texas standards. And it may prove to be bottomless as well.” [Congressional Record, 8/20/66]
Halliburton gets special treatment in the awarding of contracts. “Large contracts awarded to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root have been a focus of questions and criticism since even before the Iraq invasion in 2003, in part because some were awarded without competition and because of allegations that the company, formerly led by Dick Cheney before he became vice president, was aided by political connections. In some cases, the Pentagon has publicly complained about excess bills and reduced payments, but the audit figures released Monday suggest that billing disputes have been more extensive than previously disclosed.” [New York Times, 6/28/05]
Bush: For Making the Capture of Osama Bin Laden Priority Number One Before Other Priorities Intervened.
ThenAfter 9/11 attacks, Bush promised to “smoke out” Osama Bin Laden, capture him “dead or alive.” Bush said President Bush said Monday the United States wants terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” “We will smoke them out of their holes,” Bush said. He said prime suspect Osama bin Laden’s days are numbered. “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies he will be sorely mistaken.” [AP, 9/15/01; 9/17/01]
Porter Goss says he knows where Bin Laden is. In an interview Goss said, “I have an excellent idea of where he [Bin Laden] is.” [Time Magazine, 6/27/05]
But Goss worried about international obligations, not the capture of Bin Laden. Asked when we would get Osama, Goss changed the focus to the sovereignty of sanctuary states, blaming international obligations for the U.S.’s failure to capture him. “In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we’re probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice…when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.” [Time Magazine, 6/27/05]