I don’t think so. We have said for years — as have others — that the Shrub and his henchpersons were plotting to attack Iraq long before planes flew into New York’s Twin Towers. And The Progressive offers many more indicators that the Bushies have been lying through their collective teeth on the issue of Iraq. Don’t get me wrong — it’s great that author Ron Suskind is exploring the matter in his new book, The Price of Loyalty, that former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill is speaking out as one of the book’s major sources, and that CBS News is reporting this story. But make no mistake: This isn’t news — those in the know already knew or suspected that the horrific US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do with September 11.
Just as many of us suspect that Georgie Bush isn’t that nice a guy and that the GOP tax cuts are all about rewarding the rich: An interesting part of Suskind’s book and the CBS piece addresses the rift between O’Neill and his erstwhile boss:
The two men were never close. And O’Neill was not amused when Mr. Bush began calling him “The Big O.” He thought the president’s habit of giving people nicknames was a form of bullying. Everything came to a head for O’Neill at a November 2002 meeting at the White House of the economic team.
“It’s a huge meeting. You got Dick Cheney from the, you know, secure location on the video. The President is there,” says Suskind, who was given a nearly verbatim transcript by someone who attended the meeting.
He says everyone expected Mr. Bush to rubber stamp the plan under discussion: a big new tax cut. But, according to Suskind, the president was perhaps having second thoughts about cutting taxes again, and was uncharacteristically engaged.
“He asks, ‘Haven’t we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut’s gonna do it again,'” says Suskind.
“He says, ‘Didn’t we already, why are we doing it again?’ Now, his advisers, they say, ‘Well Mr. President, the upper class, they’re the entrepreneurs. That’s the standard response.’ And the president kind of goes, ‘OK.’ That’s their response. And then, he comes back to it again. ‘Well, shouldn’t we be giving money to the middle, won’t people be able to say, ‘You did it once, and then you did it twice, and what was it good for?’
But according to the transcript, White House political advisor Karl Rove jumped in.
“Karl Rove is saying to the president, a kind of mantra. ‘Stick to principle. Stick to principle.’ He says it over and over again,” says Suskind. “Don’t waver.”
The news may be old hat, but I think Suskind’s book will be my first political read of 2004. The official publication date is Jan. 13, in case you want to pick up a copy for yourself.