Monday, April 19, 2004

Woodward's claims

As promised, Bob Woodward popped up on CBS' 60 Minutes with some damning revelations about the Bush administration from his new book Plan of Attack. If you missed his interview, you can read the transcript or watch it here.

Woodward's most significant claims, some of which I mentioned previously, were: a) Bush ordered Rumsfeld to draw up an Iraq war plan in November 2001; b) the plan drew on funds allocated for Afghanistan, without Congressional knowledge; c) the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US knew of the war plan in January 2003, even before Colin Powell; d) the Saudis made a deal to help lower gas prices in the US before the 2004 election to help Bush win; and e) Bush is a religious fanatic who feels a mandate from God to "liberate" the world.

The administration is already on the counterattack, trying to discredit Woodward's points and spin them into innocuous political factoids. Most of what Woodward has to say does not come as a surprise, but the Saudi oil deal is a major revelation that hasn't even been hinted at elsewhere. If it wasn't previously, the close relationship between the Bush family and the Saudis should now become a major political issue.

The one thing that did not come out in the interview, but which is mentioned in Plan of Attack, is Powell's charge that Cheney set up a "separate government" to handle the Iraq war planning and intelligence manipulation. Justin Raimondo, as he typically does, examines this news in the context of the neocon-Israeli connection.