An inside look at a den of thieves

WASHINGTON – “Plan of Attack,” Bob Woodward’s book on the Bush administration’s drive toward war on Iraq, is stirring renewed charges that George W. Bush engaged in deceit and lies to drag the nation into war. It is another in a growing list of “insider” books exposing the plots and intrigues by the top officials of the most gangster-like administration in U.S. history.

Among the more sensational revelations are new details about sharp differences between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the warhawk neo-conservatives, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Woodward reports that Powell refers to the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans headed by Cheney lackey, Douglas Feith, as the “Gestapo Office.”

Woodward reports that Powell met with Bush privately and asked him if he understood the consequences of invading Iraq. If the war and occupation go wrong “you know you’re going to be owning this place,” Powell told Bush. The Secretary of State even told Woodward that he was kept out of the loop – not told about the decision to go to war – until after the decision had been made by himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Yet when he learned of the decision, Powell did not publicly break his silence and oppose the war policy. Instead, he fronted for the administration in a presentation to the United Nation Security Council, pleading for UN backing of the invasion and peddling lies to justify it. All of those falsehoods have now been fully exposed.

Woodward claims that Rumsfeld told him Bush drew him aside Nov. 21, 2001, and ordered him to prepare for a war on Iraq, months earlier than the White House now admits. Woodward reports that Bush demanded of Rumsfeld, “What have you got in terms of a plan for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.”

Woodward also reveals that in the summer of 2002, Bush secretly ordered $700 million that had been approved by Congress for counter-terrorism in Afghanistan “reprogrammed” for a war on Iraq. The funds were to be used for “preparatory tasks” in the Persian Gulf region, including upgrading the infrastructure “to accommodate a massive U.S. troop deployment … keeping Congress unaware of the reprogramming of money and the eventual cost,” the Washington Post reported, April 18.

Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) said, “I find the Woodward revelations to be disturbing. … The administration owes Congress a full, detailed and immediate accounting. … It is ironic that the president was surreptitiously authorizing expenditures to begin a war at the very time he was resisting bipartisan efforts to provide desperately needed funds for homeland security.”

The author can be reached at greenerpastures21212@yahoo.com.