Mon. Jan. 12, 2004
Yes, Bush is a complete idiot, so detached from the goings on around him that, at cabinet meetings, he was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection." O'Neill didn't use the phrase "complete idiot," of course, but that's exactly the portrait he paints.
Yes, Bush is surrounded by a gaggle of hardcore neo-con thugs, described by O'Neill "a praetorian guard that encircled the president," and that gets its way
Yes, in spite of the administration's many lies to the contrary, this "praetorian guard was, in fact, looking to launch an imperial adventure against Iraq. A full-scale invasion was discussed long before there was any "War On Terrorism" to use as (phony) pretext, and, in fact, the warhawks in the administration were actively looking for anything they might use as a pretext for such an operation from virtually the day Bush first crossed the threshhold of the White House. It was first discussed only 10 days after the inauguration. O'Neill says no one, at the meetings, ever even questioned the policy. No one, at any point, stopped to ask "why?".
Yes, Bush is the puppet of Karl Rove, who is a political advisor with no expertise in any policy field yet makes policy decisions. One of the creepiest moments O'Neill describes occured at a meeting of the Bush economic team in November 2002. The subject was a new round of proposed tax cuts. When Bush uncharacteristically questioned the wisdom of a second massive tax cut for the super-rich, Rove, who isn't an economic advisor and has no apparent reason to even be attending such a meeting, suddenly jumped into the conversation and, in short order, successfully browbeats Bush into sticking with the tax cut. O'Neill's eventual refusal to support the proposal is what, only a few days later, led to his dismissal from the administration.
These and other revelations were made by O'Neill in an appearance tonight on CBS' "60 Minutes" program. O'Neill is also a major source for a new book being released Tuesday, "The Price of Loyalty," by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind. It will be interesting to see what impact this has in the corporate press over the next few days.
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