Former Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’ Neill’s appearance turned out to be significantly more illuminating than anyone could possibly have expected. Notwithstanding, his description of the President as a “disengaged” simpleton with the attention span of a preschooler, he provided a great deal of new information that could suggest future indictments. Take for example, the fact that O’Neill can produce documents to substantiate that the Administration had concrete plans to rebuild Iraq even prior to 9-11. With revelations like this, who can still cling to the sorry fable that Iraq posed a real threat to America’s national security or, worse, that the invasion was a necessary component in the war on terror?
O’ Neill’s description of Bush give us the first real glimpse of how the President is coddled and manipulated by his two closest advisors, Cheney and Rove. His anecdote of how Bush resisted the second round of tax cuts, but was cajoled into “signing on” to accommodate his White House frat brothers, further amplifies the grim situation at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Bush emerges looking like a well-intended moron who is completely out of his depth, incapable of grasping the issues and unable to fend-off the menacing influences that surround him. Far from being the stalwart, decisive leader who operates on “gut instinct” ( a myth that pandering Bob Woodward tried to invent) Bush is appearing more and more like the empty suit that was predicted before the election.
The documentation that O’ Neill provides is serious business. It verifies that at least 60 oil companies were colluding with government officials on the dividing up of Iraqi oil reserves even prior to 9-11. As many suspected, America’s energy giants have been directly involved in writing policy from the very beginning. (Can anyone still doubt that the Calif. energy crisis was not manufactured in Cheney’s office?) Once the decision to invade Iraq was made in America’s board rooms, it probably took little effort enlist politicians to the cause. Undoubtedly, it took even less to enroll our cheerleading media, always “at-the- ready” to serve their corporate benefactors. (In the latest edition of Z Magazine, the details of how Iraqi oil revenues are being illegally diverted from the Central Bank of Iraq into the Federal Reserve, infers that the Fed was also involved in endorsing the plan to remove Saddam. The fact that the Fed is keeping interest rates artificially low indicates their tacit support of the policies of aggression)
All in all, the O’Neill appearance on 60 Minutes provided a fair amount of damning testimony against the current administration. It looks as though the number of groups and people that were either directly involved in the planning for the war, or privy to the plot to remove Saddam by force is truly staggering. It suggests that what took place among America’s conservative elite may have been tantamount to “a vast right wing conspiracy”.
Now, how foolish is that?
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org