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Paul O'Neill The Tin Man gets a heart
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
January 13, 2004

I doubt any of my regular readers are going to be shocked by Paul O'Neill's revelation that the invasion of Iraq didn't have a damned thing to do with 9/11, and that the "imminent threat" of "weapons of mass destruction" was a fable designed to rope in the morons and deceive enough otherwise decent people to pull off the oil grab.

I was pretty hard on O'Neill during his first year as Secretary of the Treasury (I used to refer to him by such sobriquets as "St. Paul of Alcoa," "Tin Man" and "Aluminum Man" ), since I saw his role as being that of implementor of Putsch's vision of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. I don't have much use for plutocrats who espouse "trickle down" economics, regarding them as rat-bag thieves, only on a larger scale than your typical Mafia don.

But after watching "60 Minutes" last night, I would say the man pretty well redeemed himself. In Ron Suskind's book, "The Price of Loyalty," O'Neill is the only one of several top admin members to go on the record with opinions and facts about the closed, secretive regime in the White House.

Perhaps the most spectacular charge is the one that surprises few liberals and other independent thinkers: that Putsch lied through his teeth to the American people in order to get a war in Iraq going. O'Neill is quoted in the book as saying, "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying, 'Fine. Go find me a way to do this.'"

Needless to say, the admin and the trash right have already started doing everything they can to trash O'Neill. The White House first claimed that O'Neill wasn't in a position to be privy to such policy, apparently forgetting that the man sat on the Security Council. When it became obvious that one wasn't going to fly, the White House started making noises about a criminal investigation of O'Neill for some of the documents used to verify claims made in the book.

One of the weirdest moments in the 60 Minutes interview was when O'Neill told Leslie Stahl that he would be very surprised if people attacked him for what he was doing. Was he really that incredibly naive, or does he possess a heretofore undetected sense of wry humor? I suspect the latter, since in an interview with Time Magazine, he says, "These people are nasty and they have a long memory. I'm an old guy and I'm rich, and there's nothing they can do to hurt me."

CNN, always ready to stand in defense of their fearless leader, whined that the O'Neill story was detracting from Putsch's meetings with Mexican President Vicente Fox, a basically meaningless photo op, given that Fox hates Putsch's guts and any talks they have are going to go nowhere.

But the O'Neill story did detract from another story that is worthy of mention.

A think tank issued a report stating flatly that the invasion of Iraq was "a strategic error" and says Putsch's strategy "promises much more than it can deliver" and spreads U.S. military resources too thin. It goes on to say that Iraq was not a threat to the United States, or even its neighbors, but that the chaotic situation in Iraq did indeed make the area a regional threat now. The report goes on to criticise the war on terror, stating that it is too diffuse and so uncoordinated as to be of little value.

So what think tank produced this? The Brookings Institute? Some ACLU liberal law professors at some namby-pamby college full of those educated types?

Not quite. The report came from the United States Army War College, well known breeding ground for liberal peaceniks.

The chief author, Jeffrey Record, is the author of six books on military strategy, and served as is a former legislative assistant for national security affairs to former senators Sam Nunn and. Lloyd Bentsen.

Record clearly thinks the so-called "war on terror", with its little detour into the bottomless pit of what Jon Stewart calls "Mess-o-patamia," is a complete waste of time and resources. "The United States may be able to defeat al-Qaeda, but it cannot rid the world of terrorism, much less evil," he writes.

The War College encourages independent thought, a deliberate breaking of the regimen of blindly following orders required of officers. It helps the military figure out who should be giving orders rather than blindly following them.

While it often produces papers and reports at variance with stated policies of the government, few have so openly paddled a president for utter incompetence the way this report does. He clearly feels that Putsch's foray into Iraq has make the world more, not less dangerous for America.

Speaking of which, America passed a couple of sad milestones this week. One hundred Americans have died in Afghanistan, a number that will doubtlessly surprise a lot of people who thought we had at least managed to pacify that pile of rubble. And the death toll in Iraq will hit 500 in the next day or so. Small, compared to other conflicts, but at least in other conflicts, whether you agreed with him or not, you could at least say that the President was acting on behalf of America's best interests. More and more people find they can't say that about this war.

One of the documents O'Neill produced from that very first cabinet meeting, in which it became clear that Putsch intended to manufacture reasons to attack Iraq, was a paper showing the areas of key oil reserves along with a plan for divvying them up.

This isn't just an allegation: O'Neill has the actual document. The smoking gun.

If the Democratic candidate can't use this in the election, then the man is too timid and stupid to be president anyway. And if the American people don't start taking this murderous clown in the White House seriously as a threat to us all, they are going to discover there is a dark side to the saying, "In a Democracy, people get pretty much the government they deserve." The man has shown his willingness to lie to and cheat the American people.

Or, as any German over the age of 70 can tell us, "Yes, it can happen here."

Posted: January 13, 2004


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