Bush, Rumsfeld and Iraq: Is the Real Reason for the Invasion Finally Emerging?

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In Donald Rumsfeld’s new book, Known and Unknown, out February 8, Rumsfeld offers an account of George W. Bush’s early interest in Iraq.  This was just days after the 9/11 attacks.  There were no apparent reasons for Bush to focus on Iraq, instead of on the actual perpetrators of the attacks.

Here’s the Rumsfeld version as reported in an advance peek from The New York Times,

Just 15 days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush invited his defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, to meet with him alone in the Oval Office. According to Mr. Rumsfeld’s new memoir, the president leaned back in his leather chair and ordered a review and revision of war plans — but not for Afghanistan, where the Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington had been planned and where American retaliation was imminent.

“He asked that I take a look at the shape of our military plans on Iraq,” Mr. Rumsfeld writes.

“Two weeks after the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, those of us in the Department of Defense were fully occupied,” Mr. Rumsfeld recalls. But the president insisted on new military plans for Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld writes. “He wanted the options to be ‘creative.’ ”

When the option of attacking Iraq in post-9/11 military action was raised first during a Camp David meeting on Sept. 15, 2001, Mr. Bush said Afghanistan would be the target. But Mr. Rumsfeld’s recollection in the memoir, “Known and Unknown,” to be published Tuesday, shows that even then Mr. Bush was focused as well on Iraq.

What Rumsfeld seems to be saying, without saying it explicitly, is hugely important: that Bush’s rush to war with Iraq seemed to make no sense. More than that, it was downright fishy.

Rumsfeld suggests that Bush had some kind of prior agenda that had nothing to do with any role Iraq might have had (and in any case did not) in the events of 9/11. Bush simply wanted to invade that country.

If so, why? Rumsfeld apparently doesn’t speculate. But he doesn’t need to.

In my book, Family of Secrets, I recount interviews with Mickey Herskowitz, a Texas journalist who was George W. Bush’s co-author on a preliminary version of the latter’s 2000 book A Charge to Keep. Bush admitted, Herskowitz told me, that he was actually hoping to find an excuse to invade Iraq. Here’s an excerpt from Family of Secrets:

“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” Herskowitz told me in our 2004 interview, leaning in a little to make sure I could hear him properly. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander in chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade . . . if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed, and I’m going to have a successful presidency.’ ”

Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow.

That opportunity, of course, would come in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at ninety- one percent in the polls,” Herskowitz said, “and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.” Just four days before, according to a Gallup poll, his approval rating was 51 percent.

Herskowitz said that George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House, and ascribed in part to Dick Cheney, who was then a powerful congressman. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of preelection advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British prime minister Margaret Thatcher had amassed from the Falklands War with Argentina. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.” It was a masterpiece of “perception management”—a lesson in how to maneuver the media and public into supporting a war, irrespective of the actual merits.

What’s remarkable is that after all this time, news outlets such as the Times, and almost every other major corporate-owned news outfit, has simply ignored what is now a matter of public record. Herskowitz is no duffer. He is a longtime Texas newspaper columnist who has ghostwritten or co-authored several dozen books on major figures in politics and sports.  He went on to write the authorized biography of Bush’s grandfather, at the invitation of Bush’s father.  The family obviously trusted him.

As far as I can tell, these news organizations have never been pressed to explain why they ignore this missing link into one of America’s biggest misadventures. So these news organizations have never pressed Bush to respond. And so he hasn’t. And there we are.

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14 responses to “Bush, Rumsfeld and Iraq: Is the Real Reason for the Invasion Finally Emerging?”

  1. Title

    […]usually posts some incredibly interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]

  2. I always thought, right up to the time when we were massed at the Kuwaiti border, that this was a family feud playing out globally. Word was that the Secret Service had rebuffed an attempt on Senior and that they all thought Saddam was behind it. This would be payback.

  3. arizona jack says:

    Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld,Wolfowitz,Rice,Ashcroft,Perle/All war criminals Cheney is also a war profiteer. No bid contracts for his own company,profiting off the deat of thousands. Vengence was the reason for that war,nothing else. No WMDs,Not oil. He did not give a damn for freedom for the Iraqi people. It was a personal vendetta,for the alleged plot to kill papa,no more,no less

  4. imaspamar says:

    On Sept 10, 2001 Donald Rumsfield reported that $2 trillion was missing from the Pentagon budget. Donald Rumsfield in Ocotober 2001 confirmed that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon on 911. A cruise missile. Rolls Royce the manufacturer of the aircraft engines confirmed that the engine part at the Pentagon was not a Rolls Royce part on the airliner. In other words folks, it was the propulsion engine of the cruise missile. The auditor responsible for overseeing the missing funds investigation was killed in the airliner, whereever it went. The rest of the audit team was killed by the cruise missile. Check the passenger list and the victims list. It is all there. The size of the missing money is 8 years of DoD budget under Clinton, so the missing money happened during the Cllinton years.

  5. phyllis55 says:

    Why would you believe what Rumsfeld or Cheney say? Just because it is in print? Don’t be deceived. Who is the father of lies? This info is pointing you in the direction of believing Bush had this idea/agenda about Iraq. Look in the opposite direction and see who these Neo-cons really work for and what is “their” agendas! Smoke and Mirrors ladies and gentlemen…smoke and mirrors. Who rules this world? Who wants total world control? What evil lies in the heart of “men”?

    • Pierre says:

      It certainly wasn’t about oil in the sense of stealing the resources or even manipulating oil price and neither was it about Israel security.The only reason beside the one stating by Russ is the petro-dollar but it seems that bush decision was taken before Saddam Hussein started trading iraki oil in euro.

  6. Bob says:

    Well,
    The war cost the US $3 trillion.  Iraq has about $30 trillion in oil reserves.  According to the US imposed Iraqi Oil Law, Exxon and BP now own 70% of that.  Do the math.

  7. Mysterious One says:

    Only an idiot could believe that middle eastern terrorists are capable of not only flying, but steering passenger planes into buildings with such skill and precision that seasoned pilots were baffled. The US economy is under threat from the Euro. OPEC  nations are slowly converting their assets to the European currency and the Iraq war was a military effort to put a stop to it. With Iraq as a puppet nation of America, the dollar could be reestablished as the currency for trading oil. Also, other OPEC nations would get the hint to not make a switch. Stupid imbred rednecks and yankees actually believe the war is about spreading democracy in the East, LMFAO! Yeah powerful rich, white, rulers really give a dick about brown people and their democracy. Grow some brains people, FFS. 

  8. May Rummy, Tenent and Bush burn in hell for 10,000 years for the stain they left on America. May they be waterboarded by Satan for fun. 

  9. M3rdpower12005 says:

    Another RED HERRING……try jenningsmystery.com…or missinglinks.com

  10. admin2war says:

    Right on – I was wondering when someone would bring up PNAC. For anyone who wants a refresher:

    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxz06SwfnlU

    Can you believe we’re about to mark the 10 years since 9/11? Damn these bastards to hell (via The Hague)

  11. David Ray Griffen has a nice speech on this “I can’t believe ‘our’ government would do something like this,” on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXw3jJ3021o&NR=1

    In it Griffin distinguishes between myth as tenet of faith (where no connection to fact is required), and myth as mendacity (a lie), and subject to rational analysis.

    When you have a lie to cover, you want to aim for Myth As Tenet of Faith–no proof required. This is the realm of propaganda, “brain-washing,” “mind control,” etc. See Falsehood In War Time, by Sir Arthur Ponsonby (WWI propaganda–crude, but effective), Propaganda, by Edward Bernays (Freud’s self-promoting nephew), said to be father of, or co-father of “modern day advertising, brainwashing, etc., with Ivy Ledbetter Lee). And Politics and the English Language, and 1984–esp the appendix on NewSpeak, by Eric Blair/George Orwell. Also, reports on MKULTRA and other CIA/NSA/DIA programs/research in mind control (it’s really more mind manipulation and perception manipulation than actual “control,” in the joystick/videogame controller sense–and hypnotism, post hypnotic suggestion, all of that stuff.

    Joe Goebbels, said to have studied Edward Bernays’ works, has the line “if you tell a lie big enough and long enough, it becomes reality” (or something like it) attributed to him.

    And it’s not surprising that Americans are so fat, dumb and happy–although now it’s more like “fat, dumb and UNhappy”. We’ve been systematically misled since before the country’s inception. See the late Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of America: 1492 to the Present.”

    Starting with Columbus: He didn’t discover America first–just the rich folks’ warm winter playground, the Caribbean. In his quest for gold to pay off his Sailing Ships & Spices & Silks Non Discovery (Default) Swaps, Columbus and his men exterminated the Arawak indians–“indigenous peoples” of Hispaniola and other Caribbean islands. There are various estimates, from 2 to 8 million people killed, between 1492 and 1508. So our nation’s so-called “discoverer” was actually our first genocidalist.

    We (the European Ancestored “We”) darn near annihilated (that’s “destroy utterly, obliterate”) the North American Indians (“indigenous peoples”). Genocide is the proper adjective. Spain took care of the South American continent. Britain took care of the Canadian “indigenous peoples.”

    In 1830, Congress passed Andrew Jackson’s “Indian Removal Act” (they were much more candid in their legislative titles back then), which force-marched the Cherokee, etc., out of Georgia, etc., and into the barren Oklahoma territory–on the Trail of Tears. More genocide.

    There’s some evidence that a gang of “American” thugs went through the British barracks on the night before “The Boston Massacre” and bludgeoned the bejesus out of the Red Coats–so when a large, menacing crowd moved towards them the next morning, they moved into self-defense mode.

    Polk prevailed upon (hmm, was it Andrew Jackson?) our military to cross into Mexican territory and stir up a shoot-out, then claim it was the Mexicans who had attacked, and on US territory. Both were lies. Congressman Abe Lincoln tried to force the truth out of Polk, but failed. But that so-called “attack” gave the excuse for the Mexican war, and the theft of, what, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, from the Mexicans.

    The litany of US government perfidy, genocide, murder is really, really long. Remember the Maine (excuse to attack Cuba, Spanish islands); deposed Queen L? of Hawaii, in a bloodless coup; the Lusitania (UK and US conspired to give her to the German U-boats); US attack on the Philippines, Indonesia, etc., fomented by the US, blamed on “commies”; Gulf of Tonkin “attack”–a lie–never happened–but was the excuse for escalating Vietnam war & attacking North Vietnam. We lose 55,000 or so; Vietnamese lose 2 to 3 MILLION people.

    I haven’t looked into the launch of the Korean “police action”.

    Same pattern has been followed for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    This history of America is definitely not taught in our schools. You won’t find it in elementary and high school text books. What you’ll find is American Mythology–faith-based mythology. America The Good, Peace-loving America. Etc.

    So, without completely re-educating Americans, what would one expect, other than what you describe:

    “… the American public continues to accept simplistic and shoddy explanations from their government.”

    And it is not, as you suggest, that “The ignorance of the American citizenry lies in their proclivity to not believe in well-researched rebuttals. It is as if they cannot accept anything that portrays their government as ‘Un-American.’ ”

    It is, rather, that starting in pre-school, Americans are taught The American Myths. Over. And over. And over. Thanksgiving? Friends with Good Indians? Macy•s Thanksgiving Parade? No mention of genocide there. Columbus Day? It’s a national “day of celebration,” a holiday. No mention of the Arawak Indian genocide there. Indian wars? No mention of theft of land by the White Man, (this should remind you of Israel and the Palestinians), murders, Indian Removal Act (and so on.)

    Do take a look at the David Ray Griffin presentation I noted above. Griffin is a theologian, and looks at the 9/11/2001 “attacks” and the official conspiracy myth as of a piece with other religious mythologies. And we all know how fiercely people hang on to their religious myths.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXw3jJ3021o&NR=1&feature=fvwp

    (I apologize for the ads–first time I’ve seen “commercial interruptions” on YouTube. And the cuts are just blasted in automatically, it seems–but you can back up a couple of seconds to hear what you missed.)

  12. Methinks that the deceit about the Iraq & Afghanistan cassi belli was a Bush II thing. The nation’s “leaders” have been pretty open about Mideast Oil being a strategic reserve for the US.

    I think it was James Baker who mentioned that “of course we’re doing it for the oil,” (or words to that effect). Oil has always been a strategic thingy for the military-industrial-legislative-intel plutocracy. Baker pointed out that the Carter Doctrine was almost exclusively, and expressly, based on oil.

    It’s not that folks have been hiding it (before Bush II, at any rate); it’s that Americans have not been paying attention.

    If we had gasoline prices like Europeans pay ($8 and more per gallon, imperial gallon, or liter, whatever), we’d be taking to the streets in protest. And they probably will rise to that level, now that Hedge Casinos and the Wall Street Casino are getting regulated out of housing Ponzi schemes. We will see all-wheel-drive oilfield service contract gambling vehicles, securitized oil well depletion allowance legislation bets, off-setting gas fumes evaporation swaps, and then similar gambling in the petro-chemical industry(s) (plastics, drugs, explosives for war and other hobbies.

    We’ve been royally done for a long time, but just haven’t noticed it. But the Global Casino Meltdown (The Great Repression–not quite depression, much worse than recession–so why not Repression–as that’s been the effect on our citizenry and peoples around the globe) has begun to wake some people up. Lost jobs, lost manufacturing, powerless unions, the percussive sublimation of middle class wealth into the pockets of the richest 1%, the rapid rise in the “volatile” areas of food and fuel, higher education–and, oh yeah, sickness care) will tend to do that, especially when you’re on the short end of the stück.

    (A note on “volatile” food and fuel prices: Isn’t it interesting that “our” government does not include food and fuel in its calculation of the Cost of Living, upon which so many federal benefit programs are based, when next to oxygen, they’re perhaps the most important part of everyone’s budget?

    (And so what that the prices are “volatile”; does it mean that we can stop eating, or driving to work (or looking for work) if the prices go up? Seems to me that if we have to pay for food and fuel to keep alive, then certainly the Commerce Department can work a little harder and count the damned prices, even if they have to report the Cost of Living index every week. Don’t we have computers, telephones, cell phones, the internet to help in this matter?

    (We could bring home all of our troops and give them jobs reporting gasoline, heating fuel, aviation kerosene, and food prices. )

    But I digress. On the topic of “invisible lust for oil,” see whatever source you wish, but Wikipedia quotes from Carter’s 1980 State of the Union speech:

    “The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Straits of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world’s oil must flow. The Soviet Union is now attempting to consolidate a strategic position, therefore, that poses a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.

    This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia.

    It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East and who are concerned with global peace and stability. And it demands consultation and close cooperation with countries in the area which might be threatened.

    Meeting this challenge will take national will, diplomatic and political wisdom, economic sacrifice, and, of course, military capability. We must call on the best that is in us to preserve the security of this crucial region.

    Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

    “This last, key sentence of the Carter Doctrine, was written by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Adviser. Brzezinski modeled the wording of the Carter Doctrine on the Truman Doctrine,[1]…”

  13. Russ Baker says:

    Well, yes, it would be nice. Unfortunately, most national television shows, even the ones that seem edgier, have trouble handling deeper, more complex (and ultimately more disturbing) material.