Tuesday, January 13, 2004

What a difference a Federal Investigation Makes...and other assorted items

Paul O'Neill, the former Treasury Secretary and ex-Nixon technocrat, who by the way was apparently amazed by the concern for politics in the Bush White House (that's right, Nixon never bothered with such stuff as politics), is telling a slightly different story today after the Treasury Dept. opened a probe into O'Neill's airing of documents marked "Secret" on "60 Minutes" the other day. When asked today about the supposed decision to invade Iraq prior to 9/11, O'Neill said:
People are trying to say that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration. Actually there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be a regime change in Iraq." What surprised him, said O'Neill, was how much priority was given to Iraq by the president.

And with respect to the probe into the classified documents (which he said were cleared by the general counsel prior to his taking them ...perhaps, we shall see), O'Neill says:
O'Neill said he was not surprised the Treasury was looking into how he got the documents. "If I were secretary of the Treasury I would have done the same," he said.

And as for his comments about Bush asleep at the switch?
O'Neill said he regretted some of the language he used to describe his former boss.

"If I could take it back, I would take it back. It has become the controversial centerpiece."

Pressed whether he would vote for Bush in the November presidential election, O'Neill said he probably would, but he said the American people needed to demand more of their leaders.

But I doubt this will make the NYTimes headlines. Surprised it made CNN.

Speaking of CNN, they have a piece today on the USS Liberty. That's right, the ship from the Six Day War. Turns out, the State Department is still investigating the incident (nothing else to do, I guess). And, remarkably, they concluded that in fact it was Israel's fault. I wonder what else they are spending their time doing?

Finally, have you ever read Andrew Apostolou? He blogged quite a bit during the war (and still occasionally does) and I have linked to him often. Now, he has a regular gig with the National Review. Today's article makes the case (and he really didn't have to convince me) that it is time for Kofi to go. A couple of money quotes. First, on the Kof-ster's humanitarion record in Iraq:
In the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Iraq, Kofi Annan had little to say about the horror of the newly discovered mass graves. Instead, taking his cue from the Arab states, he was forthright in expressing his concern that Kurds might evict the Arab colonists who had stolen their land. The U.N., which has much to say about Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, has always been reticent about the largest settlement program in the Middle East, the 40-year-long campaign to colonize Iraqi Kurdistan with Arabs.
And then, on being taken to task by Hoshyar Zebari, an Iraqi Kurd who chided the the U.N. Security Council for failing to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years,
Kofi Annan, who after meeting Saddam in February 1998 had avowed himself to be "impressed by his decisiveness," was not taken with Zebari's honesty. Rather than take the opportunity to express remorse for the U.N.'s actions, Annan instead criticized Zebari, telling him that: "Now is not the time to pin blame and point fingers." The UN secretary general, quick to criticise the U.S. for enforcing U.N. resolutions in Iraq and ever ready to censure Israel, is an expert on finger pointing.
Read the whole thing.

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