Yeah, but Oedipus didn't start a war.
October 28, 2004 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Former Bush ghostwriter confirms Bush had plans for Iraq in 1999. 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. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”
posted by RavinDave (37 comments total)

 
I thought this was going to be a Postroad post, given that he normally stuffs some anti-Bush stuff in around this time... might as well have been.
posted by humuhumu at 4:31 AM on October 28, 2004


“[Bush] told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake,” Herskowitz said. “That was one of the keys to being a leader.”

The buck stops anywhere but here - sweet.
posted by DrDoberman at 5:00 AM on October 28, 2004


I'm sure the Bushite reaction will be, "He's lying." And that there will be nasty consequences for Herskowitz because he came out with this information.

There are so many accounts like this out there. Are they even making a dent?
posted by orange swan at 5:41 AM on October 28, 2004


"Are they even making a dent?"

This stuff will have no effect. Consevatives love fakes. Reagan was a fake president. Bush is a fake president. Both are loved by the right.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:53 AM on October 28, 2004


Well, except there's a lot of the right that doesn't love Bush.
posted by Foosnark at 6:25 AM on October 28, 2004


Well, except there's a lot of the right that doesn't love Bush

But they're too scared of the liberals turning them and their children into atheistic homosexual stem cell eating baby killers to vote for a Democrat.
posted by DrDoberman at 7:01 AM on October 28, 2004


Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father.

[sarcasm]

Wow. What a new and novel theory.

And it actually accomplishes something besides starting the same fucking conversation we've been having for the past two fucking years. And that includes my interjection.

[/sarcasm]


OK, I feel better. We return to today's rerun.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2004


Does Herskowitz have the tapes? If not, then there's no story here.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:15 AM on October 28, 2004


Its been reported from multiple sources that Bush planned to invade Iraq at the same time he was campaigning on a "no nation-building" platform. Why hasn't this made a dent? Why wouldn't people care about this?
posted by xammerboy at 7:15 AM on October 28, 2004


According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. 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.”

Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter’s political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush’s father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically...

posted by y2karl at 7:19 AM on October 28, 2004


jonmc: Wow. What a new and novel theory.

I dunno. It's one thing for us on the outside to toss the notion about, but it's something else to have someone with an inside ear confirm it. Even if you want to dismiss that particular aspect as Herskowitz speculating beyond his evidence we're still left with the very plausible accusation that Bush had this in mind from before day-one and that the WTC disaster was (as many of us had said all along) a mere pretext to justify a fait acompli.
posted by RavinDave at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2004


Does Herskowitz have the tapes? If not, then there's no story here.

You mean, there's no scandal here. Of course there's a story. There's nothing (new) that we can take to some rhetorical court; but there is a new narrative.

When people talk about Bush as a liar or Reagan as a liar, they're missing a very important point: Even as they don't tell the truth, they're saying things that people hold true. They're creating a narrative (or participating in a narrative, as the case may be / take your pick). That narrative serves a purpose.

This is similar. This is someone who was close enoguh to the Bushite core to get this job, and this is a narrative about how he turned away from it. In that, it's similar to the narratives of conversion from Communism that were common grist for the Conservative mill in the '50s and '60s.

We talk a lot about relying on facts more than stories -- about relying on truths that validate against facts, instead of truths that validate against the gut or faith or emotions or bad memories of toilet training. But we all call upon those "other truths" every day, whether we acknowledge it about ourselves or not. It behooves us to understand that, if we would understand our enemy. And our enemy, I would say, are those people who don't understand that what they're doing is validating their myths against things that aren't real.
posted by lodurr at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2004


"the same fucking conversation we've been having for the past two fucking years."

[sarcasm]
Exactly. We get it - The "leader of the free world" is an insecure, simpleminded puppet who has failed at almost everything he's ever attempted. Why do we have to keep pointing that out? Why are people even talking about this?
[/sarcasm]
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:50 AM on October 28, 2004


So many leaks, so little time.

Will the drip, drip, drip soon become a flood as Dubya's boat starts to sink?
posted by nofundy at 7:50 AM on October 28, 2004


Why do we have to keep pointing that out? Why are people even talking about this?

Talk minus action equals zero. It'll all be decided in a week. How about we all just shut the fuck up and vote.

And being right and being boring are nor mutually exclusive propositions, as you should well know, y6.
posted by jonmc at 7:55 AM on October 28, 2004


‘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.”

I think that anyone who lost a friend or loved one in Iraq would have a tough time with this statement. Hey, sorry about the death of your dad - I needed the political capital in order to pass tax cuts for huge corporations and screw seniors out of prescription drug benefits. Four more years baby!
posted by junkbox at 8:03 AM on October 28, 2004


[insert obligatory "don't read it if it bores you" comment, here]
posted by lodurr at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2004


My big question is what the heck is former New York Times columnist Russell Baker doing slumming it over on "Guerilla News"?

Seriously, did this tell us anything we didn't already know? The only new piece in information I read in that was Cheney's Reagan-era idea to make small invasions a matter of policy for the purpose of domestic political maneuvering. And even then, a whole year ago I was joking that the only tangible rationale for invading Iraq was so Bush could get enough political capital to pass more tax cuts.
posted by deanc at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2004


just shut the fuck up - jonmc

No where have I heard that before?

Aha! Bill O'Reilly is an undercover MeFi member! :-)

And, like Dean said, just voting only gets you a D grade in participatory democracy. Donate, volunteer, run for office and get an A grade.
posted by nofundy at 8:13 AM on October 28, 2004


I've never cared much for grades, nofundy, I'm more a lunch, recess and summer vacation kinda guy. I'm too broke to donate, I've better things to do with my time than volunteer to work for a politician, and anyone who wants power bad enough to run for office is automatically suspect.
posted by jonmc at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2004


"as you should well know, y6."

Touche. Fair enough. But I revel in being right. And I don't care if people find me boring. I'm not in stand up, and I'm not a speech writer. So it's not my job to excite you. What we are left with is only that I'm right. Woohoo!!! Go me!!!!

Good luck getting people to shut the fuck up about the president in the final week of the presidential election. Real smart. I just love this line the right keeps feeding us - Why are we bring this up? This is old news. Why would anyone care?

Hello? It's the freakin' election?

I'm sorry that you're bored with people pointing out new authoritative sources which clarify the ways Bush isn't qualified to be president. But I sort of think it's extremely relevant right now. You disagree?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2004


Dear humuhumu-since it is not from me, you can read it...odd. When I began posting early on at this site, guys like you were highly critical of me for posting things related to my interest in the Middle East. Now, with half the nation pro-Bush and the other half pro-Kerry, I am an annoyance beacuse I post stuff that is related to issue connected to the forthcoming elections. I will make it simple. Send me a list of what is and is not acceptable to you so that you won't have to be overly upset when I post.
posted by Postroad at 8:39 AM on October 28, 2004


But I revel in being right. And I don't care if people find me boring.

You must be fun at parties.


I just love this line the right keeps feeding us


Nice try. I loathe Bush and I'm voting for Kerry and still this all bores me.

But I sort of think it's extremely relevant right now. You disagree?

I think people, at least around this site are more or less calcified in their views. The constant Bush-stole-my-lunch-and-hid-explosives-in-my-toothpaste stuff is like reading the journals of an obsessive.
posted by jonmc at 8:45 AM on October 28, 2004


How about we all just shut the fuck up and vote.

Because the more stuff like this comes to light, the more people are likely to actually go to the polls. There are still people sitting on the fence even this late in the game.

As of a couple months ago I wasn't going to vote, but at some point I'd seen enough news items like this one. I just hope my vote actually gets counted and not "lost" or "accidentally" invalidated or something.
posted by Foosnark at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2004


“They took it and [communications director] Karen [Hughes] rewrote it,” he said. A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files. However, Herskowitz, who is known for his memory of anecdotes from his long history in journalism and book publishing, says he is confident about his recollections.

Too bad he couldn't have kept all that stuff and published his own book anyhow. I'm looking forward to 20-30 years from now, when history starts looking objectively at this administration.
posted by alumshubby at 9:08 AM on October 28, 2004


You must be fun at parties.

Y6y6y6, right or wrong, is a veritable Zero Mostel-on-smart-drugs at parties, I suspect.
posted by y2karl at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2004


still this all bores me.

Well, then, take your own advice and just STFU.
Or, failing that, go drop your boring feces elsewhere.
No one requires your to make such inane comments in these threads.

I've never cared much for grades, nofundy, I'm more a lunch, recess and summer vacation kinda guy. I'm too broke to donate, I've better things to do with my time than volunteer to work for a politician, and anyone who wants power bad enough to run for office is automatically suspect.

I believe that! Condensed version: lazy assed broke big mouth with an inflated ego who likes to tell everyone else to STFU while eating cheetos and surfing internet porn with a yellowed dick. Too busy indeed.
posted by nofundy at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2004


Whatever makes you feel better, nofundy.

Although your preoccupation with my penis is a little unbecoming.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2004


and I loathe cheetos.
posted by jonmc at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2004


Talk minus action equals zero.
You said this.
Then you contradicted yourself.
I've better things to do with my time than volunteer
Which is it now? Put up or STFU jonmc.

your preoccupation with my penis is a little unbecoming.
When you play with it here if front of all of us, are we supposed to ignore you?
Seems you're the dick in love with your own little cheetos-encrusted pudenda.
posted by nofundy at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2004


They're creating a narrative

yeah, in fact Clinton was impeached by Tom DeLay's mob for creating a narrative
posted by matteo at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2004


I think people, at least around this site are more or less calcified in their views.

Perhaps not a good time or place to point this out, but I daresay that most MeFi readers are not MeFi members...

... for creating a narrative

The free market in action: They were just competing for the scarece resource of human attention...
posted by lodurr at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2004


Household Survey Sees 100,000 Iraqi Deaths

Designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, the study is being published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet medical journal.

The survey indicated violence accounted for most of the extra deaths seen since the invasion, and airstrikes from coalition forces caused most of the violent deaths, the researchers wrote in the British-based journal.

"Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," they said.

The report was released just days before the U.S. presidential election, and the lead researcher said he wanted it that way. The Lancet routinely publishes papers on the Web before they appear in print, particularly if it considers the findings of urgent public health interest.


We sure showed that mass murdering Saddam what for, huh ?
posted by y2karl at 1:35 PM on October 28, 2004


Wow. Aren't political threads fun?
*Shuts the fuck up and votes*
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:56 PM on October 28, 2004


You know, if "iraq was the right thing to do" even without WMDs, then Bush was just showing how right he was all along.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:28 AM on October 29, 2004


lazy assed broke

Of all the people from whom I expected to hear the argument that poor=lazy, I have to say nofundy was at the bottom of the list. You gotta love this kind of morality-by-political-expediency.

It's amazing when reality outdoes my cynicism.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:56 PM on October 29, 2004


How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war?
posted by homunculus at 1:53 AM on October 30, 2004


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