Foreign Policy

Warnings to Bush Administration About 9/11 More Extensive Than Previously Acknowledged

I usually take stories at, founded by Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Reagan Libraray, Fred Ryan, with a liberal dose of salt. But the November 12 article titled "The Attacks Will Be Spectacular" caught my attention.

The article, a summary and teaser for the Showtime documentary The Spymasters, chronicles the extensive and detailed warnings the Bush administration received from the intelligence community regarding imminent attacks on American soil.

The first warning noted in the article came in spring 2001, when then counterterrorism chief Cofer Black and CIA Director George Tenet presented the Bush administration with a specific proposal to "end the Al Qaeda threat" that included covert and military operations. The administrations response, according to Tenet, was "We don't want the clock to start ticking." The meaning of this seemingly innocuous phrase, according to the article, was that the administration did not want there to be evidence that they had been warned of the pending danger.

Republican-led attempt to block Iran deal fails in Senate

In the words of the Guardian (UK) Republican opposition to the Obama administration's nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran in the end was nothing but "scathing words." Somewhat atypically, but in keeping with the current political climate, conservatives were quick to blame the GOP establishment and leadership.

Madeleine Albright on Iran Agreement

Writing on CNN's web site on August 31, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action "a bold stroke of diplomacy, and an opportunity we must not waste."

The agreement "gives the United States new tools to shape Iranian behavior," Albright wrote, suggesting that that the US focus on:

  • The strongest possible oversight of the agreement
  • Maintaining a robust deterrent in the region
  • A calibrated engagement with Iran

Read Madeleine Albright: Iran deal is a win-win on

Romney Foreign Policy Team Members Ignored CIA 9/11 Warnings During Bush Administration

Originally posted September 11, 2012. Re-posted in the context of foreign policy noise from the Romney campaign.

Vanity Fair contributing editor and former NY Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald writes in an op-ed piece in the September 11Times that the CIA warned Bush of an al Qaeda attack on US soil as early as May 1, 2001, and that the warning escalated to "imminent" by June 22. Despite the warnings,

... [N]eoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials ... protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

Today, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11/2001, it's worth noting that 17 of 24 Romney foreign policy advisers served in the Bush Cheney administration.

Texas Hold 'Em

If there's one salient feature of the Bush administration it is that it generally does the opposite of what it says -- its policies are the opposite of what its rhetoric claims or proclaims. When Bush criticizes his opponents for something, it's usually a good indicator that it's something he's done or planning to do. So when Bush took the unusual step of allowing an op-ed piece to be published under his name in the Wall Street Journal, it was bound to offer some insight into administration plans, albeit indirectly.

Zarqawi Wowie

"This was a good week for the cause of freedom," Bush proclaimed in his radio address June 10, 2006. "On Wednesday night in Iraq, U.S. military forces killed the terrorist Zarqawi." Bush did not mention the 19 US military casualties, the 44 Iraqi police and military casualties, or the 321 Iraqi civilian casualties this month. He did go on to recap Zarqawi's "long history of murder and bloodshed," but understandably did not discuss the US role in hyping Zarqawi's importance within Iraq and beyond, or that coalition forces had Zarqawi in custody on at least one occasion, and released him.

Beyond "Stay the Course" and "Cut and Run"

Updated November 30, 2006

On September 29, 2005 the Center for American Progress released a report titled Strategic Redeployment, which proposed a specific course of action in Iraq, the Middle East, and beyond. Prepared by Lawrence Korb, who was an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, and Brian Katulis, who held staff positions at the National Security Council and in the State Department during the Clinton administration, the proposals sought to "minimize the damage to the United States in the short term, mitigate the drawbacks of our eventual withdrawal from Iraq, and secure our interests in the long term."

Terrorism, "the War on Terror" and the Message of Carnage

by Normon Solomon
Reprinted with permission of the author.

When the French government suggested a diplomatic initiative that might interfere with the White House agenda for war, the president responded by saying that the proposed scenario would "ratify terror." The date was July 24, 1964, the president was Lyndon Johnson and the war was in Vietnam.

Four decades later, the anti-terror rationale is not just another argument for revving up the U.S. war machinery. Fighting "terror" is now the central rationale for war.

The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush

by Walter C. Uhler
Reprinted with permission of the author.

In my article "Democracy or dominion?" (recently republished in Annual Editions: World Politics 05/06), much attention was devoted to the severely impoverished civic education that impairs most Americans, and thus their democracy. Putting aside the thoughtless, often inbred, devotion of so many rightwing Republican Party stalwarts, such tenacious civic impairment constitutes the most formidable barrier preventing the impeachment of President George W. Bush.


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