Whenever I read about Dick Cheney's double, Richard Perle, I shudder. He's incapable of admitting blame (something this administration does well) for a policy that was immoral and destined to doom from the outset. All these people should rot in hell.
As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself.
To David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush's 2002 State of the Union address that accused Iraq of being part of an "axis of evil," it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because "the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them." This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on "failure at the center"—starting with President Bush....read on
Whenever you hear a Bush Cultist say war was the last thing Bush wanted--send them to this column.
In the few weeks before its fall, Iraq's Ba'athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even to allow US troops to search for banned weapons. But the advances were all rejected by the Bush administration, according to intermediaries involved in the talks.
Washington dismissed Iraq's peace feelers, including elections and weapons pledge, put forward via diplomatic channels and US hawk Perle
As US and British troops massed in the Gulf, Iraqi intelligence sent out a range of compromise feelers through a number of channels in the apparent hope of forestalling the invasion or at least buying time.
The messages were sent through Syrian intelligence, and French, German and Russian diplomatic channels, and as the countdown to invasion ticked away, through retired CIA officials and a Lebanese-American businessman who met the Washington hawk, Richard Perle, in a London hotel.
The first approach appears to have been made last December through the CIA's former head of counter-terrorism, Vincent Cannistraro.
"I was approached by someone representing Tahir al-Tikriti - the Iraqi intelligence chief also known as [General] Tahir Habbush - who said Saddam knew there was a campaign to link him to September 11 and prove he had weapons of mass destruction," said Mr Cannistraro. "The Iraqis were prepared to satisfy those concerns. I reported the conversation to senior levels of the state department and I was told to stand aside and they would handle it," he said. He later heard the Iraqi offer had been "killed" by the Bush administration.
In the next three months, several more approaches from Iraq were made through third countries, US intelligence sources said. At one point, a meeting between CIA officials and Iraqi agents was arranged in Morocco but, according to the US sources, the Iraqi side did not show up.
Iraqi intelligence was also offering privately to allow several thousand US troops into the country to take part in the search for banned weapons. Baghdad even proposed staging internationally-monitored elections within two years.
"All these offers had at bottom the same thing - that Saddam would stay in power, and that was unacceptable to the administration," Mr Cannistraro said. "There were serious attempts to cut a deal but they were all turned down by the president and vice president."