Houston: Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.
“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “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. 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.”
That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work — and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war — has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush’s unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters — well before he became president.
In 1999, Herskowitz struck a deal with the campaign of George W. Bush about a ghost-written autobiography, which was ultimately titled A Charge to Keep : My Journey to the White House, and he and Bush signed a contract in which the two would split the proceeds. The publisher was William Morrow. Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush’s ghostwriter after Bush’s handlers concluded that the candidate’s views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.
According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.
The revelations on Bush’s attitude toward Iraq emerged recently during two taped interviews of Herskowitz, which included a discussion of a variety of matters, including his continued closeness with the Bush family, indicated by his subsequent selection to pen an authorized biography of Bush’s grandfather, written and published last year with the assistance and blessing of the Bush family.
Herskowitz also revealed the following:
-In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.
-Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been “excused.”
-Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot’s garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.
-Bush described his own business ventures as “floundering” before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.
Throughout the interviews for this article and in subsequent conversations, Herskowitz indicated he was conflicted over revealing information provided by a family with which he has longtime connections, and by how his candor could comport with the undefined operating principles of the as-told-to genre. Well after the interviews–in which he expressed consternation that Bush’s true views, experience and basic essence had eluded the American people –Herskowitz communicated growing concern about the consequences for himself of the publication of his remarks, and said that he had been under the impression he would not be quoted by name. However, when conversations began, it was made clear to him that the material was intended for publication and attribution. A tape recorder was present and visible at all times.
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.”
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Considered the worst film maker of all time, Ed Wood won a cult following after his death and now fans can see his long-lost last film “Necromania,” a work some say shows he was so bad that he was brilliant.
But it’s not for the faint-hearted. The 1971 movie is a porn film documenting the sexual enlightenment of a young couple at the hands of a coven of witches.
The much maligned creator of enduring cult classics such as “Bride of the Monster,” Wood was himself the subject of Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic, the lead role played by Johnny Depp.
That film shows the making of Wood’s most famous film — “Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1956 — in which actors screw up their lines and “special effects” include pie tins for flying saucers.
“Necromania” — the last film Wood directed — was filmed over two or three days with a budget of no more than $7,000 and the only copies went missing soon after it was made. The movie tells the story of Danny and Shirley, a young couple who visit the mysterious Madame Heles for help with their flagging sex life. The lessons they are taught involve skulls, spells and sex in a coffin.
Rudolph Grey, author of a biography of the director, and a fellow Ed Wood enthusiast, movie distributor Alexander Kogan, unearthed “Necromania” in a warehouse in Los Angeles after more than 15 years of detective work.
Considered the worst film maker of all time – that’s a bit harsh. Ed Wood is no worse than Michael Bay. Despite his incompetence, Wood had a goofy earnestness that made his films at least watchable.
A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not who you want as commander in chief.
— George W. Bush (October 27, 2004)
Yes, which yet another reason why Bush isn’t getting my vote.
For all of you undecideds, lukewarm Kerry supporters, and anybody but Bush people who may simply blow off voting on November 3, just say to yourselves, “Chief Justice Scalia” or “Chief Justice Thomas” and imagine the slack-jawed troglodytes Bush will nominate to the Supreme Court.
Here’s an actual email sent to my Yahoo email account:
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 13:53:17 +0000
Subject: Your Yahoo! ID – foistboinder@yahoo. com
Daer Yohao! Memebr,
We muts chcek taht yoru Yaoho! ID was reigstered by rael pepole. So, to hepl Yhaoo! pervent autoetamd regisarttions, pleaes cilck on tsih lnik and cpmolete cdoe veifircation pssecor:
www.yah�oo.com 1o49sv3 [rest of “url” truncated]
One of the more pathetic phishing attempts I’ve seen…
1. Iraq, WMD, and al Qaeda
A large majority of Bush supporters believe that before the war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or a major program for building them. A substantial majority of Bush supporters assume that most experts believe Iraq had WMD and that this was the conclusion of the recently released report by Charles Duelfer. A large majority of Bush supporters believes that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda and that clear evidence of this support has been found. A large majority believes that most experts also have this view, and a substantial majority believe that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Large majorities of Kerry supporters believe the opposite on all these points.
2. What the Bush Administration is Saying About Pre-War Iraq
Large majorities of Bush and Kerry supporters agree that the Bush administration is saying that Iraq had WMD and was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. In regard to WMD, these majorities are growing.
3. The Decision to Go to War
Majorities of Bush supporters and Kerry supporters agree that if Iraq did not have WMD or was not providing support to al Qaeda, the US should not have gone to war with Iraq.
4. World Public Opinion on the Iraq War and George Bush’s Reelection
Only three in ten Bush supporters believe that the majority of people in the world oppose the US going to war with Iraq, while an overwhelming majority of Kerry supporters have this view. A majority of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would like to see Bush reelected, while a large majority of Kerry supporters believe the opposite. Bush supporters also lean toward overestimating support in Islamic countries for US-led efforts to fight terrorism, while Kerry supporters do not .
5. Candidates’ Foreign Policy Positions
Majorities of Bush supporters misperceive his positions on a range of foreign policy issues. In particular they assume he supports multilateral approaches and addressing global warming when he has taken strong contrary positions on issues such as the International Criminal court and the Kyoto Agreement. A majority of Kerry supporters have accurate perceptions of Kerry positions on the same issues.
Here’s a summary stolen from the The Al Franken Show:
- 75% believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
- 74% believe Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade.
- 72% believe Iraq had WMD or a program to develop them.
- 72% believe Bush supports the treaty banning landmines.
- 69% believe Bush supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
- 61% believe if Bush knew there were no WMD he would not have gone to war.
- 60% believe most experts believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. (An additional 19% think Iraq was directly involved in 9/11. Gallup had 62% on this question.)
- 58% believe the Duelfer report concluded that Iraq had either WMD or a major program to develop them.
- 57% believe that the majority of people in the world would prefer to see Bush reelected.
- 56% believe most experts think Iraq had WMD.
- 55% believe the 9/11 report concluded Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
- 51% believe Bush supports the Kyoto treaty.
(stolen from William Gibson)
How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.
— John Cleese
Check out 2004 Presidential Electoral College Predictions.
I haven’t taken the time to evaluate the methodology, but I like the results!
Instead of articulating a vision or a positive agenda for the future, the senator is relying on a litany of complaints and old style scare tactics.
— George W. Bush, October 19, 2004
I suppose the Bush campaign would never resort to using scare tactics…
The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us – biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
— Dick Cheney, October 19, 2004
Let’s not forget who was in charge during September 11, 2001 attacks and who allowed Iran and North Korea join the nuclear club while obsessing over Iraq.