Monday, April 19, 2004

Everybody else is blogging this, but it's important, so I will, too. Follow this link, hit CTRL-F, and search for "Bandar". For the lazy, this is what you'll see:
But, it turns out, two days before the president told Powell, Cheney and Rumsfeld had already briefed Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador.

"Saturday, Jan. 11, with the president's permission, Cheney and Rumsfeld call Bandar to Cheney's West Wing office, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Myers, is there with a top-secret map of the war plan. And it says, ‘Top secret. No foreign.’ No foreign means no foreigners are supposed to see this," says Woodward.

"They describe in detail the war plan for Bandar. And so Bandar, who's skeptical because he knows in the first Gulf War we didn't get Saddam out, so he says to Cheney and Rumsfeld, ‘So Saddam this time is gonna be out, period?’ And Cheney - who has said nothing - says the following: ‘Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast.’"

After Bandar left, according to Woodward, Cheney said, "I wanted him to know that this is for real. We're really doing it."

But this wasn’t enough for Prince Bandar, who Woodward says wanted confirmation from the president. "Then, two days later, Bandar is called to meet with the president and the president says, ‘Their message is my message,’" says Woodward.

Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.
Other highlights of the interview include the president approving taking $700 million dollars earmarked for Afghanistan and using it to prepare for war in Iraq.

To be fair, Woodward is the only person 60 Minutes talked to for this story, though he did share tapes and transcripts of interviews with them. So there are two possibilities: either Woodward's completely lost his mind and started hallucinating in the middle of interviews, or the White House misappropriated funds, compromised national security, and conspired with a foreign power to fix gas prices specifically to affect the presidential election. I wouldn't believe this crap if I heard it on talk radio, or from the clerk at the local food coop, but this is Bob Woodward, and I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, I'd like to hear the tape.

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