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Sunday, January 28, 2007


In Bob Woodward’s latest book, State of Denial, there is an easily overlooked passage that gives more than just a subtle hint about what Bush’s intentions are for Iran. Rather than re-relate the story as Bob Woodward tells it, which would then tend to make the story third hand, I’ll reproduce the passage here which the reader can then verify via reference to the book itself.

The story relates to an interview that Jay Garner, the short-lived director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq, had with Bush just after he had been replaced by Paul Bremer. Woodward writes:

“Mr. President, the one thing I’ll tell you, I’ve had three weeks to work with Ambassador Bremer and he’s one of the hardest working men I’ve ever seen. He’s a very bright guy. He’s articulate and he’ll get the job done. You made a good choice.”
“I didn’t choose him,” Bush said. “Rumsfeld chose him just like he chose you.”
Garner looked at Rumsfeld. The secretary of defence had told him explicitly in late April [2003] that Bush had selected Bremer, and had added later that even the timing of Bremer’s arrival was not his call. But now Rumsfeld didn’t say a word.
As Garner got up to leave, Rice stopped him and extended her hand. “Jay, you’ve got to stay in touch with us,” she said.
“I’d like to,” Garner said, thinking to himself, ‘How the hell am I going to do that?’ After all, he only talked with Rumsfeld.
On the way out, Bush slapped Garner on the back. “Hey, Jay, you want to do Iran”?
“Sir, the boys and I talked about that and we want to hold out for Cuba. We think the rum and cigars are a little better… The women are prettier.”
Bush laughed. “You got it. You got Cuba.”[1]

The passage is telling for a number of reasons. The meeting between Garner and Bush was on 18 June 2003.[2] Already Bush was seriously thinking of Iran. And not just Iran, it seems. While it was Garner that mentioned Cuba, Bush was quick to take the opportunity of exercising the ‘Emperor’s prerogative’ implying that it was within his power to ‘give’ Garner Cuba.

The passage also highlights the deceitful and lying ways of Rumsfeld – it was indeed Rumsfeld who had selected Bremer to replace Garner contrary to what the secretary of defence had told him.

And, finally, there’s Condoleeza Rice’s rather patronising remark about Garner having to stay in touch with ‘us’.

All very revealing.

[1] Bob Woodward, State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.) p. 224.
[2] Woodward, State of Denial. p. 227.


Terrence Valter said...


Below is a quote by Gen Wesley Clark when he recounted his conversation with a general at the Pentagon in November 2001. That clearly shows the US agenda.
We are dealing with very dangerous people.

Bush's popularity is now about 30% down from 83%. I am disappointed that the Australian people have not treated Howard in the same way.

Howard should have a popularity like Bush's, I think it is an indictment on Australians that they continue to support the warmongering.

It is interesting that Howard has never admitted any fault in the decision to invade Iraq. Of course the moment he does, he then is accountable to explain why he did not show more diligence in checking the so-called intelligence he was given.

Instead he says that he still does not regret invading Iraq even though the original reason was false.

The link to the source of this quote is:

"I said, "Are we still going to invade Iraq?" "Yes, Sir," he said, "but it's worse than that." I said, "How do you mean?" He held up this piece of paper. He said, "I just got this memo today or yesterday from the office of the Secretary of Defense upstairs. It's a, it's a five-year plan. We're going to take down seven countries in five years. We're going to start with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, then Libya, Somalia, Sudan, we're going to come back and get Iran in five years. I said, "Is that classified, that paper?" He said, "Yes Sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me, because I want to be able to talk about it."

Damian Lataan said...

Indeed Terrence. There is a huge amount of evidence around that demonstrates that the pro-Zionist Jewish and Gentile neoconservatives and their mates in power in the US and Israel have been gunning for Iran ever since the US-supported fascist Shah was booted out by the Iranian theocracy, and certainly long before Iranian President Ahmadinejad appeared on the scene.

It’s good to see lately that there are signs that both ordinary Israelis and non-Israeli Jews throughout the Diaspora are beginning to speak out and voice their concerns over the way a tiny minority of right-wing Zionists in Israel and the US have pushed the reputation of Israel and America to the lowest its ever been in the eyes of the rest of the world. Jews around the world and Israelis are saying a resounding ‘No’ to the coming threat of a Middle East catastrophe if the neocons and their allies in the Israeli government and the US administration have their way and fail to listen to the voice of the peoples of this world – Jews and non-Jews alike.

Anonymous said...

You have both been very reasonable with my comments in recent days so I hope that you will treat this question in the same manner:

Could not the conversation as recounted not be a very poor attempt at humour?

Damian Lataan said...

Do you really think the President of the United States was just having a bit of a laugh with Garner over invading another country? And, in the light of the current posturing of US policy toward Iran together with the positioning of battle fleets in the Gulf off Iran, it seems, at least in retrospect, very unlikely that it was just a 'poor attempt at humour'.

Terrence Valter said...

It certainly seemed like misplaced humour to me.
However the excerpt I posted shows that even if Bush was joking at that time, the administration is deadly serious about the policy itself.