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THE ADMINISTRATION WAR DIARY

December 5."In his opening statement [to the Senate committee], Ashcroft unleashed the harshest attack of the day. He blasted his critics, claiming that "their bold declarations of so-called fact have quickly dissolved, upon inspection, into vague conjecture. Charges of 'kangaroo courts' and 'shredding the Constitution' give new meaning to the term 'the fog of war.'" Then he went on to assert that the critics were threats to the nation's security: 'To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists--for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.'" --David Corn, 12/6/01

November 25. "With supreme ambivalence, we are embarking on the Ashcroft era in American justice. The Economist writes that the attorney general's assault on evil has "a Cromwellian feel," noting dryly: "England's Lord Protector also disapproved of drinking, dancing and smoking." The evangelical barbershop singer, whose nomination was opposed by every liberal special interest, has now become the big man in town. It's weird what tricks fate plays. The great hope of the Christian right who was toppled by a dead man and his widow has re-emerged as a colossus bestriding the country. A true sectarian in religion and politics, who said at Bob Jones University that in America "we have no king but Jesus," will leave a huge mark on the way Americans live their lives. Mr. Ashcroft's contentious nomination fight was not over whether he had a fine legal mind. Senators fought over whether or not he was too riddled by prejudice and narrowness to serve, as they examined his opposition to a black judicial nominee, a gay ambassadorial nominee, abortion rights and his odd defense of slaveowners and Confederate generals. Now, stunned by terrorists, abroad and in our midst, the country is seized by contradictory impulses. On the one hand, we have to trust Mr. Ashcroft. Four thousand people are dead. We are at war with anthrax. There is no question that the attorney general inherited a Justice Department and an F.B.I. that were grossly delinquent on domestic security. But even as we cut the guy some slack, we have to be really skeptical about his assertions of power. It was telling that the first resistance to his edict to interview 5,000 Middle Eastern men came from police chiefs objecting to racial profiling. We're trying to trust someone whose instincts once did not inspire universal trust to rethink the way civil liberties will be treated for a generation." --Maureen Dowd.

November 24. "The administration is acting as if America has no inner strength whatsoever. By working its various end runs around our laws, the fearful message is clear: American democracy is too weak to contend with terrorism, and two of the three branches of government, the judicial and the legislative, are not to be trusted....Those currently in captivity [could] move from interment to execution without anyone ever learning why or where they disappeared. If this sounds like old-fashioned American justice, it is — albeit of such Americas as Cuba and Chile....If the administration were really proud of how it's grabbing "emergency" powers that skirt the law, it wouldn't do so in the dead of night. It wasn't enough for Congress to enhance Mr. Ashcroft's antiterrorist legal arsenal legitimately by passing the U.S.A.-Patriot Act before anyone could read it; now he rewrites more rules without consulting senators or congressmen of either party at all. He abridged by decree the Freedom of Information Act, an essential check on government malfeasance in peace and war alike, and discreetly slipped his new directive allowing eavesdropping on conversations between some lawyers and clients into the Federal Register. He has also refused repeated requests to explain himself before Congressional committees, finally relenting to a nominal appearance in December. At one House briefing, according to Time magazine, he told congressmen they could call an 800 number if they had any questions about what Justice is up to. This kind of high-handedness and secrecy has been a hallmark of the administration beginning Jan. 20, not Sept. 11." --Frank Rich

November 23."President Bush and most of his top colleagues are small-government people, who have spent their careers railing at programs and the rank-and-file workers who administer them — including some of the very bureaucrats upon whom the administration now depends, from public-health workers to junior diplomats to security officials....For the moment, President Bush enjoys almost unquestioned backing from the electorate; even when the fighting in Afghanistan was producing minimal results, his approval rating stood at close to 90 percent. He has struck fast on several fronts while the iron was hottest.In the last 10 days alone, he announced, without benefit of Congressional consultation, let alone a treaty, cuts in the American arsenal of nuclear weapons as an incentive to Russia, and he signed an order allowing people accused of terrorism to be tried in military tribunals, which has been the talk of the capital's enormous and enormously talkative legal community ever since.In other actions, the administration has invaded lawyer-client privilege in some cases involving accused terrorists, stanched leaks on Capitol Hill by cutting off national security briefings and sharply restricted access to presidential papers — all without provoking any significant public protest." --NYT, 11/23/01

November 19."Rev. Jesse Jackson made the list for remarking to an audience at Harvard Law School that America should "build bridges and relationships, not simply bombs and walls." Joel Beinin, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Stanford University, earned a place on it for his opinion that "If Osama bin Laden is confirmed to be behind the attacks, the United States should bring him before an international tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity." And Wasima Alikhan of the Islamic Academy of Las Vegas was there simply for saying "Ignorance breeds hate." All three were included on a list of 117 anti-American statements heard on college campuses that was compiled by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a conservative nonprofit group devoted to curbing liberal tendencies in academia. The list, part of a report that was posted on the group's Web site (www.goacta.org/Reports/defciv.pdf) last week, accuses several dozen scholars, students and even a university president of what they call unpatriotic behavior after Sept. 11. Calling professors "the weak link in America's response to the attack," the report excoriates faculty members for invoking "tolerance and diversity as antidotes to evil" and pointing "accusatory fingers, not at the terrorists, but at America itself." Reports from advocacy groups are issued all the time. What has gotten this one, titled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It," more attention than usual is that one of the council's founding members is Lynne V. Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney." --NYT. November 18. "Less than a year ago, Attorney General John Ashcroft's confirmation was nearly derailed when a videotape surfaced that showed Mr. Ashcroft confidently asserting, "We have no king but Jesus." At the time, some questioned whether he could sufficiently carry out his duties when he seemed to favor Christianity over other religions, a favoritism prohibited by the First Amendment. Before Sept. 11, few conservatives worried aloud whether their rhetoric excluded Muslims. Now the president himself is holding an iftar dinner at the White House, breaking fast during the holy month of Ramadan with 50 ambassadors from Muslim countries....A few months ago, the Republican position on religion was basically that there was not enough of it in American life. President Bush was pushing his faith-based initiative, while other conservatives lobbied for allowing organized prayer in schools and at school football games....At the time, the Republican Party wanted God in public life — but the overriding implication was that God would be Christian. It wasn't entirely clear that all those seeking more religion in public institutions intended to invite Allah to the proceedings. The current need to emphasize the significance of Muslim Americans has the Republican administration — unconsciously, perhaps — broadening its vision of God and religion." --NYT (see below).

November 18. "Jewish groups and some conservatives have been lobbying the president to stop courting certain Muslim leaders who, they say, have equivocated on terrorism by condemning the Sept. 11 attacks but praising Hamas and Hezbollah. Those two groups, which are fighting Israel, are on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. "It's a very simple proposition," said Phil Baum, executive director of the American Jewish Congress. "The White House ought to be certain that the people they associate with don't defend, excuse or condone suicide bombing." The pressure presents the administration with a problem. Many of the Muslim leaders being criticized are popular in their communities. Their visible support for the president is critical to Bush's contention that the war is against terrorism, not Muslims, and certainly not American Muslims. And even before the war, Arab Americans had proven themselves good friends to Bush -- they supported him en masse in the 2000 election." --WP.

November 15. "Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts....No longer does the judicial branch and an independent jury stand between the government and the accused. In lieu of those checks and balances central to our legal system, non-citizens face an executive that is now investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and jailer or executioner. In an Orwellian twist, Bush's order calls this Soviet-style abomination 'a full and fair trial.'" --William Safire.

November 14. "Just before Sept. 11, political debate was dominated by the growing evidence that last spring's tax cut was not, in fact, consistent with George W. Bush's pledge not to raid the projected $2.7 trillion Social Security surplus. After the attack, everyone dropped the subject. At this point, it seems that nobody will complain as long as the budget as a whole doesn't go into persistent deficit.But two months into the war on terrorism, we're starting to get a sense of how little this war will actually cost. And it's time to start asking some hard questions...The dust cloud that rose when the towers fell has certainly helped politicians who don't want you to see what they're up to." --NYT.

November 13. " Once again, we're being sold on the devil theory of history. Not that Osama bin Laden doesn't fit the bill as the Satan of the moment, just as Saddam Hussein did in the previous Bush administration. But it's dangerous nonsense to suggest, as President Bush does, that we're up against an evildoer the likes of whom we've never seen. While it's certainly necessary to eliminate Bin Laden's terrorist cohort, that will hardly end the prospect of mayhem in this world. We lull ourselves into a false sense of security when we insist that madness is the exclusive province of one group of extremists, or that it inevitably finds its locus in one religion or region of the world." --LAT.

November 12. "In wartime, there is little more vital to government than its ability to work in secret. Secrecy can save lives, both at home and on the battlefield. But when that need is used as an excuse to avoid political embarrassment — as President Bush did recently in thwarting the release of old presidential records — public trust is lost. Hiding behind a bogus claim of expanding openness, Bush issued new rules that will greatly complicate the Presidential Records Act, a post-Watergate law intended to ensure the release of administration records 12 years after a president leaves office — in this case, those of the Reagan administration. Under the law, Reagan documents were due for public release this year. Instead, Bush chose to stack the deck against disclosure, abolishing rules the Reagan administration itself wrote and replacing them with new roadblocks.... Bush's move is part of a larger administration pattern of obstructing the public's right to know how government works. For months Bush has fought congressional efforts to reveal the role of industry lobbyists in writing his energy plan. Bush's attorney general wrote a memo last month promising to back government agencies in court when they exploit legal loopholes to fight Freedom of Information Act requests." --USA.

November 11. "The Bush administration today boycotted a U.N. conference convened by Secretary General Kofi Annan to encourage states to ratify a global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests. The decision to sidestep the three-day event represents the latest demonstration of U.S. opposition to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which has been signed by 161 countries, including the United States, and ratified by 85. President Bush has made it clear that he will never submit the treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification. But some delegates were miffed that the United States had chosen to snub many of its closest allies at a time that it is seeking to build a coalition to fight terrorism." --WP.

November 10. "With the United States on the sidelines, negotiators for more than 160 countries, including Great Britain, Japan and Russia, reached agreement late last night on a groundbreaking climate control treaty setting mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.European environmental leaders, who were outraged when President Bush disavowed the Kyoto global warming treaty in March, vowed to forge ahead without the United States and work out final details in Morocco this week....The United States, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, would be exempt from the treaty. Yesterday, the Department of Energy reported that heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions increased by 3.1 percent in the United States last year – the biggest increase since the mid-1990s. Carbon dioxide emissions, the chief cause of global warming, were nearly 14 percent higher than in 1990, according to the department's Energy Information Administration." --WP.

November 4. "Executives of the major pharmaceutical companies have been hopping trains and planes to the nation's capital, where they are staging an enormous lobbying campaign, at the highest levels of government, to help shape the nation's bioterrorist plan — and beyond. So far, they have had some remarkable victories. While the government has struggled to make sure the nation will have enough drugs to treat biological weapons that were largely hypothetical a few months ago, drug companies have managed to stave off many actions that would harm them, like violating patents or forcing them to supply free drugs. As that success shows, the pharmaceutical lobby, which represents the nation's biggest drug makers, from Eli Lilly to Pfizer (news/quote) to Merck (news/quote), is both large and politically adroit and, if anything, more sophisticated than when it gained fame in the early 1990's for helping to defeat the Clinton administration health plan. It has more lobbyists than there are members of Congress — 625 who are registered. It had a combined lobbying and campaign contribution budget in 1999 and 2000 of $197 million, larger than any other industry. Now it is harnessing those resources to influence major policy decisions being made by the Bush administration that may well influence public health issues and industry profitability for years to come — much to the dismay of many consumer groups and others." --Wayne and Petersen, 11/4/01

November 3. "The attacks of Sept. 11 and the spread of anthrax have forced the Bush administration to reconsider its ill-advised antipathy to strengthening the 1972 treaty that bans the development, production and possession of biological weapons." (see below) --NYT ED, 11/3/01

November 2."Declaring that the threat posed by germ warfare and terrorism "is real and extremely dangerous," President Bush opened a campaign Thursday to strengthen and expand the provisions of a 1972 treaty banning biological weapons. His proposal would extend many of the treaty's terms to the criminal level, taking the treaty from a government-to-government pact regulating actions by countries to one also encompassing the behavior of individuals. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which 144 nations have ratified, bans the development, production and possession of all biological weapons. But "the source of biological weapons has not been eradicated," Bush said.... In July, the Bush administration rejected a proposal, supported by the United Nations and a number of the other signatories, that would have created an international organization to conduct inspections of plants in which biological weapons could be made. The administration argued that the inspections would have been too intrusive and would have put at risk the proprietary information of American pharmaceutical companies and other private businesses that work with biological agents. (see Oct. 31) --LAT, 11/2/01

November 1. "The Bush White House has drafted an executive order that would usher in a new era of secrecy for presidential records and allow an incumbent president to withhold a former president's papers even if the former president wanted to make them public.... Historians and others who have seen the proposed order called it unprecedented and said it would turn the 1978 Presidential Records Act on its head by allowing such materials to be kept secret "in perpetuity."... Under the order, incumbent and former presidents "could keep their records locked up for as long as they want," said Bruce Craig, executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History. "It reverses the very premise of the Presidential Records Act, which provides for a systematic release of presidential records after 12 years."... 'The executive branch is moving heavily into the nether world of dirty tricks, very likely including directed assassinations overseas and other violations of American norms and the U.N. charter," said Vanderbilt University historian Hugh Graham. "There is going to be so much to hide.'" --Washington Post, 11/1/01

October 31."When the federal government wanted to stockpile the antibiotic Cipro as a treatment for anthrax, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson persuaded Bayer, the patent holder, to cut the price of the drug by threatening to buy generic versions. Yet the Bush administration is derailing efforts by poor countries ravaged by AIDS to facilitate their efforts to do the same....Members of the World Trade Organization are meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 9 to try to launch a new round of high-level talks on trade. The majority of the world's nations, led by Brazil, want to pass a declaration stating that nothing in the World Trade Organization rules governing patents would prevent governments from safeguarding public health....The United States and Switzerland, home to many multinational drug companies, are blocking the declaration and proposing a weaker version, unacceptable to most other countries. Their draft proposal puts less weight on public health needs and does not fix some important barriers to cheaper drugs, especially one that will prohibit countries that can make generics from exporting them to nations that lack the capacity." --NYT, 10/31/01

October 30.Bush has connected his War Against Terrorism to his new proposed ecoomic stimulus package. "It's quite amazing that TXU (formerly Dallas Power and Light), a company with only 16,000 employees, would get a check for $600 million [under Bush's plan.]. And there are a number of medium-sized companies that, like TXU, are in line for surprisingly big benefits. These companies include ChevronTexaco, Enron, Phillips Petroleum, IMC Global and CMS Energy. What do they have in common? Well, they tend to be in the energy or mining businesses; and they tend to be based in or near Texas.... There is almost certainly a lot of overlap between the companies that would derive large benefits from alternative minimum tax repeal and those that would have received large subsidies under the energy plan devised by Mr. Cheney's task force. You may remember that the administration, in apparent defiance of the law, refused to make the records of that task force's meetings available to Congress; that's one of those issues that seems to have been dropped after Sept. 11. And I guess it's superfluous to point out that the big winners in all this seem to be companies that gave large, one-sided donations to the Republican Party in the last election. --Paul Krugman, 10/30/01

October 29. "The job of White House press secretary is never easy. Mr. Fleischer, 41, has a particularly difficult balancing act these days. He speaks for an administration that is under growing scrutiny for its handling of the anthrax threat and the bombing campaign in Afghanistan, answering reporters who are increasingly testy about his unwillingness to give better or more inside information. But he works for a president who has trained his White House to prize loyalty, discipline and discretion above all else. Helen Thomas, the veteran U.P.I. correspondent who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, gave the most succinct assessment of Mr. Fleischer. 'He's a likable young man," she said. 'But they keep him on a very short leash.'" --NYT, 10/29/01

October 28. "Cynics tell us that money has completely corrupted our politics, that in the last election big corporations basically bought themselves a government that will serve their interests. Several related events last week suggest that the cynics have a point." (see below) --Paul Krugman.

October 28. Bush "opposes a bipartisan bill recently approved by the Senate that would make all baggage and passenger screeners federal employees..... On Friday, he made a fresh appeal to the Senate to approve his proposal to boost domestic energy supply and production, including a plan to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.The airline security bill that Bush criticized was approved by the Senate on a 100 to 0 vote....Democrats oppose the overall size of the tax cuts in the [Bush-backed economic stimulus] House bill, as well as specific cuts aimed at corporations and the wealthy. --Washington Post.

October 27. "This is an administration that will let its special interests — particularly its high-rolling campaign contributors and its noisiest theocrats of the right — have veto power over public safety, public health and economic prudence in war, it turns out, no less than in peacetime. When anthrax struck, the administration's first impulse was not to secure as much Cipro as speedily as possible to protect Americans, but to protect the right of pharmaceutical companies to profiteer. The White House's faith in tax cuts as a panacea for all national ills has led to such absurdities as this week's House "stimulus" package showering $254 million on Enron, the reeling Houston energy company (now under S.E.C. investigation) that has served as a Bush campaign cash machine." --Frank Rich, 10/27/01

October 25."President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta will intensify their personal lobbying for an airline security bill, drafted by House GOP leaders, that does not require federalization of baggage screeners and other airport security personnel, senior administration sources tell CNN. "What the American people support and what workers at airports support is a full, federalized security workforce," said Jennifer Palmieri, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee. 'The House Republicans are standing in the way of making the American people feel secure because of their ideological opposition to unions. We believe everyone in airport security should be a federal employee. If it's good enough for the Justice Department or the FBI, it ought to be good enough for airport security.'" --CNN, 10/25/01

October 24. "After getting a slow start because they refused to believe the first Florida anthrax case was an instance of terrorism, officials kept telling us not to worry, that anthrax was not dangerous unless the terrorists could find a delivery system. They found it: a spore chain letter (or letters), scattering bacteria from New Jersey to Brentwood to Congress to a remote White House mail room. The government still doesn't know where the anthrax is from, who's sending it, how potent it is, how it spreads. The germ is as old as man.We had the ugly spectacle of Congressional employees and media big shots getting prophylactic treatment and plenty of Cipro and time off, while the proles got the shaft. At Brentwood yesterday, yellow police tape blocked the entrance — tape that now signals contagion as well as crime. No mail was being delivered, and carriers were steaming. 'Why didn't we get checked?" said Leslie Harris. "This stuff has to move from point A to point B. The Senate is point B. We are A. They took care of point B, but what about us? Nobody told us nothing.'" --Maureen Dowd, NYT, 10/24/01

October 24. "The Bush administration's foreign policy underwent a radical transformation after the terrorist attacks [,according to today's myth]. Beforehand, or so the myth holds, the U.S. tried to deal with the world as a sole superpower, avoiding international agreements. Since Sept. 11, it reversed course and has chosen a new, multilateral approach. The reality is otherwise. If you focus on actual policy positions rather than mere style and tone, the Bush administration has changed far less than have the perceptions of it. The earlier accusations of unilateralism stemmed from the administration's actions on several treaties and international agreements. The administration withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. It refused to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or the creation of an international criminal court. It demanded changes in an accord on illegal sales of small arms. And it served notice it might pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty if Russia did not agree to changes that would permit testing of a missile defense system. Now, let's look at the aftermath of Sept. 11. In the weeks since then, the Bush administration has moved with great fanfare to form a coalition of nations against terrorism. So has the administration cast aside what was earlier deemed unilateralism? It has not." --Jim Mann, LAT, 10/24/01

October 23. "The U.S. war on terrorism will likely cause more casualties at home than among troops overseas, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Tuesday. In a rare outing from the secret, secure location where he has been living for much of the past six weeks, Cheney said...In this conflict, for the first time in our history, we will probably suffer more casualties here at home than will our forces overseas.'" --Reuters, 10/24/01

October 19. "U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday used his first major public appearance since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States to warn Americans that life would never be the same and more attacks should be expected. In a speech at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial dinner, a high-profile Catholic Church charity event, Cheney said, 'The enemy has shown a capacity to inflict great damage on the United States, and we have to assume there will be more attacks. That is the only safe way to proceed. For the first time in our history," he said, "we will probably suffer more casualties here at home in America than among our troops overseas.'" --Reuters

October 18. "In the effort to combat terrorism, says Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, "it's going to be a scrap of information" -- rather than a cruise missile or a bomb -- that will be decisive. If ever there was a field in this struggle where [Bush's previous strategy of] unilateralism will not work, it is surely in collecting intelligence on organizations such as Osama bin Laden's. The United States simply cannot do without effective assistance from other countries, including especially those such as Germany that are home to large numbers of people from the Middle East." --Robert Livingston.

October 18. "Responding to a wave of criticism over the government's uncoordinated and uncommunicative response to the bioterrorism threat, Tom Ridge, director of the new Office of Homeland Security, held his first press briefing yesterday....But the briefing, conducted by an array of top officials, left the public confused about the critical new element in the anthrax scare — the degree to which the anthrax sent to Senator Tom Daschle's office is of such high grade that it warrants a whole new level of concern." (see below) --NYT Ed.

October 17. "President Bush used the terrorist attacks today to press for a quick vote on new authority to negotiate trade agreements without allowing amendment by the Senate. "The terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and we will defeat them by expanding and encouraging world trade," Mr. Bush said, seeming to imply that trade was among the concerns of terrorists who brought down the towers. "In order to help me expand world trade, I've asked the Congress to give me what's called trade promotion authority . the ability to seek America's interests around the world." Opponents of the bill, which would limit Congress to approving or denying accords, say Mr. Bush is trying to force it through by wrapping it in the attacks, even though the connection is tangential at best. The strategy came from Robert B. Zoellick, the United States trade representative, who began making the argument soon after Sept. 11." --NYT.

October 17. On ABC News this evening a report reminded us that Bush's Sec. of Health, Tommy Thompson, said two weeks ago that his department would be able to respond to any threat of bioterrorism. When challenged about his statement today in the face of the Anthrax crisis and the limited availablility of both anthrax vaccine and Cipro, he reiterated his statment with a stress on the word "respond": "Yes, I said we would be able to RESPOND." You're in a car that crashes at an intersection. Those who see you crash would be sure to RESPOND, but to what end? --Politex, 10/17/01

October 16. "It is convenient for the Saudi government to now distance itself from Bin Laden, but the record is clear that, as the New York Times editorialized, "with Riyadh's acquiescence, money and manpower from Saudi Arabia helped create and sustain Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization." When one peruses the list of directors of businesses and foundations cited by the U.S. government that allegedly supported Al Qaeda, it reads like a who's who of Saudi society. Perhaps that's why the Bush administration rejects the Taliban's demand for proof that Bin Laden is behind the recent terror, a normal response to an extradition request. Have we refused to supply that evidence or to issue the white paper of proof promised by Colin Powell because what we have learned about the international financing of Al Qaeda is too embarrassing to the Saudis? What we do know is that at least more than half of the hijackers were Saudi citizens; that their alleged leader Bin Laden is a member of one of Saudi Arabia's richest families; that money from the Saudi elite sustained a terrorist network; and that the Saudi government has refused to cooperate fully with the U.S. in investigating these links or seizing terrorist assets." --LAT.

October 15. "The unread news today is that the "war against terrorism" is being exploited in order to achieve objectives that consolidate American power. These include: the bribing and subjugation of corrupt and vulnerable governments in former Soviet central Asia, crucial for American expansion in the region and exploitation of the last untapped reserves of oil and gas in the world." --John Pilger.

October 15. "With Iran participating in the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism, the government tried unsuccessfully Monday to block anti-Iran testimony from former American hostages held for 444 days after the U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized two decades ago. The move by the State Department prompted one of the ex-hostages, Barry Rosen, to accuse the government of playing "a surrogate role for Iran" in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States." --AP, 10/15/01.

October 14. On ABC's "This Week," Cokie Roberts said she believed the GOP's decision to fight federalizing airline security was a political decision. She mentioned a member of Congress telling her that federalization, rather than privatization, means unions, which means more Democrats in government. To Bush and the GOP, the question of possible votes against them appears to be more important than the question of which system would best protect us from terrorists....And about the inappropriate joke Bush made in response to a serious question about bioterrorism at his recent press conference, ABC reporter Terry Moran told the roundtable, "It shows his character and the lack of specific help [the citizens are getting] from the government."

October 14. "PRESIDENT BUSH and his advisers wasted the better part of a year practicing the art of diplomatic passivity in the Middle East. Now the Bush team is saying that it had been drawing up a Mideast peace plan before Osama bin Laden struck....Perhaps Bush's allusion to his vision of a Palestinian state was intended as a foreshadowing of his planned Mideast initiative." --Boston Globe Ed., 10/14/01

October 13. "In one traumatic month President Bush's view of America and the world has been transformed. One sentence at his press conference Thursday made that stunningly clear. "We . . . should learn a lesson from the previous engagement in the Afghan area," Mr. Bush said, "that we should not just simply leave after a military objective has been achieved." With that, he swept away all his past scorn at U.S. involvement in what he called "nation building." And it is not the only Bush shibboleth that has fallen. Demonizing China as a potential enemy has disappeared with the need to enlist Beijing in the alliance against terrorism. So has demonizing Washington, D.C.; attacks on the role of the federal government have given way to calls for more federal responsibility." --Anthony Lewis.

October 12 " "We're not into nation-building," said President Bush most recently, only some two weeks ago. But already, his administration is deeply engaged in trying to create some combination of rival ethnic groups to govern Afghanistan after the expected disintegration of the ruling Taliban." --Daniel Schorr.

October 11. "President Bush urged the Senate today to pass an energy bill that would allow drilling for oil in an Alaskan wildlife refuge, casting the issue as a matter of national security.After hearing progress reports from his cabinet on the war on terrorism, Mr. Bush said, unprompted, that he wanted Congress to grant him the authority to act quickly on trade matters and to pass an energy bill. "There was a good energy bill passed out of the House of Representatives," he said in a rare detour from war-related matters since Sept. 11. 'And the reason it passed is because members of both parties understand an energy bill is not only good for jobs, it's important for our national security to have a good energy policy.'" --NYT, 10/11/01

October 10. "Attorney General John Ashcroft set up a "9/11 Task Force" within the Justice Department today to operate as the agency's central command structure for prosecuting terror cases and helping to prevent further acts of violence against the United States, a senior department official said. Mr. Ashcroft's decision is a significant shift for the Justice Department, reflecting his increasingly aggressive managerial approach since the attacks and the consolidation of his control over federal law enforcement's antiterrorism efforts. Previously, attorneys general have granted prosecutors in the 92 United States attorneys' offices wide discretion in handling criminal cases, a latitude that the new structure ends where terrorism is concerned." NYT.

October 10. "President Bush and leading members of Congress from both parties clashed sharply today over Mr. Bush's order limiting classified military and investigative briefings to eight senior lawmakers. After Mr. Bush imposed the new limits in what aides said was anger over news reports based on secret intelligence provided in Congressional briefings, lawmakers insisted they needed such information to do their jobs. The president denounced Congressional leaks as unacceptable when American forces are at risk overseas.As word of Mr. Bush's directive swept the Capitol, members of both parties dismissed it as overly broad and unworkable." --NYT see below.

October 9. Today in the Rose Garden Bush again chastised members of Congress for releasing information to reporters gained during White House briefings with Congress and decided that only the party leaders will receive future briefings. He said, "It is unacceptable behavior to release classified information when our soldiers are at risk." --NYT.

October 9. "Osama bin Laden, the man President Bush said last month was wanted "dead or alive," has all but disappeared from White House rhetoric, as the administration seeks to emphasize the breadth of its anti-terrorist goals and avoid defining success as the capture of one man." --Washington Post.

October 9. "Osama bin Laden's spokesman on Tuesday called for a holy war against U.S. interests everywhere and praised the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon for their "good deed." "America must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop and there are thousands of young people who look forward to death like the Americans look forward to life," said Sulaiman Abu Ghaith said." --WP.

October 8. The air attack on Afghanistan continues for the second day today, coupled with food drops to starving Afghanis in areas not held by the Taliban. Unfortunately, it may be dangerous for those people to get to the food, since some packages will undoubtedly land in mine fields. Afghanistan probably has more buried land mines than any other country in the world, an estimated 10-15 million. In August "the Bush administration backed away from a promise made by the Clinton White House that the United States will eventually comply with an international treaty banning land mines, because it believes U.S. forces may need to use the weapon, official correspondence indicates....The administration's reluctance to embrace a treaty that has been signed by 140 countries and ratified by 117 of them is the latest example of what critics call an increasing U.S. tendency to go it alone in international affairs. In a foreign policy address Thursday, House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri said, 'The administration has ratcheted up the unilateral rhetoric in just the last few months.'" " ---Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2001

October 7.Although the tremendously powered Barrett 50 caliber is a rifle, it's the weapon of choice for terrorists who want to knock out tanks and aircraft, and Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda purchased at least 25 from American dealers, according to the Violence Policy Center. "The Bush administration has done the world a disservice by opposing strict curbs on the trafficking of small arms. On the opening day, July 9, of the two-week U.N. conference on small arms, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton announced opposition to a draft accord aimed at curbing the global traffic in small arms and light weapons." --W. D. Hartung.

October 6. "President Bush pleased fiscal conservatives Friday by urging Congress to pass at least $60 billion in tax cuts to jump-start the economy and brushing aside Democrats' demands for new government spending. A Democratic aide called Bush's announcement a slap in the face after a bipartisan coalition had worked with the White House all week on the stimulus package." --HC.

October 5. "on Friday, Fleischer welcomed the British dossier connecting bin Laden and his al-Qaida network to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. "Different governments do different things for different reasons and we're pleased to see what they've done," Fleischer said. Asked why the U.S. government did not directly make the case against bin Laden to its own citizens, Fleischer suggested reporters were the only ones interested. "I'm not sure that there's a clamor from the American people," he said. --AP see below.

October 4. According to a story in the October 8th New Yorker by Seymour M. Hersh ("What Went Wrong"), "the American intelligence community remains confused, divided, and unsure about how the terrorists operated, how many there were, and what they might do next. It was that lack of solid information, government officials told me, that was the key factor behind the Bush Administration's decision last week not to issue a promised white paper listing the evidence linking Osama bin Laden's organization to the attacks." see below

October 3."By sharing some of its evidence linking Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network Al Qaeda to those attacks with foreign leaders this week, the Bush administration has honored fundamental American values. A portion of this material should be made public as well. Secretary of State Colin Powell was right to promise such a presentation of evidence last month. It would help build stronger international support for the campaign against terrorism." --NYT ED, 10/3/01. see 9/23, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3.

October 3."Rumsfeld said he has no plans to share the evidence the United States has which it says links bin Laden and his al Qaeda network to the September 11 attacks. There's been plenty of evidence in the news media, he said, adding that no one is asking for it, except Afghanistan's ruling Taliban." --CNN, 10/3/01. see 9/23, 10/1, 10/2

October 2.NATO representatives were unable to share specific information linking Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks with reporters. "The NATO secretary-general said it must remain secret for now 'for obvious reasons.' However, 'the facts are clear and compelling,' he said." --NYT, 10/2/01. see 9/23, 10/1

October 1."U.S. officials have backed away from a statement by Secretary of State Colin Powell that some evidence against bin Laden would be made public, saying that doing so would compromise intelligence sources." --Cox Newspapers , 10/1/01. see 9/23

September 30. "Those whom we trust to look after the national interest must watch what they say and do, lest it seem that the nation's trust has been abused." Paul Krugman, NYT. See 9/28

September 29. Judicial Watch says Bush should "demand" the resignation his father from the Carlyle Group because "the idea of the President’s father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of September 11 is horrible."

September 28. Bush spinner Fleischer admits his comment that political comic Bill Maher should "watch what [he] say[s]" was deleted from the White House transcript, but stands by that warning to Maher, according to the NYT.

September 27. "Senior communications staffers at the White House" expressed to "NBC Nightly News" executives "the feeling that the Sept. 18 interview with [former President Bill] Clinton would not be helpful to the current war on terrorism." Jake Tapper, 9/27

September 26. "There seems to be an answer to how someone, presumed to be a terrorist, was able to call in a threat against Air Force One using a secret code name for the president's plane on the day of the attacks. As it turns out, that simply never happened. Sources say White House staffers apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail." (Jim Stewart, CBS Evening News) see 9/12-14

September 25. The Bush Administration did a flip-flop from its June position because of its war on terrorism, demanding stronger international money laundering laws.

September 25.William Kristol reports that Powell is fighting Cheney and Rumsfeld for the soul of Bush re expanded war. (WP)>

September 25.Bush on CNN today telling reporters that he will never give up just fight against terrorism, tries to control self, but breaks into broad, mirthful smile twice. (POLITEX)

September 24. House GOP Censors C-Span Response After Ashcroft House Speech Requesting Fewer Civil Liberties (NBC)

September 23. Powell, Rice say evidence will be "laid out" against Bin Laden. --U.S. Dept. of State

September 23. Powell Deputy Armitage Jawbones, Voice Of American Censors Out Taliban Interview. (WP)

September 23. NYT news consortium decides not to release biggest study of Gore-Bush FLA Election. (NYT)

September 23.Jimmy Breslin reminds us that Bush's holding up police badge in 9/20 speech originated with Bush father against Dukakis. see 9/20 (Newsday)

September 22. Bush gets deeper into "holy war" rhetoric, saying he is God's leader, God is on our side. see 9/17, 9/19(NYT)

September 21. Ashcroft's attempt to quickly push laws weakening civil liberties through Congress halted by diversity...Left, Right, Religious, Ethnic, Minorities. (WP)

September 20. Bush Says Terrorists Hate Us Because Of Our Freedom To Vote. (NYT) see 9/23

September 19. Rumsfeld Names War On Terrorism "Infinite Justice," Which Has Biblical Connotations As Christian Holy War (GM) see 9/17

September 18. Observers wonder if nations will respond favorably to Bush call for help, since he stiffed the world with his one-way unilateralism. (GUARDIAN)

September 17. Bush Terms The War On Terrorism A "Crusade," Which Was A Christian War Against Muslims. (NYT)

September 17. Wall Stree Journal Op-Ed Piece Says Crisis Is A Good Time To Push GOP Agenda Through Congress

September 16."Animosity between the Cheney/Rumsfeld axis and Colin Powell dates back to Bush senior." (GUARDIAN)

September 15.Congress gives Bush greater powers than it gave Johnson with Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, "allowing [him] to wage war against more than one nation, as well as any individuals and organizations he deems were connected to the attack." (PROG)

September 15."The unilateralism the administration has practiced in walking away from the Kyoto accord on global warming and the ABM treaty is anathema to the building of an international coalition to fight a war." (NYT)

September 14.White House Says Caller's "Code Words" Knowledge Was "Hard Evidence" Bush Was Target (WP)

September 13.NYT ED Notes Bush Team Has Spent Too Much Time Defending Bush Absence, Too Little On Telling People What's Next

September 12.Reports Cite "Security Precautions," Bush Avoided White House, Where Rice and Cheney Remained. (AAS)

September 11. Terrorists Destroy WTC, Damage Pentagon, Kill Thousands.

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