From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Monday, April 19, 2004


So let me get this straight. From what we learned in the 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward over his new book:

Bush gave a heads up on the Iraqi invasion to the Saudi ambassador. Prince Bandar got to see classified materials that no one else should have seen. And Bandar found out before our own Secretary of State?

"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."

For their "support" of this action, Bandar agrees that the Saudis will manipulate the oil markets so that Bush has low gas prices before the election.

"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.

Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”"

Now according to Kevin Drum, the right wing pundits are defending this as perfectly acceptable diplomatic positioning.

This would be diplomacy with the same country that was homeland of 15 of the 9/11 hijackers, and one which we have reasonably good intel on that the state does in fact provide monetary support to terrorists (unlike, oh, say...Iraq).

Never mind this doesn't pass the laugh test. Any conservative who agrees with this logic needs to ask one simple question of themselves: Would I support this kind of positioning if Clinton had done it instead of Bush? I think that the answer would be a resounding no. Instead we'd get a whole lot of crap from Rush and the like talking about how Clinton was selling out the country to terrorists. If it wouldn't hold up with Bill, then it can't hold up as an argument defending W. And the main difference is that W. did apparently auction this intel off for lower gas prices. Clinton didn't.

Update: Crooked Timber also has some really good points on this.