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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Order Of Events

So, let's make sure we understand how this all went down, because we're getting script revisions every day. You want to make sure that you have only the freshest outrage. So cut and paste this new scene into the script.

Before we get started, let's realize that not only was Richard Clarke's story absolutely true, because it was confirmed by other news stories published at the time, but Woodward's book also confirms it. I'm sure there's a clear answer as to why Scott McClellan and Condi Rice claimed -- in comments that were so scripted they played in stereo -- that Clarke was a "revisionist historian."

Bush decided to go to war with Iraq within months of taking office, and told Rumsfeld to draw up invasion plans within two weeks of 9/11. And when Afghanistan was old news, because we have taken the capital with a bare-minimum force and installed a puppet government with no power of any kind, Bush could move forward with his plans. He's tired of waiting. All systems are go!

So here's the new scene. It's January 2003. Bush hasn't told Gen. Powell yet, because he knows that Powell thinks its a bad idea. (Those veterans! They're always throwing cold water on our war plans!) But Rummy and Condi and Cheney -- all the Kool Kidz -- think it's peachy! What fun!

Rummy and Cheney are so excited about their big secret that they decide to tell their friend Prince Bandar all about it. Prince Bandar is the diplomatic arm of the House of Saud, which has strong ties to the House of Bush, so they want to make sure that he knows what's about to happen. They bring Prince Bandar to the White House and explain the invasion plan using big charts that are labeled "TOP SECRET. NO FOREIGN." As in, absolutely no foreigners are to see this document for any reason. But he's not really a "foreigner"! He's Bandy! The political advisor to a government that funds terrorists!

Prince Bandar doesn't believe his eyes. So Bush calls him two days later and confirms that the plans are real. (Yes, Cheney and Rumsfeld give Prince Bandar a presentation in Cheney's own office, using Top Secret materials, and he thinks they're talking out of their asses. What does that say about these guys? That our "allies" think Cheney and Rumsfeld are attack chihuahuas.)

So when Powell heard the top-secret news, the guy from Terrorism Central already knew about it for two days.

And this is where you pick up the story with the scene where Bush tells him about the invasion, and Powell asks him if he knows that he will be responsible for 25 million people, and instead of answering Bush asks Powell whether he will be on board. And you will recall Powell's answer, where Powell discarded his honor and the whooping alpha-monkey used it to wipe his inflamed red ass.

So. That's the story. Now wipe that from your mind. News stories are not related to each other in any way. Budget deficits are not related to bad economies and rising inflation pressures. Stories of incompetent planning are unrelated to stories of Americans dying. There is no big picture, only a series of little pictures.

In other news, Prince Bandar has promised Bush that he will use the power of one of the world's largest cartels to keep oil prices low in October and November, because he knows the state of the economy will be a big election issue.

The White House has been its customarily forthright self about this allegation:

QUESTION: Can you describe conversations between the White House and Prince Bandar about his essential promise to lower oil prices before the election?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you heard from Prince Bandar a few weeks ago about --

QUESTION: He didn’t talk specifically about the election.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the most recent conversation that we had with him regarding oil prices. And he expressed his views out at the stakeout to you all that Saudi Arabia is committed to making sure prices remained in a range, I believe it’s $22 to $28 price per barrel of oil, and that they don’t want to do anything that would harm our consumers or harm our economy. So he made those comments at the stakeout and we’ve made our views very clear that prices should be determined by market forces, and that we are always in close contact with producers around the world on these issues to make sure that actions aren’t taken that harm our consumers or harm our economy.

QUESTION: There were no conversations specifically about the President’s reelection?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can ask Prince Bandar to --

QUESTION: But from the point -- I mean, conversations are obviously two ways.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- what his comments were. But the conversations we have are related to our long-held views that we have stated repeatedly publicly, that market forces should determine prices.

QUESTION: To follow up on that then, I would gather that the White House view is one of expectation that the Saudis would increase oil production between now and November.

MR. McCLELLAN: Our views are very well-known to Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar made a commitment at the stakeout that I will let speak for itself. You all should look back to those remarks.

QUESTION: We’re missing the allegation here, which is that Prince Bandar and the Saudis have made a commitment to lower oil prices to help the President politically. Is that your --

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those comments to him. I can tell you that what our views are and what he said at the stakeout is what we know his views are, as well.

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: Does the White House have any knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions --

QUESTION: Is there a deal?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- I wouldn’t speculate one way or the other. You can direct those questions to him, but I’m telling you --

QUESTION: I’m not asking you to speculate either. Do you have knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m telling you what our views are and what we've stated, and I'm telling you what I do know, which is that our position is very clear when it comes to oil prices and what our views are. And Prince Bandar spoke to you all just a few weeks ago out at the stakeout after meeting with some White House officials and expressed --

QUESTION: So you have no knowledge of such a commitment?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and expressed their view. I'm not going to try to speak for Prince Bandar. You can direct those questions to him.

QUESTION: The President is confident that the American elections are not being manipulated by the world's largest oil producer?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our view is that the markets should determine --

QUESTION: The market doesn't. It's a cartel.

MR. McCLELLAN: But our view is that that's what -- that the markets should determine prices. And that's the view we make very clear to producers around the world, including our friends in OPEC.

This guy is a cross-examiner's dream.

Stay tuned. The Supremes are hearing argument in the terrorism cases, in which they are asked "Can Bush kidnap human beings and prevent them from receiving justice under any form of legal system anywhere in the world?"

 9:42 AM

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