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 August, 2008


 John McCain's "Celebrity". George Bush's Problems

It’s Not Your Money. It’s Iraq’s Money
By Al Owens

I was heartened a few days ago when I discovered John McCain had finally become a celebrity.

After he’d spent the past two weeks trying to convince the voting public that presidential candidates who speak before throngs of adoring admirers are nothing special, he got his own throng.

The other day, he took the stage at a huge rally of cheering bikers in Sturgis, South Dakota. McCain now embraces celebrity.

What’s next? He could give the keynote address at the National Marijuana Grower’s convention. He needs the votes.

If he does get enough votes, he’ll be burdened by the messy and unfinished business left by his predecessor (and apparent political soul mate) George W. Bush.

Recently there’ve been daily developments that should have made the Bush White House more than a bit uneasy. But the supposed urgency of the current presidential race has kicked those developments into the shadows.

A phony campaign ad (and a real one) featuring Paris Hilton, for some reason, get far more attention than a story – that if it were true – could lead some aggressive congressperson to prepare the articles of impeachment.

It goes like this. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ron Suskind, just released a new book (The Way of the World) that claims in January of 2003, the Bush administration had some proof that Saddam Hussein really didn’t have weapons of mass destruction – but decided to intensify their war drums anyway.

According to Suskind, Hussein’s intelligence chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush, met with U.S. and British officials in early 2003, and he stated emphatically there were no weapons of mass destruction.

But the Bush White House had allegedly disregarded the facts at hand, in favor of its own version of the truth.

But there’s more. Suskind claims to have found former CIA officials who went on the record with their charge that the White House directed the CIA to write a fake letter that indicated 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had trained for the attack in Bagdad.

Of course the White House and those ex-CIA officials (including ex-director George Tenet) have vehemently denied such a letter was ever ordered.

That can be expected. It would have been earth shattering if the president held a news conference to say, “Yep, we’re liars. We made up that letter and that stuff about those weapons of mass destruction. But caution. I may not be telling the truth, even when I tell you we’re liars.”

Meanwhile, Suskind is making the media rounds claiming those people who’d gone on the record about that manufactured letter were being audio taped when he interviewed them. He sounds like he’s just itching to let all of us hear them.

At the same time, that war – you know, the one we started to eradicate those non-existent weapons of mass destruction from Iraq – has generated a new and uglier headline. The Iraqis are now stockpiling money.

While there’s a constant debate in this country about the cost of the war, the government in Iraq will have a $79 billion surplus by year’s end. Hardly any of that money is going to reconstruction.

That’s where you and I come in. While American tax dollars (48 billion of them) have been shipped to Iraq for the purpose of rebuilding the country, Iraqis are sitting on their own money.

That tidbit comes from the Government Accountability Office, which released a report that had been commissioned by two U.S. senators who were seeking, I think, to make your head spin.

And while it’s spinning, consider this: Most of that juicy little surplus sitting in the Bagdad treasury was built on the sale of oil.

Some of that oil was exported the United States of America from Iraq.

Those four dollars a gallon you’re paying at the pump, are, in part, helping to pay for the surplus that isn’t being spent, because Iraqis would prefer to spend our tax dollars.

That why when I hear John McCain speak in terms of “victory” in Iraq, I have to wonder if Iraq has already won, but we’ve already lost.