Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush/Cheney

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 19, 2006; A01

The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled.

Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."

Adelman, a former Reagan administration official and onetime member of the Iraq war brain trust, is only the latest voice from inside the Bush circle to speak out against the president or his policies. Heading into the final chapter of his presidency, fresh from the sting of a midterm election defeat, Bush finds himself with fewer and fewer friends. Some of the strongest supporters of the war have grown disenchanted, former insiders are registering public dissent and Republicans on Capitol Hill blame him for losing Congress.

A certain weary crankiness sets in with any administration after six years. By this point in Bill Clinton's tenure, bitter Democrats were competing to denounce his behavior with an intern even as they were trying to fight off his impeachment. Ronald Reagan was deep in the throes of the Iran-contra scandal. But Bush's strained relations with erstwhile friends and allies take on an extra edge of bitterness amid the dashed hopes of the Iraq venture.

"There are a lot of lives that are lost," Adelman said in an interview last week. "A country's at stake. A region's at stake. This is a gigantic situation. . . . This didn't have to be managed this bad. It's just awful."

The sense of Bush abandonment accelerated during the final weeks of the campaign with the publication of a former aide's book accusing the White House of moral hypocrisy and with Vanity Fair quoting Adelman, Richard N. Perle and other neoconservatives assailing White House leadership of the war.

Since the Nov. 7 elections, Republicans have pinned their woes on the president.

"People expect a level of performance they are not getting," former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in a speech. Many were livid that Bush waited until after the elections to oust Rumsfeld.

"If Rumsfeld had been out, you bet it would have made a difference," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said on television. "I'd still be chairman of the Judiciary Committee."

And so, in what some saw as a rebuke, Senate Republicans restored Trent Lott (Miss.) to their leadership four years after the White House helped orchestrate his ouster, with some saying they could no longer place their faith entirely in Bush.

Some insiders said the White House invited the backlash. "Anytime anyone holds themselves up as holy, they're judged by a different standard," said David Kuo, a former deputy director of the Bush White House's faith-based initiatives who wrote "Tempting Faith," a book that accused the White House of pandering to Christian conservatives. "And at the end of the day, this was a White House that held itself up as holy."

Richard N. Haass, a former top Bush State Department official and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said a radically different approach to world affairs naturally generates criticism. "The emphasis on promotion of democracy, the emphasis on regime change, the war of choice in Iraq -- all of these are departures from the traditional approach," he said, "so it's not surprising to me that it generates more reaction."

The willingness to break with Bush also underscores the fact that the president spent little time courting many natural allies in Washington, according to some Republicans. GOP leaders in Congress often bristled at what they perceived to be a do-what-we-say approach by the White House. Some of those who did have more personal relationships with Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld came to feel the sense of disappointment more acutely because they believed so strongly in the goals the president laid out for his administration.

The arc of Bush's second term has shown that the most powerful criticism originates from the inside. The pragmatist crowd around Colin L. Powell began speaking out nearly two years ago after he was eased out as secretary of state. Powell lieutenants such as Haass, Richard L. Armitage, Carl W. Ford Jr. and Lawrence B. Wilkerson took public the policy debates they lost on the inside. Many who worked in Iraq returned deeply upset and wrote books such as "Squandered Victory" (Larry Diamond) and "Losing Iraq" (David L. Phillips). Military and CIA officials unloaded after leaving government, culminating in the "generals' revolt" last spring when retired flag officers called for Rumsfeld's dismissal.

On the domestic side, Bush allies in Congress, interest groups and the conservative media broke their solidarity with the White House out of irritation over a number of issues, including federal spending, illegal immigration, the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, the response to Hurricane Katrina and the Dubai Ports World deal.

Most striking lately, though, has been the criticism from neoconservatives who provided the intellectual framework for Bush's presidency. Perle, Adelman and others advocated a robust use of U.S. power to advance the ideals of democracy and freedom, targeting Hussein's Iraq as a threat that could be turned into an opportunity.

In an interview last week, Perle said the administration's big mistake was occupying the country rather than creating an interim Iraqi government led by a coalition of exile groups to take over after Hussein was toppled. "If I had known that the U.S. was going to essentially establish an occupation, then I'd say, 'Let's not do it,' " and instead find another way to target Hussein, Perle said. "It was a foolish thing to do."

Perle, head of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board at the time of the 2003 invasion, said he still believes the invasion was justified. But he resents being called "the architect of the Iraq war," because "my view was different from the administration's view from the very beginning" about how to conduct it. "I am not critical now of anything about which I was not critical before," he said. "I've said it more publicly."

White House officials tend to brush off each criticism by claiming it was over-interpreted or misguided. "I just fundamentally disagree," Cheney said of the comments by Perle, Adelman and other neoconservatives before the midterm elections. Others close to the White House said the neoconservatives are dealing with their own sense of guilt over how events have turned out and are eager to blame Bush to avoid their own culpability.

Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative at the American Enterprise Institute, said he is distressed "to see neocons turning on Bush" but said he believes they should admit mistakes and openly discuss what went wrong. "All of us who supported the war have to share some of the blame for that," he said. "There's a question to be sorted out: whether the war was a sound idea but very badly executed. And if that's the case, it appears to me the person most responsible for the bad execution was Rumsfeld, and it means neocons should not get too angry at Bush about that."

It may also be, he said, that the mistake was the idea itself -- that Iraq could serve as a democratic beacon for the Middle East. "That part of our plan is down the drain," Muravchik said, "and we have to think about what we can do about keeping alive the idea of democracy."

Few of the original promoters of the war have grown as disenchanted as Adelman. The chief of Reagan's arms control agency, Adelman has been close to Cheney and Rumsfeld for decades and even worked for Rumsfeld at one point. As a member of the Defense Policy Board, he wrote in The Washington Post before the Iraq war that it would be "a cakewalk."

But in interviews with Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and The Post, Adelman said he became unhappy about the conduct of the war soon after his ebullient night at Cheney's residence in 2003. The failure to find weapons of mass destruction disturbed him. He said he was disgusted by the failure to stop the looting that followed Hussein's fall and by Rumsfeld's casual dismissal of it with the phrase "stuff happens." The breaking point, he said, was Bush's decision to award Medals of Freedom to occupation chief L. Paul Bremer, Gen. Tommy R. Franks and then-CIA Director George J. Tenet.

"The three individuals who got the highest civilian medals the president can give were responsible for a lot of the debacle that was Iraq," Adelman said. All told, he said, the Bush national security team has proved to be "the most incompetent" of the past half-century. But, he added, "Obviously, the president is ultimately responsible."

Adelman said he remained silent for so long out of loyalty. "I didn't want to bad-mouth the administration," he said. In private, though, he spoke out, resulting in a furious confrontation with Rumsfeld, who summoned him to the Pentagon in September and demanded his resignation from the defense board.

"It seemed like nobody was getting it," Adelman said. "It seemed like everything was locked in. It seemed like everything was stuck." He agrees he bears blame as well. "I think that's fair. When you advocate a policy that turns bad, you do have some responsibility."

Most troubling, he said, are his shattered ideals: "The whole philosophy of using American strength for good in the world, for a foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based, I don't think is disproven by Iraq. But it's certainly discredited."


Dick Cheney Totally Hates You
That shirt? Those shoes? Your kids? Hates 'em, and everything else about you, too. Can you feel it?

- By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, November 3, 2006

That shirt you're wearing right now? Chances are, Dick Cheney hates it. That car you drive? Thinks it's for whiny un-American pansies. The fact that you've probably eaten tofu and wear designer shoes and have actually had sex while standing up? Pervert heathen traitor to the real America, Dick thinks. He hates that.

Some days, Dick has trouble counting all the ways in which he hates you, the world, life. Some days, he hates the fact that there are not enough hours in the day for him to count the ways in which he hates you and all you probably stand for. This makes him sad. Which he also hates.

It is a question often asked these days: Whence comes all this dark, dank feeling in America? Why does all seem tainted and soiled and lost lo these past years? When did simply being an American turn so dour and gray, like someone poured gasoline into a big glass of Sunny Delight? Here, I firmly believe, is a great portion of your answer.

It has become a national pastime, of sorts, listing all the things and all the events and all types of people -- liberals journalists prisoners suspects foreigners Democrats moderates animals environmentalists trees pacifists 'Nam vets women clean air -- Dick Cheney hates every single day. Even Republicans are a little taken aback by the length of the list.

Recently, this dark pall has become even more evident. Cheney's trademark hate spewed forth all over the media, like smoking black roof tar, when he appeared Fox News and claimed that the insane, increasing violence in Iraq between the Sunni and Shiite militias, the groups who are now killing each other and killing U.S. soldiers and causing havoc as a result of our failed invasion and failed puppet government and failed foreign policy, these vicious militias are killing even more right now because, well, because they read DailyKos.com.

And also, Truthout. And the New York Times. And this very newspaper.

In other words, Dick Cheney believes these radicals read lots of American liberal media and therefore understand that our midterm elections are upon us and that almost every Republican warmongering jackal is on the ropes, and if they increase their attacks it will only make Republicans look even worse than they do all by themselves -- which is, of course, already bad enough.

This is what Dick actually said. Why is the Iraq war deteriorating so horribly? Because Republicans are suffering. And the terrorists have it in for the GOP because the GOP fights for freedom and love and soft warm puppies, and terrorists hate that mushy stuff! This is what Dick wants Fox viewers to believe -- despite how, of course, years of insane GOP warmongering have given the world's terrorists everything they could've ever dreamed.

It's true. The terrorists of the world, including Osama, would love nothing more than 20 more years of Dick 'n' Dubya, if only to encourage more global instability, to rile more foreign resentment against BushCo's increasingly self-righteous, insular, vicious United States.

In other words, the terrorists love Dick. He and Dub and the World's Worst Administration have made for the greatest recruitment campaign in terrorist history. And man, does Dick hate that.

Yes, Dick hates your understanding of these ideas, your automatic recoil at his idiotic statements. He hates the fact that you know, when he comes out in support of torture and the "no-brainer" dunking of prisoners, that he's merely kowtowing to the last remaining lowest-common-denominator voting bloc of the GOP, the gun-totin' kill-'em'-all flyover-state fundamentalists who are, in their way, little different than the Taliban.

He knows you know. It doesn't matter. Because he hates them, too. "Dumbass vermin," he doubtlessly muttered, just under his breath, as the Fox cameras clicked off. Then he just chuckled.

In fact, it is very easy to go so far as to say that Dick Cheney hates his own boss and president, George W. Bush. Can you not tell?

Oh sure, Dick enjoys how tractable and malleable George is, how easily Dick can get his own nasty agenda items across and how he is often considered the "real" president, the most influential and draconian VP of all time. That makes him feel good, despite how good feelings are complete BS and make him suspicious as hell, which he hates.

But deep down, Dick secretly hates the fact that George is such an easily manipulable dink. And if there's one thing Dick hates, it's dinks.

Now, you might say, I do not like all this talk of hate. You might say, I do not like the fact that you talk about the vice president as hating me, my life, everything I stand for, even the life force itself. It all sounds so very ... hateful.

This is understandable. It is not a comfortable feeling. It is not something in which anyone but Dick Cheney likes to wallow for very long. But it must be noted here, because perhaps more than any other single human in recent history, Dick Cheney has brought the emotion of hate into the forefront of our national consciousness. He has made it our top agenda item, our most defining characteristic, the thing which we let spread around us, like a cancer. Karl Rove might've been BushCo's master architect, but Cheney provided all the nails.

But now, the good news. If Dick's hate of all things life-giving and positive and peaceful has been, in fact, some sort of enormous cosmic test, the thing we had to survive most, perhaps even more than Dubya's embarrassing, inarticulate bumbling, then it appears we have succeeded. Or rather, we're beginning to. The GOP is down to its last stockpiles of bilious gunpowder. The homophobia and the fearmongering now seem transparent and childish. The desperation is palpable and acrid. The beast is slumping, slowly, meanly, angrily back to its cave.

What, then, happens to all that built-up hate? What of that feeling that has, for so long, festered in the American heart, planted there by Dick in the hopes that it would spread and tumesce and keep us bitter and knee-jerk and reactive and controllable for decades to come?

Well, perhaps now, with the crumbling of the pseudo-fascist GOP empire, is when a bizarre transmogrification can occur. Now is maybe when the switch can be flipped and the poles can reverse and the hate actually implodes in on itself, burning us all clean. Or, you know, a little less dirty, which, at this point, is a damn good start.

In other words, maybe now is when we can once again begin to embrace those things, those ideas and those candidates and those clothes and those sexual positions and those nuances and those shoes and those books and those institutions that lie in direct opposition to Dick Hate.

It is, after all, a simple law of the universe: The more you love the vibrant and defiant and independent-minded gobs of this life, the more those things that are not those things will simper and shiver and wail.

See? It's already happening. Look closer at that Fox footage. Dick looks lost. He looks deadened. He looks, well, more than a little desperate. And man, Dick really hates that.

Which is, of course, a very good sign indeed.


UN watchdog: $22 mln missing in Iraq contracts

Mon Nov 6, 2006 9:20pm ET

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - An audit of 15 noncompetitive contracts paid for by U.S. government agencies with Iraqi oil money was unable to account for $22.4 million in funds, a U.N.-led watchdog said on Monday.

The audit by KPMG, ordered by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, or IAMB, said in some cases Iraq did not receive goods, there were "unreconciled payments" and there was no evidence that steps were taken to fix previously reported problems.

The contracts varied, from oil pipeline security, police and military training, printing of the new Iraqi currency to the purchase of vehicles and food.

"In view of these findings, the IAMB recommends that the Iraqi government seek resolution with the U.S. government concerning the use of resources of the (Development Fund for Iraq), which might be in contradiction with the UN Security Council Resolution 1483," the board said in a statement posted on its Web site.

The IAMB, which also includes officials from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, was created by the U.N. Security Council in 2003 to oversee the use of Iraqi oil money while the country was under an interim U.S. administration.

The watchdog's mandate expires at the end of December and its last meeting is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11-12.

Meanwhile, the IAMB also said an audit by Crowe Chizek accounting firm that looked at Iraq contracts between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Halliburton Co. (HAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root were found "to be reasonable."

"The audit reviewed the findings of earlier audit reports by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and found that the conclusions reached by the DCAA were supported by the underlying accounting and auditing records," the IAMB said.

But the audit noted that transportation costs incurred by the Halliburton unit for fuel supplies to Iraq between May 2003 and March 2004 were very high, in some cases as much as 86 percent of the total contract costs.

"The IAMB continues to question the reasonableness of these costs and the adequacy of the administration contracts," it said.

The Texas-based Halliburton, formerly run by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, has drawn scrutiny for its work in Iraq, where it was the biggest U.S. military contractor.


Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office


Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.

Mr. Bowen’s office, which began operation in January 2004 to examine reconstruction money spent in Iraq, was always envisioned as a temporary organization, permitted to continue its work only as long as Congress saw fit. Some advocates for the office, in fact, have regarded its lack of a permanent bureaucracy as the key to its aggressiveness and independence.

But as the implications of the provision in the new bill have become clear, opposition has been building on both sides of the political aisle. One point of contention is exactly when the office would have naturally run its course without a hard end date.

The bipartisan opposition may not be unexpected given Mr. Bowen’s Republican credentials — he served under George W. Bush both in Texas and in the White House — and deep public skepticism on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war.

Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who followed the bill closely as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that she still does not know how the provision made its way into what is called the conference report, which reconciles differences between House and Senate versions of a bill.

Neither the House nor the Senate version contained such a termination clause before the conference, all involved agree.

“It’s truly a mystery to me,” Ms. Collins said. “I looked at what I thought was the final version of the conference report and that provision was not in at that time.”

“The one thing I can confirm is that this was a last-minute insertion,” she said.

A Republican spokesman for the committee, Josh Holly, said lawmakers should not have been surprised by the provision closing the inspector general’s office because it “was discussed very early in the conference process.”

But like several other members of the House and Senate who were contacted on the bill, Ms. Collins said that she feared the loss of oversight that could occur if the inspector general’s office went out of business, adding that she was already working on legislation with several Democratic and Republican senators to reverse the termination.

One of those, John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who is chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that Mr. Bowen was “making a valuable contribution to the Congressional and public understanding of this very complex and ever-changing situation in Iraq.”

“Given that his office has performed important work and that much remains to be done,” Mr. Warner added, “I intend to join Senator Collins in consulting with our colleagues to extend his charter.”

While Senators Collins and Warner said they had nothing more than hunches on where the impetus for setting a termination date had originated, Congressional Democrats were less reserved.

“It appears to me that the administration wants to silence the messenger that is giving us information about waste and fraud in Iraq,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat who is the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform.

“I just can’t see how one can look at this change without believing it’s political,” he said.

The termination language was inserted into the bill by Congressional staff members working for Duncan Hunter, the California Republican who is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and who declared on Monday that he plans to run for president in 2008.

Mr. Holly, who is the House Armed Services spokesman as well as a member of Mr. Hunter’s staff, said that politics played no role and that there had been no direction from the administration or lobbying from the companies whose work in Iraq Mr. Bowen’s office has severely critiqued. Three of the companies that have been a particular focus of Mr. Bowen’s investigations, Halliburton, Parsons and Bechtel, said that they had made no effort to lobby against his office.

The idea, Mr. Holly said, was simply to return to a non-wartime footing in which inspectors general in the State Department, the Pentagon and elsewhere would investigate American programs overseas. The definite termination date was also seen as helpful for planning future oversight efforts from Bush administration agencies, he said.

But in Congress, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle, there have long been accusations that agencies controlled by the Bush administration are not inclined to unearth their own shortcomings in the first place.

The criticism came to a head in a hearing a year ago, when Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, induced the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, Thomas Gimble, to concede that he had no agents deployed in Iraq, more than two years after the invasion.

A spokesman for the Pentagon inspector general said Thursday that Mr. Gimble had worked to improve that situation, and currently had seven auditors in Baghdad and others working on Iraq-related issues in the United States and elsewhere. Mr. Gimble was in Iraq on Thursday, the spokesman said.

Mr. Bowen’s office has 55 auditors and inspectors in Iraq and about 300 reports and investigations already to its credit, far outstripping any other oversight agency in the country.

But Howard Krongard, the State Department inspector general, said that the comparison was misleading, because many of those resources would probably flow to State and the Pentagon if Congress shuts Mr. Bowen’s office down.

“I think we are competitive to do what they ask us to do,” Mr. Krongard said, referring to Congress.

Mr. Kucinich and other lawmakers said that Iraq oversight could also be hurt by the loss of Mr. Bowen’s mandate, which allows him to cross institutional boundaries, while the other inspectors general have jurisdictions only within their own agencies. Mr. Krongard said that issue could be handled by cooperation among the inspectors general.

Officials at the State Department and the Pentagon made it clear that in general terms they supported Mr. Bowen’s work and would abide by the wishes of Congress.

While the quality of Mr. Bowen’s work is seldom questioned, he is sometimes accused of being a grandstander who is too friendly with the news media. Mr. Bowen has responded that it is standard procedure to publicize successful investigations as a way of discouraging other potential wrongdoers.

Among the disagreements on the termination language in the defense authorization bill was exactly how much it would have shortened Mr. Bowen’s tenure. An amendment in the Senate version of the bill actually expanded the pot of reconstruction money his agents could examine.

Because the tenure of his office is calculated through a formula involving the amount of reconstruction money in that pot, the crafters of that amendment figured that it would have extended Mr. Bowen’s work until well into 2008 — or longer if Congress granted further extensions.

Mr. Holly agrees that the Senate language would have expanded that pot of money, but he says that in the Republican staff’s interpretation of the formula, Mr. Bowen’s tenure would have run out sometime in 2007 whether the money was added or not.

In any case, as the bill came out of conference, the termination date of Oct. 1, 2007, was inserted, effectively meaning that Mr. Bowen would have to start working on passing his responsibilities to other agencies by early next year.

Capitol Hill staff members said that after House Democratic objections were overridden, Senate conferees agreed to the provision in a bit of horse-trading: the amount of money Mr. Bowen could look at would be expanded, but only with the hard termination date.

Mr. Bowen himself declined to comment on the controversy surrounding his office, saying only that he was already working with the other inspectors general to develop a transition plan in accordance with the defense authorization act. “We will do what the Congress desires,” Mr. Bowen said.