There is a bitter, all-out war ongoing inside the Bush Administration over war with Iraq – and, perhaps, even more.

We have all by now read of General Brent Scowcroft’s direct warning to his boss – and his best friend’s son – not to initiate a war with Baghdad.

That sentiment has been echoed, in various ways, by other long-time Team Bush members such as former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, present Mid-East envoy General Anthony Zinni and House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

But the No-War Group is up against a tough and determined opponent: the Pro-War Neocons (neo-conservatives) led why Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and his acolytes sprinkled throughout the executive branch. This group is guided – from outside the administration – by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who has seeded the White House staff with his followers and fellow believers. And Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle, a Reagan Administration veteran, is also a key player.

These two groups – the Pro-War and the No-War – are at war over the soul of the G.W. Bush Presidency.

And the winner of that war will determine the fate of the Bush Presidency.

But the Pro-War Neocons have a bigger agenda than merely “regime change” in Baghdad. They also want to depose the rotten Saudi Royal Family in Ryadh and go “to the heart” of terrorism: Saudi funding fueled by oil profits. And, while they’re at it, they’d like to permanently protect Israel by ‘de-fanging’ the Palestinians spewing suicide bombers on from the West Bank.

Here are the recent dots. Let’s connect them:

1) The ‘leak’ of the now-infamous Perle-led Defense Policy Board briefing by the Rand Corporation briefer who claimed Saudi Arabia is our enemy and we should seize their oil field and freeze their American bank accounts.

2) The sudden appearance - ten months after we took over Afghanistan - of a videotape showing the horrible gassing of a cute little dog.

3) The trillion-dollar lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by the families of some of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. This lawsuit, too, urges that Saudi assets invested inside the United States should be frozen.

4) The leaked stories about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War – twenty years ago.

5) The repeatedly leaked ‘reports’ of Saddam’s use of chemical and biological weapons should a war with the United States begin.

6) Israel’s dispensing antidotes and iodine pills – just in case Saddam launches Scuds again.

What do all these storied have in common?

They are clues into the war plans of the Pro-War Neocons. Their plan is not to merely take out the Ba’ath Party leadership in Baghdad; no, they intend to “do it all” in one fell swoop.

That means a simultaneous attack on Iraq and on Saudi Arabia. The Saudi oil fields will be seized, the Royal Family deposed, the oppressed Saudi people liberated from generations of tyrannical rule – and the money that greases world-wide terror attacks would be stopped on the spot.

Israel, too, may join this offensive by sweeping through the West Bank and Gaza and clean out all advocates of terror.

That is the Pro-War Neocons plan.

How to get such a war started?

Connect the dots! The gas we saw used on dogs is suddenly used by Iraq on some GI’s and when video is shown to the American people of our guys dying a horrible death you can bet there will be a firestorm of anger demanding immediate war with Iraq.

What if Iraq refuses to be baited into starting this war?

Well, the Gulf of Tonkin attack on the USS Turner Joy – if it really happened at all - was the result of repeated American provocation. We wanted to be attacked!

Could this be what the Pro-War Neocons are planning now?


Today I am using this column to endorse Sen. Bob Smith in his crucial GOP primary battle up in New Hampshire.

On Sept. 10 – just two and a half weeks from now – Bob faces off with Congressman John Sununu for the right to face Hillary clone, Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Keeping this seat is crucial for the GOP to recapture control of the Senate.

Bob Smith is a longtime friend of mine – mainly because we share the same belief that our own government has lied – and is still lying – about American POWs abandoned in Vietnam.

Quite frankly, Bob is the only U.S. senator to have the guts to fight for the POWs – while weasels like that wretched John McCain and that awful John Kerry were using the Senate Select Committee on POWs to cover up the truth about the POWs. What McCain and Kerry did was – and remains – one of the most disgraceful episodes in crooked government cover-ups – ever!

The so-called establishment – even the Republican establishment in D.C. – has had it in for Bob ever since. And now they think they can finish him off in this primary.

But, according to Fox News the other night, polls show Bob Smith "surging" – and the race is now a statistical dead heat.

So, knowing that, we can push Bob over the top – and maybe regain control of the Senate, too.

Please help Bob Smith – click to the front page of NewsMax and click the appropriate areas in my letter and make your donation now. Time is of the essence.

We can – and must – win this battle!

I have written a letter – available below or on the front page of NewsMax – asking fellow conservative Republicans to support Bob. If you can send a contribution to his campaign it may very well make the difference in which party controls the Senate for the next two years. You can donate by 'clicking' through on NewsMax – and the Smith campaign will have the money right away for use in crucial last-minute TV commercials.

Here is the letter:

The future of our country has often turned on the deeds of one man.

George Washington was one such man. Ronald Reagan was another. Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire is also such a man – making it imperative that we make sure he is re-elected.

Why is Bob Smith so important? For the past 18 years, he has carried the torch of Ronald Reagan and been one of the Congress' greatest champions of conservative values and our country's future.

As a result, he has been the target of the unremitting hatred of the liberals. In his last election, the liberal media actually declared his opponent the "winner" before all the votes were even cast!

Now – with conservative control of Congress at risk – the Daschle Democrats have pulled out all stops to get Bob Smith out and make sure Republicans don't take control of the Senate.

We can't let that happen. That's why Bob Smith is one of the few candidates for office editorially and officially endorsed by NewsMax.com. That's why I am urging you to help his campaign by Clicking Here.

We urgently need Smith in the Senate to continue to fight for our conservative values and our future.

Here is just a partial list of his accomplishments. In the Senate Bob Smith has:

  • Helped protect your job and business by taking on big labor and forced unionism, championing the Right to Work.

  • Fought hard to keep our military strong as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Bob has also been a leader in the fight to build a national missile defense system.

  • Fought tireless for your right to keep more of your own paycheck. Last year, Bob Smith ranked in the top percentile in the entire U.S. Senate by the National Taxpayers Union for protecting taxpayer dollars from government waste.

  • Fought for the rights of unborn children. Bob exposed on the Senate floor the horrors of partial-birth abortion, the sale of baby body parts, and he introduced a bill stating that life begins at fertilization and should be constitutionally protected from that moment on.

  • Uncovered how your tax dollars are being used to fund pornography in your children's schools. Refuting denial after denial by the Department of Education, Bob Smith brought the teaching materials used in public schools into the Senate chamber and placed them on senators' desks. Ironically, the materials were so vile and graphic that he was prohibited from showing them on camera in the Senate!

  • Fought for Elian Gonzalez's freedom. Bob Smith was the lone senator who stood by Elian's side (most of the time alone!) until then-President Bill Clinton violently removed him from his home and sent him back to Castro. (It has recently come to light that the INS and Justice Department knew that Elian's father had made a request to come to America to enjoy freedom with his son and the INS ignored his pleas and then covered it up – refuting the liberal media's claim that Elian's father wanted them to live in Cuba.)

  • Demanded a full accounting of our POWs. Many members of Congress are afraid to touch this issue, but Bob Smith has kept this issue alive.

Bob Smith has survived the vicious attacks of liberal critics and opponents, in election after election – in 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1996 – and was re-elected to fight again!

You can help Bob defeat the liberals in 2002 by Clicking Here Now.

Now in 2002 to get this conservative powerhouse out of the Senate and give the Democrats more votes, the liberals have made him their #1 target for defeat – and without our help they could well succeed:

Bob Smith is being challenged within the Republican Party by Congressman John E. Sununu, who says if he is elected, "New Hampshire will have a clear and consistent voice in the Senate and a senator that you can be proud of." I guess it is pretty clear how the congressman views Bob Smith's record.

New Hampshire has a late (Sept. 10) primary election, which means there will be less than two months to put together a campaign against three-term Democrat Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, who will be a tough opponent.

Shaheen is a Hillary Clinton ally and "poster girl" for Emily's List and will raise millions of dollars from that source as well as Clinton-Gore fund-raisers.
This is a recipe for disaster unless we do our part.

If we lose Bob Smith in the Senate, a powerful conservative voice will be silenced.

If Bob Smith loses, any chance of the Republicans regaining the Senate will be lost. Tom Daschle will continue to call the shots. Bob Smith urgently needs your help now – for sake of the future of our country.

You can help Bob Smith win re-election by sending $50 or more to the Bob Smith for Senate re-election campaign. Just CLICK HERE.

In closing, let me say I know you get hundreds of requests for money all the time. So do I!

But the stakes are so high. Please send whatever you can. If possible, please send $50 or more – a small price to pay to preserve the precious values in all we all believe in!

Never has there been a clearer choice. In Bob's last race the liberals pulled out all the stops, but Bob still managed to win by 15,000 votes – a significant margin considering Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton by 40,000 votes in New Hampshire during that same election.

This time every vote will count. Every donation will be critical.

Bob's primary election is just around the corner on Sept. 10, which means he needs your help today!

Please don't delay your support. Bob's primary election is days away and it takes time to buy media and advertising. Your donation today will help Bob air his last round of commercials and make sure that we conservatives again take control of the Senate.

Thank you.

Yours for America,

Hon. John LeBoutillier

Former U.S Congressman

P.S. Sen. Smith is our man. He has been endorsed by every major conservative leader – including Paul Weyrich, David Keene, Phyllis Schlafly and the NRA. He has received the endorsement and praise of President Bush and Rudy Giuliani. Recent polls show Bob is neck-and-neck with his opponent in the primary. Every vote will count. Every donation will count. Please help Bob Smith today by contributing to the Senate's true conservative!

Click Here Now to Help Bob Smith.

Thanks again for your help and support, and God bless America.


Gen. Brent Scowcroft was – and remains – the single closest aide and adviser to former President George H.W. Bush.

The Bush family is very tough on its aides and staff. The Bushes often demean staff verbally – the most famous line coming from the former president
once in the Oval Office to a staffer who offered conflicting advice: "If you're so smart, how come I'm president and you're not?" And the current President Bush canned his
chief speechwriter – the man who coined the "Axis of Evil" phrase – because in Bush World no one takes credit other than the president himself.

Scowcroft has survived this treatment and gone on to vacation with the Bushes every summer in Maine – and to co-author a foreign policy book with the former president.
That is how close he is to George H.W. Bush.

And he also has an official – and important – role in this administration. He is chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). As
chairman, Scowcroft has full security clearances and is up to date on the "latest intelligence" about Iraq – the very same information President Bush claimed would be his
motivating factor in determining a course of action.

So, when Scowcroft speaks, it is completely and totally with the permission of former President Bush. And to speak out against the policy of the very
president he now serves as head of PFIAB – thus risking being fired for his seeming disloyalty or insubordination – shows just how strongly the senior Bush and
Scowcroft are fighting against the son's policy

The recent public emergence of Scowcroft on CBS's "Face the Nation" and then on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal with a withering critique of President
George W. Bush's current 'rush to war' with Baghdad requires analysis:

Some pseudo Bush insiders claim it is the father's way of "sending a signal" to the son that "there is much dissent" about a war with Iraq.

Sending a "signal" to your son through the media? Is this what it has come to? How about picking up the phone and calling your son up?

No, the Scowcroft initiative is a sign of a much deeper problem: The son and his key aides – all of whom are younger – are dissing the father and his 'older' aides. In fact,
they are dripping with disdain for the father's failure to remove Saddam at the end of the Cold War.

Gen. Scowcroft was the National Security Advisor to former President Bush and counseled against finishing off the Saddam Hussein regime in 1991. He also
served under Henry Kissinger in the Nixon and Ford administrations and has always been a cautious and deliberate practitioner of 'realpolitik' – that type of thinking that
accepts the status quo and doesn't advocate sweeping changes.

Back in the first Bush White House, his deputy was Condoleezza Rice; she is now the National Security Advisor to this President Bush – and is the leading hawk on Iraq.

The truth about the 'Scowcroft Coming Out' is that there is a generational war going on between the two George Bushes and their staffs. The younger Bush thinks his father
lost his re-election in 1992 for two reasons: A) He raised taxes and thus alienated the Right; and B) he left Saddam in power and thus looked weak.

G.W. Bush has done everything not to repeat those two 'mistakes.' He was an early advocate of a massive tax cut – and refuses to even hear talk of repealing or
rolling back that cut. And he has proclaimed a "regime change in Baghdad' as the policy of "my administration."

Almost every article this summer about the present Bush White House contains disdainful comments from unnamed aides about the 'mistakes' of the father – and how the
son won't repeat them.

You can bet that really rankles Bush, the father, in Kennebunkport!

In other words, the son is saying, "I can do a better job than you did."

The irony is: G.W. never – ever – would have made it in politics if it were not for his father, his father's friends and advisers and his name. But now that he is "rocking
along with a 70 percent approval rating" – as Jim Baker once put it – G.W. Bush is dissing his father's policy and his father's advisers.

So the father – an intensely competitive man – is sitting up in Kennebunkport watching his son and his son's staff criticizing him!

Thus the Scowcroft campaign to try to stop the son's Baghdad operation.

Underneath it all must be a suspicion by the father and Scowcroft that they have created a political Frankenstein. They took 'W' – always called 'Junior' inside the family –
and made him into a second President Bush. And now that President Bush has become a FrankenBush – a political entity they can no longer control.


Yasser Arafat is a billionaire.


You shouldn't be. He is but one of dozens of foreign leaders who have ripped off U.S. foreign aid for their own personal fortunes.

That, by itself, is a disgrace.

But an even bigger disgrace is the fact that the United States government knows this – and does nothing about it!

For decades our foreign policy has included billions of dollars in foreign aid – and a large chunk of that is regularly siphoned off by corrupt leaders. We all remember the
Marcos regime in the Philippines. For years rumors swirled that Ferdinand and Imelda were living high off the hog – at U.S. taxpayers' expense.

But nothing was done about it – until photos and video were taken of the now-infamous closet with 3,000 pairs of her shoes adorning the massive shelves and floors.

Those pictures spelled the end for the Marcos family in the Philippines. Soon they were driven from power and forced to live in exile in Hawaii.

Imelda, of course, has proven how short memories can be, as she has returned to Manila and established her own political career. Apparently 'guilt' is not in her
vocabulary. While she lolls about in the lap of luxury – thanks to you and me – her fellow citizens literally crawl through garbage dumps scavenging for food.

This pattern is not confined to just Arafat and the Marcoses. For example, in the late 1980s and early 1990s Pakistan had its first-ever woman prime minister, the
Harvard-educated Benazir Bhutto. A longtime 'fave' of the first President George Bush, Prime Minister Bhutto (known as "Pinky" at Harvard during her anti-American phase) and her husband suddenly accumulated a staggering portfolio of properties. For example, they bought a gigantic English country manor and flew in
elaborate furnishings from all over the world. They also bought other houses and apartments.

All this at a time of huge U.S. aid to Pakistan.

When her husband was indicted for corruption, she claimed to know nothing about it. Yet to this day she maintains all the foreign residences – and somehow has enough
funding to maintain them.

Russia, too, has been the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. aid since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Writer Dominick Dunne has described a trip to visit friends a few
summers ago on the French Riviera. Seeing a fancy beachfront driveway guarded by scary-looking guards with machine guns, his host casually said, "Oh, yeah. That villa
belongs to Boris Yeltsin. And the one next to it is Putin's."

So the last two Russian presidents have side-by-side million-dollar villas in France? Again, at a time of unprecedented U.S. foreign aid to that country.

Dozens of corrupt African potentates have also ripped off our aid for their own personal use. The now-deceased president-for-life of Zaire, Gen. Mobutu Sese Seko,
was worth several billion – and owned mansions in Switzerland and France. He had dozens of relatives living in the fancy digs right up until his death. While he
certainly ripped off his own people, there is little doubt that he also stole millions from our always-generous aid.

The real scandal here is not that these corrupt leaders are stealing from the foreign aid, but that our own government knows it and does nothing about it.

Years ago I proposed to Fox News Channel that it do a special show on this, patterned on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” – entitled “Homes and Fortunes of the Corrupt and Crooked.” Lots of aerial photos of these ill-gotten mansions and villas, and reports on the secret Swiss and Cayman Island bank accounts.

Nothing was done.

But it is now time for U.S. taxpayers to know that their own government is tolerating – even allowing – this massive rip-off.


From 9/11 to the anthrax letters to a potential new war with Iraq, there is 'curious' behavior when it comes to Saddam Hussein. Let us look at a few unanswered

1) Is the FBI trying to "smoke out" Dr. Steven Hatfill by leaking detrimental information to the news media?

Clearly, after 10 months, the FBI is desperate to make some progress on the anthrax attacks of last fall. And, for some reason, they refuse to consider Iraq as a potential
suspect/instigator in these attacks. The Star and the National Enquirer – the first targets of anthrax letters – had had preliminary contact with Baghdad and suspected that the tainted letters actually came from Iraqi agents.

Plus lead hijacker Mohamed Atta showed up at a Florida pharmacy with a strange "skin condition" on his hands and was treated by the pharmacist. This came on the
heels of Atta and his fellow soon-to-be-hijackers twice visiting a crop-dusting airfield nearby and asking numerous questions about the efficacy of flying those specialized
planes, how much they could carry, how low, etc.

Could Atta's skin condition have been from handling anthrax spores?

Could Atta – just before setting off for Maine, Boston and the World Trade Center – been the man who mailed the first 'tainted' letters to the National Enquirer?

This crop-dusting airfield and the pharmacy were both within 15 miles of the headquarters of the National Enquirer.

How coincidental is that?

Indeed, could Atta all along have been an Iraqi agent – more than a mere disciple of Osama bin Laden?

Meanwhile, the FBI has been systematically trashing Dr. Hatfill and his girlfriend through orchestrated leaks about the bloodhounds searching their residences. Denying
any improper investigative techniques, the FBI merely claims Hatfill is a "person of interest" to them.

What a new term that is! A "person of interest."

Yet they show very little "interest" in the truth about Mohamed Atta's Prague visit with a senior Iraqi spy just five months before the 9/11 attacks. Why does part of the
Bush administration seem hell-bent not to implicate Iraq in 9/11?

2) Is – or was – Saddam Hussein on the CIA payroll? And does this explain the back-and-forth, the resistance – and the leaks – all designed to prevent a war with

Twenty years ago we were coming out of the hostage situation in Iran. When the Iran-Iraq war broke out, we were officially neutral. But everyone 'knew' that the Reagan
administration – and CIA Director Bill Casey – favored Saddam Hussein's Iraq. We were buddy-buddy with Saddam in those days; we hated the ayatollah and what he had
done to our once-staunch ally Iran.

In 1984, President Reagan dispatched a Mideast special envoy to meet with Saddam – Donald Rumsfeld. Within weeks we normalized relations with Saddam – despite his
well-publicized use of lethal gas on Iranian soldiers and civilians.

Could it be that at this time the CIA 'used' or 'hired' Saddam – just as for decades the CIA paid other leaders such as Jordan's King Hussein, the Shah of Iran and Manuel

And could it be that the CIA – or some other U.S. government entity – is protecting Saddam?

How else to explain the 1991 refusal to finish Saddam off at the end of the Gulf War? How else to explain the refusal now to recognize Saddam's potential role in
9/11? How else to explain the flurry of leaks each week to 'counter' new war plans against Iraq?

It sure seems like someone – or some agency – inside the United States government is out to protect Saddam Hussein's Iraq – while the rest of the government, including
President Bush, talks of getting rid of him and his regime.

Or is it possible that Saddam – from his years of secret dealings with the CIA – is now somehow blackmailing the CIA to protect him?

Yes, all this sounds 'wild.'

But so, too, does a plot to simultaneously hijack four jets at 8 a.m. and dive-bomb them into four huge buildings in New York City and Washington, D.C.

We need a proper investigation of our own government's secret dealings and arrangements with Iraq. From that may come the answers to these so far unanswered


The Stock Market Meltdown

What effect will this daily depressing news have on this November's crucial congressional elections? Lots! Because the bad news 'depresses' consumer – and voter – confidence. If consumers are scared to spend money, then that only accelerates the new economic slowdown. Yes, it is early August and the elections are still three months away. But the momentum that is building is all negative for the GOP. The perception is building that we are dipping back
into recession – and the party in power always suffers.

Iraq's Effects

The daily leaks and spins and pronouncements from within the Bush Administration are scaring the markets. How can they not? Fears of war – are we
having one, when, how big, how long will it last – are inherently destabilizing. Markets like stability. So, ironically, while G.W. Bush is trying to settle the markets he is actually roiling them.

Simon's Problems

California GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon's devastating judgment last week – to the tune of $87 million – for 'defrauding' a company has turned that once-promising race upside down. Stories abound about Republican supporters of Simon – shocked over this verdict – abandoning Simon and reluctantly supporting Gov. Grey Davis.

Please note the sentiment of a longtime reader and great friend who lives in Los Angeles: "Do you think Simon should have even run in the primary with that lawsuit
hanging over his head? ... a lot of my GOP activist friends are really upset ... none of us knew a thing about any pending litigation ... he really is dishonest and has done tremendous damage to the gop image here ... since his royal grayness manipulated the primary, i think he knew all about Simon. ..."

This astute political observer is referring to the fact that Davis spent $8 million during the GOP primary to defeat former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, who many thought would be a tougher general election opponent.

Still, the question remains: Should Simon have disclosed this pending litigation to the GOP?

Furthermore, his assets – 'independent businessman who has never run for office before' – now actually hurt his chances in November. With the massive corporate corruption being revealed every day, who trusts a businessman anymore?

And who will ever trust a man found guilty of defrauding a partner and punished to the tune of a whopping $87 million?

The Torricelli Verdict

Last week's Senate Ethics Committee finding that New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli had inappropriately accepted gifts from convicted felon David Chang has certainly hurt him in his race against GOP neophyte Douglas Forrester.

However, a disturbing element has crept into this race. Where is Forrester?

Since the day of the Ethics Committee's findings, Torricelli has bombarded New Jersey with a new TV commercial apologizing – and defending at the same time – his atrocious behavior. The New York and Philadelphia television stations are making a mint off this one buy.

But, strangely, Forrester is not on TV – at a time when New Jersey voters need to see him and become comfortable with him.

Ceding all the air time to Torricelli is a dangerous mistake. Instead, the GOP and Forrester should be presenting a mirror image of the sleazy Torricelli to Garden State voters.

What It All Means

As of today, the trends are bad for the GOP to retain control of the House and to regain the Senate. The bad economic and market news – plus the never-ending Iraq war talk – undoubtedly is hurting the Republican Party. Time is running out to reverse this trend.


Yesterday, a White House staffer – choosing to remain anonymous – told the Los Angeles Times that the White House was going to "be talking about" the Czech intelligence report that lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had secretly met in April 2002 in a café at the Prague airport with a top intelligence agent of Saddam Hussein

This staffer said the controversial report "holds up."

How pathetic.

Eleven months ago – just two days after the 9/11 attacks – the Bush administration shot down this report. The CIA and the FBI were adamant in refuting the Czechs – even calling the Czech prime minister a liar to the media 'on background.'

Czech intelligence – the BIS – is noted for its accuracy and meticulousness. They have never backed away from their certainty that Atta met with Al-Ani, the Iraqi agent they were tailing around Prague. When the 9/11 attacks happened, the BIS reviewed surveillance photographs they had taken and realized that the suddenly infamous Atta was the very man they had photographed in a secret meeting at an airport café just five months before the attacks.

The behavior by the Bush administration was shockingly arrogant, condescending and shameful. For some inexplicable reason, Team Bush had an agenda to discredit this report – and thus not to drag Iraq into the Sept. 11 orbit. In the process, they trashed a good ally.

But now, just when they are desperately searching for a rationale to attack Saddam, this unnamed White House "aide" confers credibility to this BIS report.

Well, guess what – it's too late!

The Bush administration cannot deny Iraqi complicity in 9/11 and then suddenly reverse course based on evidence it went out of its way to discredit!

And this comes just two days after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suddenly announces that Iraq and Al Qaeda have a 'relationship.'

Why haven't we heard about this for the past 11 months?

Clearly, Team Bush – having failed to convince skeptical allies of the necessity of a war – is trying to come up with something – anything – to justify a war on Baghdad.

Readers of this column know that from the very next day after 9/11, I was of the belief that Saddam was behind the attacks and used the fanaticism of Al Qaeda as a convenient "cutout" to hide Iraqi complicity. The morning of the attacks the administration was just too quick to proclaim Osama as the lone culprit; and they were too strong in their efforts to deny an Iraqi role in the attacks.

Why were they so eager to protect Iraq? That is something none of us know – but someday we may find out. It wouldn't be surprising (though it would be shocking) to learn something seemingly wild and off the wall, such as Saddam being on the CIA payroll for 20 years – since the Iraq-Iran war. That is a plausible scenario, as many other pro-American Middle East leaders were on the payroll, including the Shah and King Hussein. And Saddam was decidedly an American ally in the 1980s. Maybe this is why the administration is so split about whether or not to dislodge Saddam.

The FBI was brought in to discredit the Atta-to-Prague story by using Atta's credit card receipts and travel documents. Of course, they only told us there was no evidence – they never actually let us see what they have. In other words, our own government agents hide behind this now over-used 'national security' dodge to keep the truth from us while they work their own angles.

The bottom line is simple: The truth and the facts have been toyed with by the Bush administration just as the truth and the facts were toyed with by the accountants at Enron, WorldCom and so many other crooked businesses.

Trust – the currency of political power – is being frittered away by an administration desperate to remove Saddam from power and deeply divided about how to do so.

Instead of telling the truth 11 months ago about Iraqi involvement, Team Bush is now paying a price for its duplicity and lies.