President Bush’s decision to name Henry A. Kissinger (HAK to his friends) as Chairman of the 9/11 Investigating Commission, is a dirty deal for all concerned. This appointment smacks of all that is wrong ‘inside the DC beltway.’ Let us examine it from all sides:

1) HAK has never been close to the Bushes. Former President Bush had a long and difficult relationship with Kissinger dating back to the Nixon and Ford years. In those days, Bush was Ambassador to the United Nations, US Representative to China and then Director of Central Intelligence. In all three posts he was subservient to the all-powerful Kissinger. The two men each saw themselves as Mr. Foreign Policy Guru; and there is only one such guru needed in an administration.

By 1980 when Bush was running for president against Ronald Reagan, Kissinger was beside himself in agony that he would be “cut out” of a new Republican administration. He knew he would get nowhere with Bush because of their long-soured relationship and the Reaganites actually ran ‘against’ Kissinger’s detentist foreign policy.

In the spring of 1980 HAK confided to me that he had “no relationship whatsoever” with George Bush. He added, “I can get nowhere with him.”

To understand a creature like Kissinger you have to think the way he does. All he cares about is his public perception. His reputation and lucrative consulting business depend on the perception that he is close to the Oval Office. If foreign governments and companies think Henry can open doors for them, they’ll pay him big bucks. But if it’s known he is on the ‘outs’ with the present White House, then his income and business dry up.

This is the second Bush Administration in 12 years. That means HAK was not an ‘insider’ for Bush I plus eight years of Clinton followed by the prospect of eight more years of Bush II – all with Kissinger clearly ‘out of the loop.’ This was too much for the ever-hungry – and now 79 - Dr. Kissinger.

He would do anything to get back into the good graces of an Oval Office occupant.

And this 9/11 Chairmanship is the perfect, high-profile vehicle for Kissinger’s rehabilitation.

All he has to do is do what the Bush Administration wants. Remember, they fought long and hard against this commission, which the families have been pushing hard for. Clearly the Administration has things they do not want brought to light – perhaps about the Saudi Government’s true role in the 9/11 attacks or about our behind-the-scenes deals with the Taliban. Whatever they’re hiding, they want to make sure this commission will keep it hidden.

2) Why would the Bush White House pick someone – Kissinger – they have long despised? Because he is so desperate for publicity and Oval Office access that he will do whatever the White House wants!

Kissinger has no scruples and no morals whatsoever. He is a total conniver and prevaricator. He’d happily sell his soul – if he has one – to get back that previous image of Mr. Foreign Policy Guru and Mr. Insider.

This 9/11 Commission offers Kissinger what he wants – and what he needs. And all he has to do is protect White House secrets – something he has spent decades doing anyway.

3) The families of the 9/11 attack victims are all over the media praising the Kissinger selection. These poor people do now know the perfidy that comes from Kissinger. These families should go find the families of our Vietnam War POW’s and MIA’s – and ask them about the face-to-face lies Kissinger repeatedly told them while their loved ones were missing – and while Kissinger knew and hid the truth from these grieving wives and parents.

So there you have it: the Perfect DC Deal. Kissinger gets back on the front page while standing in the White House; the Bush Administration keeps ‘control’ of intelligence secrets about the 9/11 attacks; and the families believe a real investigation by a credible personage will take place.

Everyone wins – and only the truth and the American people get screwed.


Everyone has a weakness – a ‘soft underbelly’ – that can cause them big problems.

Presidents, too, have these ‘weaknesses’ which often cause their Administrations to falter or fail.

For example, Clinton has a major sex problem – and it will forever be his personal and political legacy.

Richard Nixon was paranoid about the Democrats again stealing a presidential election from him – after what Joe Kennedy, the Mob and Richard Daley did to him in 1960. Thus, he surrounded himself with loyalists who mirrored his paranoia. The result? Watergate.

Jimmy Carter was trained as a nuclear engineer and thus was too involved in details to grasp the bigger picture. Thus his presidency was ‘micro-managed’ to such a degree that Carter himself allocated time for staffers to use the White House tennis court! No wonder he failed to see the Big Picture of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of our ally, the Shah of Iran.

The greatest president of our time – Ronald Reagan – grasped the Big Picture better than anyone else. But he delegated too much power to too many underlings who ultimately had their own agendas. Thus came Iran-Contra – the only negative mark on Old Dutch’s eight years in the White House.

The first President Bush – and this President Bush, too – are going to share the same Achilles Heel: a dirty intelligence ‘underworld’ that has its own agenda – often at odds with stated public policy.

President Bush I, a former Director of the CIA, once called that post the “best job I have ever had.” His love for the CIA is mirrored by the CIA’s headquarters building being renamed the ‘George Bush Center for Intelligence.’ His son – clearly with the guidance of the father – has kept on as DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) George Tenet, the only Clintonite still in the same position. Bush I has given Associated Press an interview praising Tenet to the hilt. President Bush II spends more ‘face time’ with Tenet than any other president has ever spent with their DCI.

Meanwhile, all around us we are witnessing an ongoing series of intelligence failures – beginning with the inability to prevent 9/11 followed by our failure to capture Osama bin Laden.

Along with these two colossal screw-ups are a multitude of other related mistakes: our cover-up of Saudi Royal Family involvement in the 9/11 attacks and our inability to produce ‘hard proof’ of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) with which to convince the UN and our allies of the necessity to remove Saddam’s government. And this is not even to mention the very strange and “smelly” manipulation of the Czech intelligence report linking lead hijacker Mohammed Atta to Iraqi agents just five months before the 9/11 attacks.

The Bush Family loves the CIA – and they love the Saudis, too. Bush I is a partner in the Carlyle Group which has extensive affairs in Saudi Arabia – and has done business with the Binladen Group (Osama’s family’s business umbrella), too.

Many believe that our Intel Community is a “government unto itself” – and that our elected representatives are hopelessly naïve about what that community is up to. Personally I have witnessed the tip of this iceberg – including the amazing spectacle of the CIA placing their operatives ‘under cover’ on Congressional staffs and in other executive branch offices to spy for the CIA!

My guess is that Bush II has little idea of how deeply compromised the Executive Branch is by the CIA; his father knows, though. In fact, nothing goes on inside this government that Bush I is not aware of – or cannot find out about if he so chooses.

Today Bush II happily signs into law the Homeland Security Bill and names Tom Ridge as the first Secretary of that department. But any right thinking conservative should be aghast at what is happening: new laws designed to ‘track’ every American’s credit card purchases, easy monitoring of our internet activities and emails, a proposed Pentagon Department designed to “lie” to the media, and always even more money given to the CIA.

Meanwhile, no heads have rolled for these intelligence failures. In fact, those failures are glossed over and increased budgets are passed with no questions asked.

Prediction: this situation can not – and will not – stand. If anything is to undermine the present Bush steamroller, it will be something from the ‘Intel Underworld.’ Some incident – some lie or cover-up – will burst into the public eye and undermine everything publicly stated by Bush I or Bush II.

That is their Achilles Heel.


Let’s understand this: the United Nations adopts Resolution #1441 last Friday November 15 basically ordering Iraq to comply – or else.

A mere four days later – out of the blue – Osama bin Laden’s voice speaks to the world on an audio tape and threatens horrendous new terrorist attacks on western interests if indeed we attack Iraq.

The Bush Administration has told us for over a year that there is no known connection between Saddam and Osama. On the 9/11 attacks, Team Bush has adamantly denied any Iraqi connection – even though there is evidence linking the hijackers to Iraqi agents.

The Bush Administration went out of its way a year ago to discredit reports of a link. Why? We do not know.

In fact, there is substantial evidence linking Saddam to terrorist attacks – including the 1993 first World Trade Center bombing. Yet the Clinton – and now Bush – intelligence agencies (both led by George Tenet) stubbornly refuse to even consider that Saddam uses Osama as a ‘cut-out’ to do his dirty work for him – without leaving a Baghdad return address.

So now we have, on the verge of Saddam’s removal, these new threats – including one of a mysterious ‘spectacular’ attack – coming not from Saddam but from Osama.

What does this tell us?

Well, we would be naïve to believe that during the past few months of over-heated rhetoric coming from Team Bush about ‘shooting Saddam in the head,’ regime change, war and invasions that Saddam hasn’t been sitting in one of his Presidential Palaces plotting against us!

Can’t you just see him relaxing one evening with one of his mistresses, chomping on his favorite personally chosen elk burger, watching a video of the torture of one of his enemies and conjuring up some horrendous attack on America before America attacks him?

It is so obvious that this psychopathic murderer would not sit still while his international enemies move troops, planes and ships into position to remove him from power.

Do you think he would take that passively?


He’d hop on the phone – or however he securely communicates with Osama over in Pakistan – and initiate a new plan to attack the United States and the UN nations who supported resolution # 1441. Certainly Iraq, awash in oil cash, secretly funds Al Qaeda – just as they proudly pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The result of this plotting is yet to be seen. But, please, don’t tell us anymore that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein aren’t Partners in Anti-Americanism.

The problem we have is that either our Intelligence Community is incompetent, corrupt – or prohibited for political reasons from telling us the truth about the Saddam-Osama link.

And, until we, the American people, are told the truth about our enemies – and about our massive recent intelligence failures – we should not go into a war which is based on intelligence provided from those very same intel agencies.

We need to get to the root of our own intelligence problems before we do anything else.


The motivating factor in the Bush II Presidency is quite simple: not to repeat the mistakes that led to the defeat of Bush I in 1992.

The entire Bush Family has admitted that, according to Barbara Bush “1992 was the most painful experience of (our) lives.”

Thus, learning from his father’s White House mistakes, G.W. Bush – with his father running the show behind the scenes – ‘tweaked’ the election formula for 2000: W embraced a tax cut – as opposed to his father’s terminal flip-flop on his ‘Read My Lips’ pledge – and firmly planted himself inside the right wing of the GOP, thus forestalling any primary challenges from his right.

Now, heading into 2004’s reelection year, Team Bush wants the sequel to be better than the original.

In movies, the sequel is always a re-run of the original: In Rocky I an underrated and unheralded white boxer defeats a heavily favored champ; in subsequent Rocky movies – II-V – the same formula applied: Rocky, for a variety of reasons, was always the underdog – and then always overcame doubts to win.

Similarly, in the first JAWS, a killer shark terrifies a small coastal town. In the two subsequent JAWS sequels – both awful, by the way (sequels are never as good as the original) – the same thing happened: a killer shark terrifies a small coastal town until man kills it.

Bush I was simple: lousy economy and a War in the Middle East.

The result? Bush loses to Perot and Clinton – in part because the vote was split.

In the Tale of the Bushes, the big challenge is to have the sequel turn out differently - and for W to get re-elected.

So, looking at things strictly through a political spectrum, let’s analyze where we are – and how Team Bush makes Bush II, the Sequel fundamentally different from the original Bush I.

Mistake Number One of Bush I was having the Gulf War end too early. In March of 1991, President George H.W. Bush scored an unprecedented 91% approval rating. That is even higher than his son’s ratings immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

But eighteen months later, that President Bush was only able to garner 37% of the vote!

What happened?

The recession took hold and eroded his once-soaring popularity. The Gulf War victory faded into the recesses of our memories as the bad economy became “the issue, stupid.”

Plus, Pat Buchanan in the GOP primaries and then Ross Perot in the general election, eroded Bush’s support from his right flank.

Exactly why Perot ran in 1992 will be discussed at length here in another column. Suffice to say that Perot had been dissed by Bush over a very emotional issue and the little Texan vowed revenge.

So, in sum, Bush I was: a Mid-East War, a recession and an angry third party candidate who split the vote.

Bush II – so far: a Mid-East war (the War on Terror), a recession – with perhaps yet another dip back into recession looming - and an imminent new war against Saddam.

Team Bush risks repeating the mistakes of Bush I if they whack Saddam now. Such a war – and its undoubtedly successful conclusion – will be ancient history by November 2004. Any political gain – and please remember this column is to discuss strictly the political analysis of these moves - will have been long dissipated by the next Presidential election.

The better course would be to hold off, let the inspection sham go forward and then in the late spring or early summer of 2004
go to war against Saddam.

That way the 2004 elections will be dominated by Bush vs. Saddam – not by Bush vs. a Democrat nominee.

Furthermore, such a war could – unlike the father’s predicament - mask the recession.

That is what is seems like today. Of course everything can – and will – change a hundred times by 2004. You may recall that Bush I seemed so certain to be re-elected in 1992 that most major Democrats decided not to run that year, thus clearing the way for a young southern governor that few thought could win. But the recession – and Perot’s siphoning of 19% of the vote from Bush – made Bill Clinton the President of the United States.

Bush II, the Sequel needs to be careful that they don’t repeat the mistakes that cost the first President Bush his re-election. Otherwise, 2004 could be another “worst year of their lives.”


Anyone who witnessed Senator John Kerry’s aggressive performance yesterday on the Sunday morning Talking-Head TV shows saw him play the veterans card - and play it heavily.

Recalling his own Vietnam War record, Kerry was infuriated over last week’s trouncing of triple-amputee, Vietnam hero Senator Max Cleland in Georgia. “That is not going to happen to me,” boasted Kerry. “Veterans all across this nation are ready to come to my defense.”

Ironically, it was Kerry who, a decade ago during his chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA’s, led a delegation to Vietnam to “inspect” a suspected POW camp.

That proved to any objective watcher that ‘inspections’ are a total sham – whether they are in Iraq or in Vietnam. Why? Because anyone can hide anything anywhere.

The Vietnamese knew Kerry’s delegation was coming – with tons of media in tow for the ever-ambitious senator – and they steered the inspection away from an underground section of the prison.

When Kerry declared the complex ‘clean’ of US POW’s, it is very likely that dozens of American POW’s were in fact mere feet away from the visiting delegation. (Subsequent defectors and others released from that very camp have since revealed what went on that day.)

Similarly, in Iraq, the UN inspectors will be snookered, lied to, and led astray. As Fred Barnes said on Fox Friday night, “this UN process is the real quagmire.”

Do you recall those classic scenes from World War II movies where the ‘inspecting’ International Red Cross fools come to check on the condition of Allied POW’s in Nazi POW camps? Inevitably, the following occurred: weeks before the inspections, the German guards feed the otherwise-emaciated POW’s to fatten them up, then issue them clean clothes and new blankets. Then they usher in the Red Cross visitors to show off these model POW’s – and their wonderfully humane conditions.

Once the Red Cross visitors have left – happily ready to tell the world how wonderful the Germans are – the new clothes, new blankets and increased rations are removed. The POW’s go back to the horrible conditions they were used to.

That is what ‘inspections’ are all about – in Iraq for weapons or in Vietnam for present-day US POW’s.

A total sham and a complete farce.

Saddam is chuckling his way through the new UN resolution. He is totally evil – and as such he can find the weak points in what seems to be a tough plan to ‘disarm’ Iraq. He will dodge and weave – all the while stashing his best weapons where no one would even think to look – including in the Iranian mountains to his east (where he stashed his Air Force during the Gulf War).

The UN resolution does not call for inspectors to inspect Iranian territory.

Furthermore, any Iraqi personnel who might be inclined to cooperate with UN inspectors will be ‘removed’ from the scene before the inspectors can ever even find them.

Saddam is no fool; he knows that the United States is aiming right at his regime. If he goes too far over the line, we will wipe him out. Period. But, short of that, he can maneuver these UN inspectors into proclaiming Iraq to be “in compliance” by the end of February – and thus eliminating the United States’ rationale for war. Furthermore, he can then make the argument - what he has really been after for 11 years - to have the UN lift the sanctions that are crippling his economy.

That is his real goal.

Team Bush – so desirous to wipe the Iraqi regime off the map – has fumbled and argued and talked this issue to death. Instead of expanding the Mohammed Atta-in-Prague link to Baghdad, they denied it. So now, after having claimed they would ‘never’ go to the UN, Team Bush is allowing the UN to decide whether Saddam stays or goes.

The betting here is that, once again, the UN will coddle a dictator.


Last night was a spectacular celebration of Reagan Republicanism – with a Bush Twist. Coming from a longtime Bush critic, let me say: they did a wonderful job in winning the Senate back and re-electing Jeb in Florida.

Team Bush did a masterful job running what should have been a losing midterm election. But they used all their resources wisely – and the President really went to bat for the GOP.

Now comes the Big Question: with all the power in Republican hands what do we do with it?

Politically, let’s be simple: if the economy is in good shape in 2004 then President Bush and the GOP will look great. But if the economy is bad – and the national mood is ‘down’ and ‘sour’ and pessimistic - then we will get creamed in 2004. Because we now control the whole ball of wax, we are either going to get all the credit or all the blame.

So it is clear: we have to get the economy rolling – and fast!


1) Eliminate – totally – the Capital Gains Tax. Such a move would re-energize a lagging stock market and also juice up the soon-to-falter real estate market. Yes, the liberals will attack this move – but they’ll attack anything we do anyway. The key is to do something - and hope you are rewarded by 2004’s election with a good economy to run on.
2) Accelerate the 2001 tax cuts to help prime the pump.
3) Anything else to jump-start the economy. It is doubtful that 9/11 or removing Saddam can mask a bad economy for another two years.

Other thoughts from yesterday:

1) Kennedy Dynasty Over: How sweet it is! Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s defeat in Maryland means the Kennedy Dynasty is finished. Good riddance.

2) Speaking of Dynasties: First, the Bushes have replaced the Kennedys as America’s political royal family. There are others, too. Just look at yesterday’s winners: a new John Sununu on the national scene, a new Senator Dole, a new Governor Romney, a new Senator Pryor. Indeed, a well-known family name really helps.

3) Clintons are Losers: Virtually everywhere Bill and Hillary campaigned, their candidates lost. Plus their hand-picked DNC Chairman, Terry McCauliff, has to get the blame for the Democrats’ disastrous performance. Maybe the Clinton Dynasty – while not over – is at least damaged, eh?

4) Beware the Unexpected: Giddy with triumph, many Republicans see clear sailing to W’s certain re-election in 2004. Indeed, that may happen. But you never know what can and will happen. What looks certain today may look very differently in six months.

One thing is certain: events yet to come will change our views of what will happen in the next two years.


No column today - sorry - but I have to wait until tomorrow's results come in. Like you, I am anxiously awaiting the excitement of Election Night!

I'll have a new piece up on Wednesday morning analyzing the results. And another Thursday or Friday once the later results come in.

Hope you have fun Tuesday night taking it all in!


Secretary of State Colin Powell’s announcement on Wednesday afternoon that an agreement inside the UN Security Council was very likely – and that such a ‘deal’ would mean a ‘delay’ of several months before a US attack of Iraq could possibly occur – means that Saddam has gotten away with it.

When President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Condi Rice met early Wednesday morning in the White House with Chief UN Inspector Hans Blix, they were agreeing to a UN inspections process that buys Saddam months for hiding, stalling and obfuscating. Furthermore, this ‘process’ puts the decision-for-war time past the desert winter, when US troops clad in chem weapons gear are best suited to fight.

This UN arrangement caps what has been one of the worst run American efforts to rally American – and world - public opinion – ever.

From the get-go, Team Bush had derided the UN and the inspections process as being a total sham. Well, now they have signed on to it!

Saddam must be cackling with delight. He – and American-haters inside the UN – have bought months of extra time for Saddam to hide and move his weapons. Don’t be surprised if he has secreted these labs and stockpiles inside the neighboring mountains of Iran and Syria – knowing full well that UN inspectors can’t and won’t be asking to go there. (There is precedent for this; during the Gulf War, Saddam flew most of his air force into the mountains of Iran. And Vietnam constantly has moved living US POW’s across the border into Laos to avoid problems.)

Furthermore, Team Bush has also agreed with Hans Blix that Saddam will need even more than an initial 30 days to compile a list of all his present weapons of mass destruction - as if we would ever believe anything his government says anyway. But Blix, the UN and Team Bush are going to let Saddam have all this extra time – ostensibly to make this list – but in actuality to further hide his stuff.

Meanwhile, here at home, the Bush White House has botched this thing from the minutes after 9/11. Why did they trash the Czech intelligence report linking Mohammed Atta to the Iraqis? Had they gone along with that report, they could have – right from the start – linked Saddam to Osama and gone after both with total world and UN support! Baghdad – along with Afganistan – could have been obliterated with nary a peep out of anyone!

Instead, the War on Terror has been confined to Al Qaeda – and Team Bush has spent the last seven months trying to convince a reluctant world that now Saddam, too, is a threat. Yet the more President Bush talks about it, the less the American people are buying it. All public opinion polls show that support for a war against Iraq has declined by more than 10% in the past two weeks.

What a disaster it has become.

Powell – always against taking out Saddam – led the charge in the 1991 Gulf War against pursuing the Iraqi Republican Guard back into Iraq. He – along with former President Bush – allowed Saddam to remain in power.

As Secretary of State he opposed this new war against Iraq – also right from the start. Now he has convinced Bush and Cheney and Rice to accede to the United Nations. Soon hundreds of inspectors will be traipsing all over Iraq. They will find nothing! And as long as they are there they will serve inadvertently as ‘human shields’ for Saddam. He knows full well that as long as they are inside Iraq, the US cannot and will not initiate an attack.

Thus we now face an amazing reality: Saddam may now remain in power and even outlast a second President Bush.