The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
Freshman Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio appears to put in the rain during the Bryan Regional of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Traditions Golf Club on Monday, May 6, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M’s season wraps up with 3-0 loss to UCLA in NCAA quarterfinals
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 21, 2024

The Texas A&M women’s golf team’s habit of struggling to close out matches led to the closing of its season on Tuesday, May 21, with...

Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

O’Neill offers revealing look at Bush’s agenda

The stakes in the 2004 election just got higher. For years, Republicans have downplayed Democratic critics of President George W. Bush as whiners whose complaints are grounded in ideological differences the neo-conservative generation can easily overcome. But now, the Democrats have the allegations of a cabinet member – ousted for his moral convictions – on their side.
As the frenzied election orchestrators gear up for the Iowa send-off, one book hitting the market this month has sent shockwaves through the tainted political heart of America. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind exposes a deep vein of horse-in-blinders, one-track-mind thinking inherent in the Republican presidency in his book “The Price of Loyalty,” a left-leaning look at Bush and his administration told like a true D.C. drama: through the eyes of a fired party member.
Former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill was removed in late 2002 from his role in Bush’s cabinet and on the pivotal National Security Council after he refused to publicly support Bush’s second round of tax cuts, claiming the cuts would widen the deficit and endanger social programs.
In Suskind’s book, O’Neill says the president’s first security council meeting centered on Saddam Hussein and how to affect a regime change in Iraq. O’Neill, citing hundreds of documents he made available to Suskind, claims Bush’s leadership allowed for no free flow of ideas.
The president was like “a blind man in a roomful of deaf people,” O’Neill says in the book. But even more telling for Democrats as the primaries polarize their constituencies around ideals, O’Neill says Saddam was topic “A” on the president’s conservative laundry list. The game plan for ousting the leader with a peacekeeping force, tribunals for war crimes and a plan for dividing Iraq’s oil, were items on the table by the second security council meeting in February 2001 – seven months before Sept. 11.
If this is true, the war in Iraq, which the public should realize by now wasn’t based on a search for weapons of mass destruction, is rendered entirely groundless. It wasn’t to find non-existent weapons and it had nothing to do with hunting down terrorists that in early 2001 had yet to fully manifest themselves. Following the president’s nominal win under the auspices of nine Supreme Court justices, many had it that Bush would beat up on his father’s aggressor. The lack of a clearly-defined reason for war hinders Bush’s ability to be frank with his public.
The airwaves emanating from 24-hour news networks were jammed last week with the voices of Democrats explaining their newfound vindication for their long-maligned opposition to the war and to naive tax cuts in the face of a mounting national deficit. Republicans sounded out just as often, but with the muted tones of people accustomed to defending their party’s leadership. The Crossfire-types and their Fox News compatriots have adopted the ne’er-do-well, disgruntled former employee argument: of course O’Neill would back talk the president who had him fired, the Republican refrain goes. But that’s as far as the response makes sense.

“O’Neill paints a picture of a president gunning for aggression against Saddam long before the time-warp that has catapulted the country to non-questioning acceptance of war.”

O’Neill paints the picture of a president gunning for aggression against Saddam long before the time warp that has catapulted the country to blind acceptance of war and infringed civil liberties since Sept. 11. The war in Iraq is a botched misuse of the U.S. military might and an arrow through the heart of peace-loving Americans. Iraq is a turning point that drew most Democrats and liberals out of the closet and into the blinking reality that their president was leading them into a misplaced war of revenge, though on who, for what and why remains noticeably absent from pro-war arguments.
O’Neill tells about his and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s opposition to the tax cuts that most easily benefited wealthy Americans, explaining that when he voiced his concerns about another round of cuts, Vice President Dick Cheney quieted his complaints with an off-handed insult to the American voting public. “We won the mid-term elections, this is our due,” Suskind reported Cheney as saying. Shortly after the conversation, Cheney fired O’Neill.
It is this thinking, that the Republicans have taken from their election a mandate to lead the country at will, that forms the basis of Democratic front-runner and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s campaign. When Dean expressed doubts in December that the capture of Saddam would make America a safer place, a conservative outcry predicted doom for Dean’s presidential hopes. But as the security threat assessed by Homeland Security and the Pentagon was upgraded to orange just in time for Christmas, Dean was sitting pretty.
Fellow Democratic contenders carry the ball further with the O’Neill revelations. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark said Suskind’s book “just confirms my worst suspicions,” The Washington Post reported. Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, stubs his toe coming up against the hardest fact of O’Neill’s claims: “It would mean they were dead set on going to war alone since almost the day they took office and deliberately lied to the American people, Congress and the world.”
Both sides have a point. But in the court of public opinion, apathy reigns. As when Bush’s government finally admitted it could not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and liberals were cheered that they had been right to question the country’s leadership, the loudest voice in this equally important matter will be the suffocating refrain heard then: who cares?
Americans have too long pushed the politics that guide them out of sight and out of mind. The founding fathers questioned the legitimacy of those in a position of authority over them and from that conflict birthed an American spirit of debate and an unalterable concept of the rights of the governed.
But in the 21st century, that spirit is flagging. Instead of facing the gun down the barrel, Republicans are side-stepping their way to power and using simple-minded arguments to keep their hegemonic hold on the country.
“Who cares” is not the average American’s response to allegations of abuse of power in the upper tiers of government, but rather the answer ideological Republicans have provided. One may decide he does not care, but in the battleground that is the United States in the year of an election, one better be sure.
-Sommer Hamilton is a senior journalism major.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *