Only Removing Cheney
Will Avert War and Dictatorship
by Jeffrey Steinberg
On March 2, speaking before an assembly of international diplomats and others in Berlin (see Feature), Lyndon LaRouche reiterated his warning that the Bush Presidency is doomed unless George Bush dumps Vice President Dick Cheney immediately. In recent polls, Bush's own approval ratings had crashed to 34%, while Cheney's approval was barely 18% of Americans, following his recent attempts to cover up his role in the shooting incident at a Texas ranch during a quail hunt, and mounting evidence that he was the kingpin of the Valerie Plame leak conspiracy.
On Feb. 26, LaRouche had warned that Cheney would move aggressively to sabotage the Russian-Iranian nuclear deal, which was announced earlier that day. Cheney has been the Bush Administration architect of plans to carry out air strikes, possibly using nuclear weapons, against a dozen sites in Iran, allegedly housing nuclear weapons facilities. Last August, Cheney had pushed for the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) to work up contingency plans for such attacks, and he revived the push for military action against Iran in recent months, through efforts to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council after March 6. Cheney's mad schemes for "regime change" in Tehran have so far been resisted by the U.S. military command, and by saner elements inside the U.S. State Department and the intelligence community. Nevertheless, as long as Cheney remains on the job, the threat of such an attack will be a live proposition.
Underscoring Cheney's personal role in pushing a perpetual war in the Persian Gulf, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in a highly unusual move, issued a public statement on March 1, in English, urging Cheney to drop his mad plans for military strikes against Iran, reporting that he had personally warned the U.S. Vice President of the consequences of such attacks, when they met in Cairo in January. "I said to him, word for word, 'Listen to my advice for once,'" Mubarak told Reuters and Arab News. "If an air strike took place [against Iran], Iraq will turn into terrorist groups more than it is already. The Gulf area has Shi'ite majorities in many of the states, and America is linked to vital interests in this area and has naval facilities. Iran spends generously on the Shi'ites in every country and these people are prepared to do anything if Iran is hit."
How Bad Does It Have To Get?
The collapsing public support for the Bush Presidency took another hit on March 2, when the Washington Post published a front-page story on AP's release of video footage of a conference call with President Bush and Federal and state disaster relief officials last August when Hurricane Katrina hit. The video revealed that the President had been fully informed about the magnitude of the catastrophe from the moment that the storm hit land along the Gulf Coast. Yet the Administration failed to take any adequate action for at least 48 hours, and the President later claimed ignorance about the seriousness of the disaster.
Sources tell EIR that the details of the video conference call were passed to Associated Press by former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who was fired by President Bush and has subsequently accused the White House of "scapegoating him" for failures that actually took place at the White House itself, and at the Office of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff. A White House report on the Hurricane Katrina failures, prepared by White House emergency management czar Frances Townsend, whitewashed the Administration and cast blame everywhere but with Chertoff and Bush.
Such colossal failures have deeply hit the American public, prompting a bipartisan group of legislators and policymakers to conclude that Bush must take some emergency action to save his Presidency. A housecleaning, they say, is urgently needed—and the starting point must be the Vice President.
A series of recent news leaks underscore that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is amassing a devastating case that the Vice President was the kingpin of the Valerie Plame leak scheme. On Feb. 24, journalist Jason Leopold reported on the Truthout web journal, that Fitzgerald had obtained 250 pages of e-mails from Cheney's office, showing that the Vice President lied when he told the Special Counsel in a 2004 interview that he had no knowledge of Ambassador Joe Wilson or his wife, Valerie Plame. The e-mails reportedly show that a "Get Wilson-Plame" campaign was launched out of Cheney's office, under his personal supervision, in March 2003—even prior to the invasion of Iraq. If Leopold's account is accurate—and the White House provided the 250 pages of material to Fitzgerald—this may indicate that some in the Oval Office are concluding that Cheney is an albatross that must be dumped over the side.
EIR's own sources report that Special Counsel Fitzgerald is in no rush to nail the Vice President, and is planning to re-interview Cheney sometime shortly after the November 2006 midterm elections. However, the sources say that the evidence is already in hand, that Cheney lied to the Special Counsel.
Leopold's article in the March 1 edition of Truthout reports that the damning e-mails were discovered "from computers that investigators had confiscated from the Office of the Vice President." Sources said that "unnamed senior officials in Cheney's office had deleted some of the e-mails before Fitzgerald learned of their existence earlier this year, and others never turned them over to Gonzales as requested. Also there are some e-mails that Gonzales has refused to turn over, citing 'executive privilege' and 'national security.' "
Leopold further reports that the e-mails turned over earlier in February were written by senior aides to Cheney and sent to various officials at the State Department, the National Security Council, and the Office of the President. The e-mails also show that Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Karl Rove, Stephen Hadley, John Bolton, and other top officials in Cheney's network took part in discussions about ways to discredit Joe Wilson's public criticism.
To make matters worse, during his recent TV interview with Fox News' Brit Hume, the Vice President revealed that he had been given extraordinary authority from President Bush to classify and declassify documents. Such authority is not part of the Vice President's Constitutional role. Cheney revealed the March 25, 2003 Executive Order in the Hume interview, in response to a question about grand jury testimony by his former chief of staff Scooter Libby, that "higher ups" in the Administration had ordered Libby to leak classified material justifying the Iraq invasion. Libby's grand jury testimony was released as part of pre-trial discovery motions in his perjury trial, which is not scheduled to begin until January 2007.
What Cheney revealed in the Hume interview, however, has to be taken deadly seriously. The Vice President, on behalf of his Synarchist controllers, is determined to exert Hitlerian "unitary executive" powers over the U.S. government, using President Bush as a cover. The only way to avoid global war and U.S. dictatorship, is not to play electoral games, but to get him out of office now.