Much to chew on from Bob Woodward's latest; the most interesting (and potentially sickening) to me is the contention that Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the corrupt public face of one of the world's crappiest dictatorships, was informed about the Bush Administration's decision to go to war before Colin Powell was. Excerpt:
So on Saturday, Jan. 11, Cheney invited Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador, to his West Wing office. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were also there.
Prince Bandar had served during four American presidencies. At age 53, Bandar was almost a fifth estate in Washington, amplifying Saudi influence and wealth. He insisted on dealing directly with presidents and is almost family to Bush's father, former president George H. W. Bush. And he had maintained his special entree to the Oval Office under this President Bush. [?]
"You can count on this," Rumsfeld said, pointing to the map. "You can take that to the bank. This is going to happen."
Two days later, Woodward reports, Bandar's old racquetball partner Powell was briefed by President Bush. Today, Condi Rice has been issuing heated denials:
"It's just not the proper impression that somehow Prince Bandar was in the know in the way that Secretary Powell was not. It's just not right. Secretary Powell had been privy to all of this. He knew what the war plan was."
In other Bandar/Wooodward news news:
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, promised President Bush the Saudis would cut oil prices before November to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day, journalist Bob Woodward said in a television interview Sunday.
In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" about his new book "Plan of Attack" on the Bush administration's preparations for the Iraq war, Woodward, a senior editor at the Washington Post, said Prince Bandar pledged the Saudi's would try to fine-tune oil prices to prime the U.S. economy for the election—a move they understood would favor Bush's re-election.