Highlights of This Page
Voter News Service founded. Harken Oil contracts to drill in Persian Gulf. George W. Bush breaks insider trading laws in unloading Harken stock. US government gives Saddam Hussein green light to invade Kuwait. US falsifies evidence that Iraq is preparing to attack Saudi Arabia. Iraq invades Kuwait; Bush responds with "Operation Desert Shield." US falsifies evidence that Iraqi troops murdered Kuwaiti babies; the global outcry legitimizes US military escalation in Kuwait. David Souter joins Supreme Court. Rabbi Meir Kahane assassinated.
Election fraudVNS is the outgrowth of a number of exit polling organizations that have worked with the television networks since 1972, though it can be traced back in some form or fashion as far back as 1964. VNS is used as a single source for exit poll information and vote result predictions by ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, and the Associated Press, and is funded by these organizations. Before 1990, each organization had its own polling service, but due to heavy budget cuts in all five news outlets, the organizations decided to pool their resources. "The VNS would become the single source of polling data for all the networks and the AP," writes eminent journalist Marvin Kalb. "If the source was right, everyone was right; if the source was wrong, everyone was wrong." VNS, like its predecessor News Election Services, is kept very quiet, and consistently refuses to divulge its budget or its methodologies to outside inquiries. VNS results will be relatively reliable in the 1992 and 1996 national elections, before its budget is again slashed. Insiders at VNS warn of quality loss and possible disaster, but their warnings are ignored. In 2000, during the extremely close presidential election, VNS will twice predict wrong results in Florida, first for Gore and then for Bush, leading the networks to make faulty predictions, confusing the public, and precipitating a political crisis that would ultimately lead to the election being decided by the Supreme Court. In 2002 VNS will attempt to use a computer designed by an outside contractor to accurately predict Congressional race outcomes; a system failure prevents this from happening. Because of these two high-profile failures, VNS will be disbanded in January 2003. For the 2004 presidential elections, a new organization called the "National Election Pool" will be set up by the same organizations, utilizing consultants Edison/Mitofsky for exit polling and the Associated Press for official returns. However, the NEP will have controversies of its own that year when it releases exit polling data early that is significantly different than the final results, leading many to believe that the 2004 presidential election, like the 2000 election, may have been stolen.
Islamist terrorismLeo Bolvin, who headed the program, recalls that while the CIA and State Department were cooperative, "the FBI effectively said no -- that it wasn't going to happen." In 1996, after the crash of TWA Flight 800 (now believed by many to have been an al-Qaeda operation), Vice President Al Gore will call again for closer liasons; the FBI will refuse to give the FAA's security officer a building pass that would permit him unfettered access to the FBI's headquarters. According to the FBI, they would tell the FAA anything they determined the FAA needed to know. Even after 9/11, the FBI will continue to buck having an FAA security officer in its ranks, and will try to get rid of the FAA's liason man because he is "too pushy about trying to get information." Additionally, the cost-conscious airlines will successfully lobby against implementing many of the security recommendations made by the Gore commission, including more stringent security checks on airline employees and tighter screening of passenger baggage. Former FBI director William Webster, who served under presidents Carter and Reagan, will serve as the airlines' chief lobbyist. As a result, the airlines will remain vulnerable to hijacking until after 9/11, when the newly created Transportation Security Administration takes over security for airlines. Even then, bureaucratic infighting keeps the most basic security guidelines from being successfully implemented. (Seymour Hersh)
Domestic terrorismIn 1976, Bosch caused the explosion of a Cuban airliner which killed 73 passengers. He is also believed to have been involved in dozens of other terrorist bombings. Bosch, who carried out his attacks in the name of opposing Fidel Castro, was convicted of entering the US illegally and was facing deportation to Cuba. The FBI maintained that Bosch had "repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death." The Justice Department denied an application for asylum in 1989, saying, "For thirty years Bosch has been resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence. He has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death." Bush's own Attorney General had called Bosch "an unreformed terrorist." Cuban-Americans and other Republicans in Florida agitated for his release; Jeb Bush, who was busy building a political power base that included that element, prevailed upon his father to release Bosch from prison. Two years later, he will be granted permanent residence in the US. (Jeb Bush is joined in lobbying for Bosch's release by, among others, Otto Reich, George W. Bush's rejected nominee as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs.) Bosch now lives in luxurious exile in Florida. (Salon, US House of Representatives, Joe Conason)
Adnan KhashoggiThe charges are brought by New York Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani, who apparently has a personal score to settle with Khashoggi after Khashoggi defeated Giuliani's client John Tumpane in a business lawsuit. After a long and heated court battle, during which time Khashoggi was forced to stay in New York City under house arrest, the jury acquits Khashoggi of all charges. According to a former Army intelligence officer, Giuliani gets the indictments filed after months of effort by threatening George Bush that if he doesn't stop blocking the indictment, that he will call a press conference and complain that the White House is interfering with the criminal justice system merely to protect Bush's friend Khashoggi. (Larry Kolb)
US actions in Latin AmericaMany international observers believe that the election was illegally manipulated by US intelligence. (Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Larry Kolb)
Gulf Warbut is overruled by President Bush, who says it is in America's "national interest" to continue aiding Iraq. Shortly after, a Voice of America broadcast terms Iraq a police state; James Baker directs Ambassador April Glaspie to personally apologize to Saddam Hussein, an apology echoed by GOP senator Robert Dole. (New American)
Bush familybut is given such a light sentence that he drops his appeal. He and his former firm is fined $26.5 million, a fine paid by Republican fundraisers. (Bushwatch, Austin Chronicle)
George W. Bush and Harken OilAccording to Greg Palast, "The petroleum guys here [Midland, Texas] laugh at the idea that Bush's company Harken got the Bahrain deal because of their skill -- it was solely the Gulf Arabs way of buying their way into the son of the President of the United States." An insider to the deal says, "Hell, that's why he's on the damn board. ...You say, 'By the way, the president's son sits on our board.' You use that. There's nothing wrong with that."
Bush familyBush defaulted on the loan in 1988, and will eventually pay it off at less than 10 cents on the dollar. He will call himself "a victim of cirtumstance." (Village Voice, Bushwatch, Mother Jones)
Fall of Soviet UnionIn the subsequent violence, over 130 Azerbaijanis die. Defense Minister Dimitri Yazov states that the use of force in Baku is intended to prevent the de facto takeover of the Azerbaijani government by the noncommunist opposition, to prevent their victory in upcoming free elections (scheduled for March, 1990), to destroy them as a political force, and to ensure that the Communist government remained in power. A Human Rights Watch report states: "Indeed, the violence used by the Soviet Army on the night of January 19-20 was so out of proportion to the resistance offered by Azerbaijanis as to constitute an exercise in collective punishment. Since Soviet officials have stated publicly that the purpose of the intervention of Soviet troops was to prevent the ouster of the Communist-dominated government of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the nationalist-minded, noncommunist opposition, the punishment inflicted on Baku by Soviet soldiers may have been intended as a warning to nationalists, not only in Azerbaijan, but in the other Republics of the Soviet Union. The subsequent events in the Baltic Republics -- where, in a remarkable parallel to the events in Baku, alleged civil disorder was cited as justification for violent intervention by Soviet troops -- further confirms that the Soviet Government has demonstrated that it will deal harshly with nationalist movements." Azerbaijan will win its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. (January 20.net)
Gulf WarAdditionally, triggering devices for nuclear weapons -- apparently purchased with funds from the BNL -- were seized on their way to Iraq by the British. By April, the violations of the Agriculture Department's CCC program loans were blatant enough to call a halt, but State prevailed upon Agriculture not to announce the suspension. Agriculture balks until National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft intervenes and the last $500 million guarantee was put on hold without being announced -- a suspension that Ambassador April Glaspie was attempting to have lifted as late as the end of July. Bush administration officials are not the only ones cozying up to Hussein. In April, liberal Democratic senator Howard Metzenbaum, on a visit to Iraq, tells Hussein that "I am now aware that you are a strong and intelligent man, and that you want peace." GOP senator Alan Simpson on the same trip was little better: "I believe that your problems lie with the Western media and not with the U.S. government." GOP senator Robert Dole, after apologizing for the VOA's criticism of Hussein, visits Hussein and then tells President Bush that Hussein is "a leader to whom the United States can talk." (New American)
Middle East unrestPeres fails to form a coalition with a variety of religious groups, and eventually Shamir is able to regain the Prime Minister slot as head of a Likud-based government. The entire period of internal turmoil is studded with violent attacks against Israeli targets by the PLO. (Dan Cohn-Sherbok)
Iran-Contra scandalin the Iran-contral trials. (Federation of American Scientists)
Ahmad ChalabiChalabi is sentenced to 22 years in prison, but will not return to Jordan to serve his sentence. (Mother Jones)
George W. Bush and Harken OilA week later, Harken's report will announce a quarterly loss of $23.2 million. Less than two weeks later, Saddam Hussein's Iraq will invade Kuwait, rendering Harken's oil contract with Bahrain virtually worthless. (The oil deal between Kuwait and Harken is fascinating: Kuwait had terminated negotiations with Amoco, an expert in Gulf drilling, to sign with Harken, who had never worked outside of Texas, at the recommendation of Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh, a Harken board member who worked the deal through his connections with BCCI. The deal was cemented with the help of several influential Republican friends of the Bush family, particularly Charles Hostler, a San Diego real estate mogul recently named ambassador to Kuwait by President Bush. The financing itself came in large part from the billionaire Bass family of Houston, a clan long known for its support of GOP and rightist business clients.) Harken's stock plummets in value from $4.12/share, where it was when Bush sold off his stock, to $2.37 a share. Bush denies any knowledge of inside information that might have led to his stock dump, though he sits on Harken's board of directors, on its audit committee, and on a panel looking at corporate restructuring which had met in May with financial consultants from Smith Barney. As a member of Harken's audit committee, he is in a prime position to know about the Bahrain contract and the upcoming "corporate restructuring," which will essentially gut the company's finances due to its attempt to hide substantial losses through selling a subsidiary through several channels back to itself, a deal the Securities and Exchange Commission will later term a "phony transaction;" Bush will be accused of insider trading and stock fraud.
Islamist terrorismThough Abdul-Rahman is on a terrorist watch list, his entry is undisputed. A CIA-trained veteran of the Afghan wars, Abdul-Rahman has always proclaimed his ultimate intention of working to overthrow the governments of the United State and Egypt, is known to have been involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat, and is known to be a close colleague of Osama bin Laden. He sets up shop in New York City, and immediately begins setting up a terrorist network, with bin Laden partially footing the bill. Abdul-Rahman's involvement in the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane is ignored by US authorities. One FBI agent says in 1993, he is "hands-off.... It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country. He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA, and the CIA." An Egyptian official claims, "We begged America not to coddle the sheikh." Egyptian intelligence warns the US that Abdul-Rahman is planning new terrorist attacks, and on November 12, 1992, terrorists connected to him machine-gun a busload of Western tourists in Egypt. But still he lives freely in New York City until his arrest in 1993 for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing, for which he is convicted. (CCR)
Iran-Contra scandala grant which was recognized in court even though North repeatedly lied to Congress. (Federation of American Scientists)
Gulf WarWe have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait. ...We know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your other threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship -- not confrontation -- regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait's borders?" Hussein answers that he intends to try to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Kuwait; Glaspie asks what solutions Hussein would find acceptable. Hussein wants to keep the entire Shatt al Arab [a strategically important waterway] under Iraqi control, and if given that, he is willing to make concessions to Kuwait. However, if he has to give up some control of the Shatt, he will renounce all control in favor of bringing Kuwait back under Iraqi dominion. Glaspie replies, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America." Reportedly Hussein takes this as a green light from the US to proceed with the invasion.
Gulf War"Has the United States sent any type of diplomatic message to the Iraqis about putting 30,000 troops on the border with Kuwait? Has there been any type of protest communicated from the United States government?" Tutwiler responds, "I'm entirely unaware of any such protest." This is a direct contradiction of the meeting between Ambassador Glaspie and Hussein the day before. (Iraq History and Culture)
Gulf Warthat the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the US has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq." When Kelly is asked, " If Saddam invades Kuwait, do we have any treaty with Kuwait?" Kelly replies, "No, we don't." (Iraq History and Culture, Buzzflash)
Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"Lay's government connections apparently help Enron land a lucrative British contract for energy development, the first ever awarded to an outside corporation; John Wakeham, Britain's secretary of state for energy, later becomes an Enron board member. Other contracts soon follow, including the $2.9 billion Dabhol power plant in India; the Dabhol plant's tremendous unpopularity among the Indian people would be one of the factors contributing to Enron's demise. (Kevin Phillips)
Gulf Warit is put on hold and eventually cancelled.
Gulf WarBush expresses shock over the "surprise" invasion, even though Iraq had been threatening to invade and take over the northern oil fields of Kuwait since 1989, the US military had been wargaming responses for the past six months, and US ambassador April Glaspie had given Hussein tacit permission to invade in April. Interestingly, the US military was in the middle of a huge wargame exercise called "Internal Look" on the day that Iraq moved into Kuwait. Bush begins organizing a multinational coalition to seek Kuwait's freedom and restoration of its legitimate government. The UN Security Council authorizes economic sanctions against Iraq. UN Resolution 660 calls for Iraq's full withdrawal from Kuwait. Unbeknownst to the world's media outlets, Iraq's Saddam Hussein negotiates with Israel to withdraw from Kuwait if Israel and Syria will withdraw from Lebanon, and if Israel will withdraw troops from the occupied territories. The PLO's Yasser Arafat declares his organization's support for Saddam Hussein, believing that the US would not intervene and the situation will be resolved by diplomacy between Arab nations. After Iraq's defeat in April 1991, the PLO finds itself disconnected from the Arab nations who joined the US-led coalition to defeat Hussein. Large numbers of Palestinian workers will be expelled from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and many Palestinians in Kuwait are the target of revenge attacks. Many Palestinians flee to Jordan, which is already swollen beyond capacity with refugees from Iraq. Bush justifies the deployment of American troops to Saudi Arabia by saying, "Our nation now imports nearly half the oil it comsumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence." Defense secretary Dick Cheney, a veteran oil executive, warns that once Iraq has gained control of Kuwait, Hussein "would be in a position to be able to dictate the future of worldwide energy policy, and that [would give] him a stranglehold on our economy." It is obvious that the concerns over oil are driving American foreign policy.
Gulf WarIn support, the Pentagon releases reports of satellite photos purporting to show 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks massing at the Iraqi-Saudi border. The US warns that Iraq is threatening to invade Saudi Arabia. After the Pentagon refuses to release the actual photos, media outlets find other satellite photos of the same region and the same time frame, and find that no Iraqi troops are anywhere near the Saudi border. But the proof that the allegations of Iraqi threats to Saudi Arabia come too late; the original false allegations help sway Congressional and public opinion towards invasion of Iraq. Months later, the US media reveals that the commercial satellite photos from the same time period show no such troop buildup on the Iraq/Saudi borders, and the photos shown to the Saudis by Powell and the State Department are later proven to have been doctored. Journalist Jean Heller later writes, "That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist." (Christian Science Monitor, A Timeline of Oil and Violence, Asia Times)
Gulf War230,000 American troops arrive in Saudi Arabia to take defensive action, but when Iraq continues a huge military buildup in Kuwait, the President orders an additional 200,000 troops deployed to prepare for a possible offensive action by the U.S.-led coalition forces. (MidEast Web, FactMonster)
Gulf WarUN Resolution 661 imposes economic sanctions on Iraq. (BBC)
Gulf WarLater documents prove that the US would have likely allowed Iraq to keep the northern Kuwaiti oil fields, but had no desire to see Iraq completely occupy Kuwait, make the country a part of Iraq, and gain access to the Persian Gulf. (A Timeline of Oil and Violence>
Gulf WarHussein offers to leave Kuwait if Israel will withdraw from Palestine and Syria will withdraw from Lebanon. Both countries, along with other members of the anti-Iraq coalition formed by the US and UN, repudiate this offer. (MidEast Web)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPThe story is repeated all over the globe, and is used by the Bush administration to whip up public support for a punitive invasion of Iraq. In 1992 the story is proven to be completely false, a fabrication created by the American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton on assignment from a group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The group is led by Craig Fuller, who was Bush's chief of staff during the Reagan administration. H&K dedicates 119 executives in 12 offices across the country to the job of drumming up support within the United States for the 1991 war, orchestrating an all-out PR blitz which includes distributing tens of thousands of "Free Kuwait" T-shirts and bumper stickers at colleges across the US and setting up observances such as National Kuwait Day and National Student Information Day. H&K also mails 200,000 copies of a book titled The Rape of Kuwait to American troops stationed in the Middle East. The firm also massages reporters, arranging interviews with handpicked Kuwaiti emissaries and dispatching reams of footage of burning wells and oil-slicked birds washed ashore. After convening a number of focus groups to try to figure out which buttons to press to make the public respond, H&K determines that presentations involving the mistreatment of infants receives the strongest reaction.
"Everything which the Arab reality offers that is generous, open and creative is crushed by regimes whose only anxiety is to perpetuate their own power and self-serving interest. And what is often worse is to see that the West remains insensitive to the daily tragedy while at the same time accommodating, not to say supporting, the ruling classes who strangle the free will and aspirations of their people." -- Moroccan writer Abdellatif Laabi, September 5, 1990
Gulf Warfrom Kuwait if Israel will withdraw from Lebanon and the occupied territories. Gorbachev wants to agree to the proposal, but Bush refuses. (Dan Cohn-Sherbok)
George W. Bush(David Corn writes, "The Rangers franchise became so valuable partly because the city of Arlington, Texas, raised local taxes and condemned private property in order to build a new $180 million stadium for the team. That is, Bush -- a tax-cut advocate, a fan of property rights, and a champion of welfare reform -- became independently wealthy because he was part of an enterprise that pushed for higher taxes, that violated property rights, and that benefited from corporate welfare.") Malek has already arranged with the Carlyle Group for George W. Bush to serve on the board of directors of Caterair, one of the country's largest airline catering firms. Bush will later be asked to leave the board; according to David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, Bush was put on the board at the request of Malek, who, according to Rubenstein, described Bush as "down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. Needs a board position. Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth." Rubenstein continues, "We put him on the board and [he] spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years -- you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company." Soon after, Bush resigned from the board, saying he didn't like it much anyway. Rubenstein recalls, "so, if you said to me, 'Name 25 million people who would maybe be president of the United States,' he wouldn't have been in the category. So you never know." (Bushwatch, Progressive Review, David Corn)
Iran-Contra scandalIraq threatens to fire missiles at Israel. In response, Israel issues gas masks to its citizens, but not to Palestinians living in the West Bank. (Dan Cohn-Sherbok)
Supreme CourtConsidered by many a moderate, Souter is called a "stealth candidate" because of his thin judicial record; Souter, a former prosecutor, is a former member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals. Souter will prove a disappointment to many conservatives, who erroneously consider him part of the liberal wing of the Court. Souter, like Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, can move from a more liberal viewpoint to siding with conservatives on some issues. He will vote with the minority in 2000's Bush v. Gore case. (Wikipedia)
Whitewater / Lewinsky and related "scandals"He claims that he was wrongly fired for being a "scapegoat" in order to conceal "the largest scandal ever perpetrated on the taxpayers of the state of Arkansas," a wildly concocted farrago of accusations that Clinton had defrauded the state of millions of dollars through Nichols's former employer, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. As part of his lawsuit, Nichols announces that he intends to subpoena five alleged mistresses of Clinton, whom Clinton is supposed to have spent the money. One of the women is Gennifer Flowers, a former cabaret singer who worked with Nichols in recording advertising jingles, and who, two weeks before, had applied for a job in Clinton's administration. The other women include a former Miss Arkansas, the current Miss America, a Little Rock newspaper columnist and TV anchor, and Clinton's own press secretary. Two of the women are black, adding the tang of interracial sex to the mix. The TV anchor, Deborah Mathis, summed up the allegations in an irreverent comment to friends: "Hell, no," she had never slept with Clinton, "but if I did sleep with that fat white boy, he'd still be grinning." Three of the women hire lawyers and threaten to sue Nichols; all but Flowers vehemently deny the allegations. The women's names are not published, and the story of the lawsuit dies a quiet death in the media. Reporters soon learn that Nichols, who filed the lawsuit without benefit of legal council, had received legal help from Bob Leslie, the Republican state chairman and a close friend of Sheffield Nelson, a former Republican gubernatorial challenger and a bitter enemy of Clinton. Repeated efforts by Nichols to publicize the lawsuit and embarrass Clinton go nowhere; the suit is finally proven for what it is when Nichols offers to settle the suit if Clinton will pay off his house mortgage and provide an additional $150,000. The offer is rejected.
Middle East unrestThe assassin, El Sayyid Nosair, is arrested and found to be involved in a much larger terrorist plan. Documents in his possession give details of al-Qaeda and discuss plans for destroying tall US buildings; these documents are not translated until years later. Nosair was prosecuted as a "lone gunman;" the massive body of evidence showing his terrorist connections is not presented in court, his confession is not mentioned by the prosecution, and Nosair is acquitted of Kahane's murder. He does, however, get 22 years in jail on lesser charges. Osama bin Laden contributed heavily to Nosair's defense fund. Many of Nosair's associates go on to plan and carry out the 1993 WTC bombing. Why Nosair's terrorist connections were hidden during his trial is not known. One FBI agent laments, "The fact is that in 1990, myself and my detectives, we had in our office in handcuffs, the people who blew up the World Trade Center in '93. ...We were told to release them." Who exactly gave the order to protect Nosair and his associates is not known. (CCR)
Middle East unrestFundamentalist Muslims are outraged by the presence of "infidel" troops on what they consider to be holy soil; one of those outraged fundamentalists is wealthy Saudi businessman Osama bin Laden. (A Timeline of Oil and Violence)
GOP campaign strategiesRove spreads a combination of truths, half-truths, and outright lies about Hightower and his aides being involved in a kickback scheme; although Hightower is never charged with a crime, three of his aides are eventually convicted on federal charges, and Hightower's election bid is torpedoed. Years later, Perry will go on to win election as governor of Texas in a campaign managed by Rove.
Gulf WarYemen votes against the resolution, and is informed by a US diplomat, "that will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast." Days later, Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has its US aid budget cut to zero. (BBC, A Timeline of Oil and Violence)
Gulf Warwithdraw its forces from Kuwait, but refuses to join the US-led coalition that will invade Iraq. (NATO and UN History)
Gulf WarOperation "Desert Storm" lasts about 5 weeks. Some of the evidence used to convince other countries to join the coalition was later shown to be falsified: i.e. photographs of a Iraqi military buildup at the Iraq-Saudi Arabian border that never happened. Hussein's entire battle plan was inexplicable when judged from the viewpoint of a military force that who actually wants to occupy and annex a country. Although most of the war is a staged-for-TV event rather than a real war, 149 Americans and 25,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians and soldiers from "throwaway" regiments, die. Iraq is driven out of Kuwait, but no real effort to oust Hussein is made. The war costs $60 billion, which was paid for in large part by American allies. After the war, Iraq is subjected to UN sanctions and divided into three sections, only one of which is under Saddam's direct control. (According to former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the no-fly zones as established by the US-led coalition are illegal. Asked why the zones were allowed to be created by the UN, he replied that the subject was never broached.) (ZNet, FactMonster, US/Iraq Relations Timeline, MidEast Web)
Gulf WarAfter the coalition invasion, those estimates are reduced to between 200,000 and 300,000 troops; after the war is over, those estimates are further reduced to less than 100,000 troops, most of which were badly trained and were coerced into holding their positions against coalition attacks. The fact that Iraq possesses no air force or navy is not emphasized. Canadian military analyst Gwynne Dyer remarked after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that "Saddam Hussein was not a problem that kept anybody awake in July ." (Iraq History and Culture)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPLacking competition, the state's main newspapers stop doing much of the spadework necessary to find out the realities behind the politics. At the same time, small, politically motivated newspapers gain new influence. Two newspapers, the Christian Right-owned Dallas-Fort Worth Heritage and the weekly Austin Review, funded by the Republican right, begin an orchestrated campaign of smear and innuendo against incumbent governor Ann Richards. They insinuate Richards is a lesbian who is packing state government with "sisters," and imply that Richards has shady connections to Hollywood celebrities and financiers. Before long, the large Texas newspapers are repeating the rumors. The smear campaign is organized and supervised by consultants Karl Rove, a protege of GOP propaganda meister Lee Atwater, and Karen Hughes, with Rove concocting the stories and Hughes getting them media coverage. In 2000, anti-Bush activists familiar with the slash-and-burn tactics against Richards will warn the Gore presidential campaign about the tactics they will face from Rove and Hughes (both top-level consultants in the George W. Bush campaign), but the Gore campaign will largely ignore the warnings. (Laura Flanders)