George W. Bush had been president less than a year when thoughts of wealth, power, and influence consumed his malleable mind and set him on a one-way path to evil. Influenced by a vice president whose moral turpitude eclipsed his own, Bush converted the Oval Office into a den of depravity, a sinister sanctum where he and his cancerous cabal plotted to kill three birds with one stone, as a modified version of the saying goes. Find a way to legitimize seizing foreign oil while also capturing, and profiting from, the expansive opium fields covering the vast landscape of Afghanistan. He also, of course, wanted to finish what his father had started in Iraq—deposing or assassinating Saddam Hussein. Moreover, Bush felt Americans had too many freedoms, and he desperately sought to curtail the rights and freedoms Americans hold dear.
That was Rear Adm. Darse E. Crandall’s opening message, as George W. Bush’s tribunal resumed Friday morning at Guantanamo Bay.
Surprisingly, Bush’s attorney David Aufhauser said he would forego an opening statement, instead opting to deliver remarks after JAG rested its case.
The first item Rear Adm. Crandall offered into evidence was a microcassette with three distinct voices: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld’s. Three independent experts, he told the panel, had digitally compared voices on the tape against over 150 publicly available recordings of the three men, and determined with reasonable certainty (97.5%) that the voices indeed belonged to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.
“We don’t know the exact date this conversation took place, but we can infer through the conversation it was approximately three months before 9/11,” Rear Adm. Crandall said, and pressed the play button.
Bush: “If we’re doing this, we have to go all in, you know. And after it’s done, we’ll need a damn good excuse to sell Congress, and our hands, they’ll have to be squeaky clean.”
Cheney: “They’ll be no ties to us. And our hands—well, they’ll be bathed in bleach.”
Bush: “How much is this gonna cost?”
Cheney: “Who cares? It’s not our money (Cheney laughs) and we get richer at taxpayer expense. I can set everything up, but I need your ok on it.”
Rumsfeld: “If we want this for September, we don’t have a lot of preparation time, maybe 3 months.”
Cheney: “Don, the government works efficiently when we need it to. We do this, and a lot of information we don’t want made public goes away forever. We blame Bin Laden—I don’t think we need him anymore—and after the dust settles in New York and Washington, we bomb the shit out of Kabul. No one cares if we destroy some ancient stone buildings and thatch huts. And you get to show off shiny new weapons.”
Bush: “And the world will buy it? They’ll believe some poorly funded Jihadists managed to pull off the most sophisticated and deadly terror attack in history, and on American soil? I’m all for killing the fuckers, Dick, but they’ll believe this?”
Cheney: “You’re the fucking president, George, they’ll believe whatever you tell them to believe.”
Rear Adm. Crandall paused the tape. “This obviously is not the first conversation they had on planning 9/11, but this alone speaks volumes and—”
Aufhauser stood, raising an objection. “This seems highly improper. You suddenly have a magic tape, a smoking gun, and expect us to accept its legitimacy. Until now, Defense had no knowledge of the tape. Wouldn’t it have been proper to provide us a copy, so we, too, could’ve had it tested for authenticity. Could you tell us, please, where you obtained this tape?”
“I can: Rumsfeld made it. All I can say is it was discovered among his personal possessions after he suicided himself at his tribunal,” Rear Adm. Crandall said.
“Why would he have made a recording that could eventually incriminate him?” Aufhauser asked.
“How should I know, and that’s not our concern. Maybe he wanted an insurance policy in case the plan went south and George and Dick tried to pin the blame on him, but I don’t engage in speculation, only fact. And fact is, that is Gorge, Dick, and Don on that tape,” Rear Adm. Crandall said sardonically.
Aufhauser asked why, if the tape was authentic, Cheney wasn’t sitting beside Bush as a co-defendant.
“Because he fled the country the same night George was arrested. An interesting coincidence, don’t you think?” Rear Adm. Crandall asked, and played the tape.
Bush: “What kind of casualties are we looking at on the Homefront?”
Cheney: “So, a few thousand, maybe more.”
Bush: “Oh, that’s not so bad.”
Rumsfeld: “Every battle has collateral damage. We must accept ours.”
Bush: “As long as we’re not getting fucking blamed for it.”
Cheney: “Like I said, that won’t happen.”
While the tape played, Bush seemed unphased, simply staring glassily at the wall as his attorney contested the tape’s veracity.
“Before we hear more, Admiral Crandall, could we please recess until Monday, so Defense, with your consent, can have this tape authenticated over the weekend. I also respectfully ask for copies of any additional evidence you plan to use that we haven’t been made aware of,” Aufhauser said.
“As you’ve been reminded in the past, this is not a civilian trial. We don’t have to oblige that request. But I will give you a copy of the tape and the weekend,” Rear Adm. Crandall said.
He put the tribunal in recess until Monday morning.