Exit Strategy

Bush's Reign of Error: A Timeline

"You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you’re gone." —W.

 

 

2000

NOVEMBER Election fiasco; Sandra Day O'Connor gripes that a Gore win would ruin her retirement plans.
 Thousands of people are wrongly turned away from the polls in Florida due to a flawed voter "purge" list produced by a private company; many have names that bear slight similarities to those of felons. Bush wins Florida by 537 votes.

DECEMBER Supreme Court: We have a winner!

2001

JANUARY Would-be labor secretary Linda Chavez revealed to have hired an illegal immigrant.
 Ousting Saddam Hussein discussed at first national security meeting.

FEBRUARY Dick Cheney secretly meets with oil executives to write energy policy.

MARCH Bush nixes new standards for arsenic in drinking water.

MAY FEMA chief Joe Allbaugh says the administration plans to privatize many of FEMA's functions. Meanwhile, FEMA planners report a strong hurricane hitting New Orleans is "among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."

AUGUST Bush's monthlong vacation interrupted by intel briefing: Osama bin Laden "determined to strike in US."

SEPTEMBER Terrorists attack; "The Pet Goat" is immortalized.
 White House pressures epa to downplay risks of breathing at ground zero.
 Bush: "This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile."

NOVEMBER Bin Laden escapes from Tora Bora.

DECEMBER Attorney General John Ashcroft: Administration critics "give ammunition to America's enemies."
 Enron collapses; Bush disavows "Kenny Boy" Lay.
 White House begins planning the invasion of Iraq.

2002

JANUARY Gitmo's grand opening; Bush says Geneva Conventions don't apply there.

FEBRUARY Pentagon says it's closing its fake-news operation; Donald Rumsfeld later says it's still running.

MARCH White House asks nsa to start warrantless wiretaps.
 Bush says he's "not that concerned" about finding bin Laden.

AUGUST Justice Dept. lawyers draft the "torture memo."

SEPTEMBER Condoleezza Rice warns, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

NOVEMBER GOP jams Democratic phones in New Hampshire election; White House is tied to one of the jammers.
 After fighting creation of 9/11 Commission, Bush names Henry Kissinger to head it. (He lasts 2 weeks.)

DECEMBER FEMA head Allbaugh resigns. In 2003, he is replaced by his pal Michael Brown, who had been fired from his previous job at the International Arabian Horse Association.

2003

JANUARY In State of the Union, Bush cites "sexed up" British dossier saying Iraq sought uranium from Niger. The prez "is not a fact-checker," official later explains.

FEBRUARY Colin Powell presents phony Iraq intel at the un.
 Gigolo-turned-reporter Jeff Gannon gets a White House press pass.

MARCH US invades Iraq. Bush says it comes down to the "single question" of wmd. Update: still looking...
 FEMA is downgraded and folded into the Department of Homeland Security.
 Halliburton wins $7 billion, 5-year, no-bid contract in Iraq.

APRIL Pentagon pumps up rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch; she later says its tale was "hype."
 Rumsfeld on looting in Baghdad: "Stuff happens."

MAY Mission Accomplished!

JUNE Janet Rehnquist, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, resigns. She delayed an audit of Florida's retirement system on behalf of Jeb Bush, then running for reelection as governor of Florida.

JULY Bush dares Iraqi insurgents: "Bring 'em on."
 Joseph Wilson blows the whistle on phony wmd claim; his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, is outed as an undercover cia officer. Bush says he'll fire the leaker.

SEPTEMBER Congress defunds Total Information Awareness. Fast-forward to 2008: The NSA is doing everything tia had planned to.

2004

MARCH At the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner, Bush mocks his administration's inability to find Saddam's nonexistent WMD: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere."

APRIL Abu Ghraib photos leaked; Bush says he'll "make sure this doesn't happen again."
 Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan; Pentagon spins the story 180 degrees.
 White House bans photos of soldiers' flag-draped coffins.

MAY GAO reports the White House illegally created fake news reports to promote its Medicare bill.

JUNE Two years later, Cheney is still pushing bogus link between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

SEPTEMBER The Justice Department admits its 2003 prosecution of a "terror cell" in Detroit was filled with "mistakes and oversights," asks for the convictions to be overturned.

OCTOBER Unsolved mystery: What was the bulge on Bush's back during the presidential debates?

NOVEMBER Coalition Provisional Authority comptroller nabbed for taking $1 million in bribes. Fast-forward to 2008: $15 billion in US funds have gone mia in Iraq.

DECEMBER Bernard Kerik named to head Dept. of Homeland Security. Too bad about the sketchy friends and ground zero love nest!
 Bush gives Presidential Medal of Freedom to ex-Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer and ex-cia chief George "Slam Dunk" Tenet.

2005

JANUARY USA Today reports that Armstrong Williams got $240K to shill for No Child Left Behind.

MARCH Bush cuts vacation short to keep Terri Schiavo (and Jeb's career) alive.
 New York Times reports that TV stations aired hundreds of administration-made "video news releases" as news.

JUNE Former lobbyist Philip Cooney quits White House Council on Environmental Quality—after editing global warming out of reports.
 A New Orleans newspaper reports that the local district of the US Army Corps of Engineers is facing a record cut in federal funding.

AUGUST Hurricane Katrina slams New Orleans. As storm approaches, fema staff is told to stand down; Wal-Mart delivers relief supplies. fema chief Michael Brown emails colleagues about how he looks on TV: "I am a fashion god"; he resigns 2 weeks later.

SEPTEMBER Bush says no one thought the levees would break; video later shows he as warned about it.

OCTOBER Harriet Miers spends 24 days as Supreme Court nominee.
 Bush's deputy attorney general nominee Timothy Flanigan withdraws his name over his connections to Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and torture memo.
OSHA finds high levels of formaldehyde in fema trailers; more than 100,000 storm victims are housed in them anyway.

NOVEMBER Oil execs lie to Congress about secret meetings with Cheney.

2006

JANUARY Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to corruption. Bush: "I don't know him." Abramoff: "Perhaps he has forgotten everything."

FEBRUARY Cheney shoots hunting pal in the face. Victim apologizes.
NASA aide George Deutsch resigns; had gagged top climate scientist. (See Return of the Geeks.)

APRIL Six retired generals say Rumsfeld should step down; Bush: "I'm the decider."
 Boston Globe uncovers Bush's signing-statement mania—now up to more than 1,100.

MAY CIA head Porter Goss suddenly resigns; so does his No. 3, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, later indicted for bribery.

JUNE David Safavian, former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, is convicted of lying to investigators about his ties to Abramoff.

AUGUST Roger Stillwell, an Interior Department official, pleads guilty to failing to report hundreds of dollars of gifts from Abramoff. Stillwell regulated the Northern Mariana Islands, where Abramoff's corporate clients wanted to keep sweatshop wages low.

OCTOBER Ex-FDA chief Lester Crawford pleads guilty to hiding stock in the companies he regulated.

NOVEMBER Bush before midterm elections: Rumsfeld isn't going anywhere; one day after the vote: I lied—Rummy's outta here.

DECEMBER Seven US attorneys are asked to resign for not being, in the words of a top Justice official, "loyal Bushies."

2007

FEBRUARY Washington Post finds roaches, mouse poop, neglect, and PO'd wounded vets at Walter Reed.

MARCH Ex-Interior No. 2 J. Steven Griles pleads guilty to Abramoff-related obstruction.
 Congress looks into Rove aide's pro-gop campaign briefings to federal employees.
 Chinese import scare reveals lax oversight. (See The Chinavore's Dilemma.) Cheney aide "Scooter" Libby is convicted of lying; Bush commutes his sentence.

APRIL White House says 5 million emails may be "lost." (See Control, Delete, Escape.)
 AG Alberto Gonzales testifies before Congress, says "I don't recall" 64 times.

MAY Iraq War architect Paul Wolfowitz resigns as World Bank head after giving perks to his in-house girlfriend.
 Terrorist watch list now has 755,000 names. Former doj official Monica Goodling admits that politics played a role in hiring and firing.
 Bush nominates James W. Holsinger Jr. for surgeon general. Holsinger thinks gay people can be "cured." He is never confirmed.

JUNE Cheney discovered trying to dodge oversight by claiming he's not part of the executive branch.

JULY The Washington Post reports that a Bush political appointee with no "background or expertise in medicine or public health" kept secret a 2006 surgeon general's report because it "did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments."

AUGUST The Washington Post reports that the administration's vaunted terrorist screening database flagged 20,000 people in 2007 but produced very few arrests.
 Red Cross says CIA's secret prisons use methods "tantamount to torture," violate international law. Gonzales steps down.

NOVEMBER The Fish and Wildlife Service announces that seven decisions made by Julie MacDonald, the former deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, will be reversed. MacDonald, a civil engineer, had ignored the advice of staff scientists when issuing her decisions, which prevented endangered species from receiving higher levels of legal protection.

DECEMBER State Dept. Inspector General Howard "Cookie" Krongard resigns after being accused of going easy on Blackwater—where brother "Buzzy" was on the advisory board.
 Congressional Democrats call for an investigation into cia's destruction of waterboarding videotapes.
 John Tanner resigns as head of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division's voting section. Tanner's colleagues accuse him of "institutional sabotage," for allegedly suppressing minority election turnout.

2008

FEBRUARY New York Times uncovers buried Army report blaming White House and Pentagon for mess in Iraq.

MARCH Bush tells GIs in Afghanistan he's "a little envious" of them.
 Alphonso Jackson steps down as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Jackson had been under fire for HUD's awarding of a $127 million federal contract to his former employer, but HUD still spent up to $100,000 to paint and install Jackson's portrait in the department's new auditorium. At the time of his resignation, Jackson was being investigated by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department, and his own department's inspector general for alleged corruption.

APRIL GAO finds the US has no plan to defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

MAY FBI raids office of Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who may have erased files on whistleblowers. (His job: protecting federal whistleblowers.)
 Bush says to honor the troops, he hasn't golfed since August '03 (except for that time in October '03). Former White House flack Scott McClellan says Karl Rove lied about his role in the leak.

JUNE News flash: doj hiring of lawyers was illegally politicized: 80% of "liberal" applicants were rejected.

JULY Ex-EPA official says Cheney's office edited cdc climate change report.
 Rove ignores House subpoena.
 Bidding farewell to G8, Bush reportedly punches air, says, "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

AUGUST Back at his Crawford estate, Bush soars past his 950th day away from the office—easily beating Ronald Reagan's vacation record.

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