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In the Crossfire

Questioning Bush's motives on Iraq

Janeane Garofalo
Janeane Garofalo: "I feel like the American people are being lied to and manipulated. [President Bush] is trying to force 9/11 and Saddam together."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As President Bush struggles with critics abroad over his policy toward Iraq, he also faces a number of protesters at home.

Thousands of women in the antiwar group, Code Pink, held a demonstration Saturday in Washington as part of International Women's Day. Will these protests have any effect on the administration's decision on a potential war?

Before the demonstration, actress Janeane Garofalo, an antiwar activist, stepped into the "Crossfire" on Friday with hosts Tucker Carlson and James Carville.

CARLSON: I absolutely respect the opinion of many people who disagree with the idea of a war in Iraq. I guess what I don't respect, and I'm a little bit offended by, are the constant descriptions of motives that President Bush must have. This is all for the oil companies. It's to avenge his father. This sort of stupid kind of psychobabble, psychoanalysis. The president says in the end he's doing this because he thinks Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States. Do you believe that?

GAROFALO: I actually don't. I agree with you, I don't like ... things like, "It's oil, no blood for oil." I think oil is a part of it. ...

I actually do not believe him when he says that Saddam is an immediate threat or a threat to America. I felt his press conference [Thursday] night was an absolute nonevent. I feel like the American people are being lied to and manipulated. He's trying to force 9/11 and Saddam together.

He's banking on the ignorance or the disinformation of the American people. And I think it's unfair. Can I read a quote of why I actually am going to be marching?

CARLSON: Well, hold on. Before we get to your march, I'm fascinated by this idea of why Bush would do this. Why he would risk his presidency, why he would send Americans to their deaths and kill American soldiers to perpetuate this lie that you just accused him of perpetuating.

Why would he do that? What's the motive?

GAROFALO: Actually, I think that there are two things. One is called "The Project for a New American Century," which is a paper from 1997, I believe, that was worked on by [Paul] Wolfowitz, [Richard] Perle, [Lewis], Libby, [Elliott] Abrams and [Dick] Cheney, which talks about going into dominate the [Persian] Gulf region for the resources and also for the geopolitical dominance in a post-Cold War world. The gulf region is very valuable.

Then there's a paper that [former U.S. Secretary of State] James Baker worked on called "Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century" that he gave to Dick Cheney five months before 9/11 saying that we should go into Iraq.

CARLSON: Well, wouldn't it just be cheaper to negotiate better oil contracts, which we could?

GAROFALO: Well, I don't know. I actually don't know. It seems like it's an idea that Wolfowitz and Perle and some of the other gentlemen in the administration have had for a long time. I don't know why we can't negotiate or something, but can I read a quote by [former President] George Bush because it concurs why I'm going to be marching [Saturday]. Is that OK?

CARLSON: Sure. Hit us with it.

GAROFALO: OK. This is by [former President] George Bush from his book "A World Transformed." "We should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability."

CARLSON: You do realize that was in reference to another war under totally different circumstances?

GAROFALO: It was written in 1998, and I don't know whether he was just specifically referencing that war, but what he's saying, that's exactly right. And, also, the letter that Colleen Rowley wrote to the FBI saying that she doesn't understand why we're going into Iraq when the hunt for al Qaeda is not nearly finished.

It's a distraction to go into Iraq. And that she feels, as a 22-year FBI bureau agent, that Iraq is not an immediate threat.

CARLSON: But we just captured the [suspected] No. 3 member of al Qaeda who [who is alleged to have] planned 9/11.

GAROFALO: Right, that's great.

CARLSON: So we can do both, obviously.

GAROFALO: No. Why? We're not at war yet. How do you [know] we can both? Plus we're working with Pakistan.

CARLSON: ... Janeane, you're going to this march [Saturday] led by a group called Code Pink. I don't think you're a member of Code Pink.

GAROFALO: Right.

CARLSON: But I want to read you a quote from the founder of Code Pink, an individual named Jodie Evans. I assume this is a woman.

She writes, "When the world is on the brink of being consumed by global testosterone poisoning, it's time for the women to rise up in a pre-emptive strike for peace." And I read that partly because it's so stupendously stupid I can't resist but also partly because it goes on motive; this constant questioning of motives.

"It's testosterone that is driving this war." "It's a lust for oil." "They're lying to us." Why not just address the arguments directly? You think Saddam's a threat; I don't. Let's have a fair argument. Why get into motive?

GAROFALO: Well, actually, you know, it's really hard to deal with sound bites, and I didn't say it. So I mean I'm. ...

CARLSON: But you were doing it a minute ago before we went to break. You were saying, "Well, they're lying to us; it's all a secret."

GAROFALO: No, I feel as a citizen that when I watched that press conference [Thursday] night I was being manipulated. I feel like it is not genuine ... putting 9/11 in there, manipulating fear, manipulating people. And unfortunately, according to The New York Times poll, a lot of Americans believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

I think that the administration is trying to take advantage of that disinformation. And I think that there are a lot of people who have weapons. There are a lot of bad guys out there; there are a lot of dictators out there. And they should all go. We have to be more consistent.

CARLSON: But has it occurred to you that the White House has a huge amount of information that the rest of us don't have... ?

GAROFALO: [Then] they should share it. And they should share it with the weapons inspectors.


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