Jan. 29: Bush launches an initiative to permit federal aid programs to be administered by religious groups
March 29: Bush removes the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocols, the international accords aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Later, documents reveal that an oil industry organization heavily influenced the president’s decision.
May 16-17: The Bush administration rolls out its energy policy, formulated by a secretive task force helmed by Vice President Dick Cheney and packed with oil industry representatives. Not surprisingly, the policy calls for more oil drilling and increased use of nuclear power.
June 7: Bush signs a $1.35 trillion tax-cut package into law that primarily benefits the wealthy. He will pass subsequent tax cuts in 2002 and 2003.
Aug. 6: Bush receives a briefing titled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” Bush hears out the briefer and says,“All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”
Nov. 29: Cheney says that Osama bin Laden is in a mountainous region of the Afghan-Pakistani border called Tora Bora. Over the next month, Americans bomb suspected hiding spots. Bush relies on Pakistani forces (some of whom were friendly with the Taliban) to pursue the world’s most wanted man. Bin Laden escapes
Dec. 2: Enron, a Texas energy company with long ties to Bush, files for bankruptcy after it’s revealed that the company hid $1 billion in debt from investors.
Dec. 17: A subsidiary of Halliburton, Cheney’s former employer, receives a 10-year no-bid contract to assist the Pentagon in a wide range of areas. The contract is worth at least $2.5 billion.
July 23: British intelligence officials discuss America’s increasing war posturing in Iraq. As famously recounted in the Downing Street Memo,“the intelligence of facts are being fixed around” Bush’s desire to go to war with Saddam Hussein on the basis of claims about weapons of mass destruction.
Nov. 15: Rumsfeld insists that the forthcoming Iraq War will last “five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that. It won’t be a World War III.”