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Bush planned war on Iraq before 9/11?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Did anyone see the 60 minutes broadcast this week in which former treasury secretary Paul O'Neil made this allegation? What do you think?

Here's a summary:

Last year, President Bush made the case for war in Iraq by saying that America needs to protect itself from terrorism in a post-9/11 world. Bush told the nation that "the dynamics have shifted since 11 years ago, because of what happened on September the 11th," adding, "No longer are we secure."

Bush also assured the nation that use of force in Iraq was a last resort, saying, "A military option is my last choice, the last choice." However, new revelations from one of Bush's former cabinet members show that war plans were being developed long before the terrorist attacks.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told 60 Minutes that regime change in Iraq was the main topic at the very first meeting of Bush's National Security Council - a full eight months before 9/11. O'Neill said, "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this.'"

Since this story broke, the administration has attempted to discredit O' Neill, claiming that "the treasury secretary is not in the position to have access to that kind of information." Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind, who has worked with O'Neill for a year on a book about the Bush White House, calls that allegation "simply wrong," adding, "[O'Neill] got every file from [CIA Director] George Tenet." Suskind has reviewed nearly 19,000 internal administration documents provided by O'Neil.
post #2 of 15
I heard about it...someone is stiring the pot, like they did Clinton...
post #3 of 15
Two words:

Election Year.
post #4 of 15
I saw that "60 Minutes" interview and it was pointed out that Mr. O'Neill was fired from his post. I would take many of his statements as being those of a disgruntled former employee.

As for planning an invasion of Iraq, those plans have been in place, since before the 1991 Gulf War. It is accepted practice, for the Pentagon to have war plans pre-formulated, for trouble spots. While posted at the Pentagon, in the 1980s, Norman Schwartzkopf developed the Gulf War plan, long before Iraq invaded Kuwait. It was known, back then, that Saddam was a likely troublemaker and we would probably have to deal with him.

I am sure that plans are in place, for North Korea, Syria, Iran and many other places, that are potential hot spots.
post #5 of 15
If I recall, during the 2000 election, Mr. Bush was emphatically against nation building, or US intervention into other countries' affairs, such as the NATO action in the Balkans. With the evidence of the weapons of mass destruction [and thus immediate clear and present danger to the US] slipping into the vapor, it is hard to reconcile the attack on Iraq with Bush's pre-election stance. There's no question Hussein is a bad guy, but there are lots of other bad guys running countries, perhaps in even worse ways, considering how many people are starving to death in North Korea. Whomever came up with the 'Axis of Evil' line should be taken out back & shot, because that was just an attempt to present three totally different countries as some sort of cabal, thus giving a little more steam to the Attack Iraq campaign. The result of that was that we stirred up the craziest of them all, the president of North Korea, and now have them moving full stream ahead on nuclear bomb building. The Iranians wouldn't even accept aid from us after that terrible earthquake, which they probably needed, because of that statement. I'd also like someone to explain to me why suddenly Khaddafi is no longer an enemy: the Lockerbie crash killed more people than Timothy McVeigh did in OKC. Mcveigh gets the needle and now Khaddafi gets praise? Why haven't we gone in and extracted him to stand trial for the murder of so many Americans?

I'm sure the Pentagon has plans in place in the event that we ever had to engage in war with Communist China, or Russia, should it give up democracy. The fact that people prepare for something doesn't automatically mean it's going to happen.

O'Neill didn't strike me as a disgruntled employee. There wasn't much emotion in his statements, other than a bit of surprise as to how things were handled by Bush.
post #6 of 15
Wasn't there a memo from before 9/11 that had plans for "post Saddam Iraq"? I saw this on one news show.
post #7 of 15
Here's an interesting site (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Discussions about the Bush administration planning a return to Iraq have been under discussion since 1991. This article was published in March, 2003. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Bush planned the war, but his administrative staff has been eager to get back there for a long time.

Origins of Regime Change in Iraq
Proliferation Brief, Volume 6, Number 5
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Long before September 11, before the first inspections in Iraq had started, a small group of influential officials and experts in Washington were calling for regime change in Iraq. Some never wanted to end the 1991 war. Many are now administration officials. Their organization, dedication and brilliance offer much to admire, even for those who disagree with the policies they advocate.

We have assembled on our web site links to the key documents produced since 1992 by this group, usually known as neo-conservatives, and analysis of their efforts. They offer a textbook case of how a small, organized group can determine policy in a large nation, even when the majority of officials and experts originally scorned their views.

The foll story is at: http://www.ceip.org/files/nonprolif/...icationID=1214
post #8 of 15
I am not the least bit surprised, and yes, we did see the 60 minutes interview you mention.

Gary was very anti-Paul O'Neil and published frequently about him at work. Some people, though used to our outspoken style, thought we went a bit too far. Of course the day Paul O'Neil "resigned" the phone did not stop ringing. In my opinion Paul O'Neil did not serve his post well, he admitted lying about the state of the economy and essentially admitted that he felt his role to be one of inspiring hope (as opposed to telling the truth).

Gary actually met President & First Lady Bush on one of the days he'd published something about Paul O'Neil (Title of the piece: Paul O'Neill and His Shameless Band of Hacks Take Their Weird Show to Tokyo." Published January of 2002, I think. (2003? Gosh - time is flying!) Gary's a gabber, and of course the First Lady ended up asking him what he does - and he handed her a package of our work - not realizing/remembering that having published that morning that piece would be on top. She opened it up and her only response at the time was "The O'Neils are great friends of ours." (Which gave Gary a great platform to give a speach about the great freedoms we have here in the U.S. The whole restaurant was clapping).

Anyway - my point is - the Bushes and O'Neils are friends. IMO, Paul O'Neil is not saying these things because he's a disgruntled employee. IMO he's "coming out," so to speak, because he is concerned about what is happening to this country and how it's being managed behind the scenes - and he's concerned about how we are being manipulated.

I am too.
post #9 of 15
One last thought - under the new National Security laws (or Homeland Security, whatever it's called), it is an act of treason to remove or go public with any in-house memos (even your own). I wonder if they're going to bring Mr. O'Neil up on charges of sedition?
post #10 of 15
If you take a look at the NY Times for January 24, just last week, you will find an article about Halliburton admitting overcharging the government for fuel delivered to Iraq, and repaying the taxpayer $6.3 million. In this article Halliburton is quoted as reporting that it was awarded the contract for providing logistical services to the U. S. army in Iraq two years ago -- a year before the administration claims to have decided to launch its little war. It would appear to us that Paul O'Neill's claim has been verified. It is most important to recognize that the White House to this day has not disputed this claim by Halliburton.

This is not politics. This is simply a question with respect to who is telling the truth and who is lying. One will hopefully make up one's own mind and not be forcefed by one side or the other.

All the best, from a Texas beach.

Jim, Ann, Miss Kitty and, soon, Samwise
post #11 of 15
After having read some of Wolfowitz's treatises in the nineties, I had no trouble believing O'Neill. What I find disturbing at the moment is David Kay's resignation, and the administration's failure to expressly acknowledge that the U.N. inspectors and "Old Europe" were most probably correct when they claimed that Saddam's regime posed no immediate threat. Doesn't it disturb people that the U.S. and U.K. decided to simply ignore the UN when it was a question of invading Iraq, but are now very eager to have the UN straighten out the current political chaos there?
I thought the protesters waving signs saying, "No blood for oil" were being too simplistic, but Haliburton's admission does, indeed, put the U.S. in a bad light.
Kay's statements about the intelligence community are quite unsettling: http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/01/28/spr...kay/index.html

I also wonder what threat to U.S. security can be posed by three boys under the age of 16:
post #12 of 15

Ain't the internet great? There you are over there in Germany and you are more up-to-date on current events here in the 'States than are many of our neighbors. We enjoy hearing from you.
post #13 of 15
Originally posted by jcat
Doesn't it disturb people that the U.S. and U.K. decided to simply ignore the UN when it was a question of invading Iraq, but are now very eager to have the UN straighten out the current political chaos there?
IMO, I think one needs to distinguish between what the Bush administration told Americans, and our interractions with the UN, France & Germany & Russia on the issue. France & Germany's motivations as far as I can see had less to do with maintaining world peace and more to do with their own internal politics and the continuing fantasy of the French that their day as a world power did not come to a crashing & permanent halt (at the latest) when the Nazis rolled into Paris 6 weeks after they crossed their border. In addition, the French & the Russians were clearly looking after their own financial interests while putting up a pious show.(In the case of Russia, given that their President used to run the Soviet KGB, I think there is also a matter of 'old habits dying hard.') I don't think they had a more informed view of the situation in Iraq vis a vis the famous WMD: I'm not sure how much they really cared, because I think that they probably did not view Hussein as a specific threat to them, even if he had such weapons.

While I think that a number of the UN's relief & development programs are effective, I think their track record on international security is so-so. This is the same organization which refused to involve itself in the Balkan crisis & has made little attempt as far as I know to address the ongoing turmoil in several African countries. I don't really find this surprising since walking into the Security Council chambers does not cause individual nations to shed their own concerns/interests. The existence of the UN, in a nutshell, does not make me feel any 'safer'. The next sociopathic zealot or despotic world leader who gets frisky probably won't ask in advance for a UN mandate at all.

Now, that being said, Mr. Bush has to be accountable to the American people for his decisions, whether the cause was bad information or diminished capacity. Mr. Chaney also needs to be held accountable as well, although in a different way, since I suspect that he has crossed more than one legal line over the last 3 years. Regretfully, given an all Republican government at the moment, the latter isn't going to happen during this presidency. The next election is really where Bush's accountibility lies. Whether that will happen or not is up for grabs, given how many Americans fall for the 'emperor's new clothes' strategy, in which if you repeat the same thing over & over again enough times, it is accepted as a fact, even if it is false.
I also wonder whether a week before the election, they will conveniently locate whatever rat-hole Osama Bin Laden is hiding in.
Several people have now said to me that they think (purely opinion -not sourced) that the military has a pretty good idea of where he is, but won't be allowed to flush him out until the timing is 'right'. On the other hand, Al Qaeda might decide to cast a 'vote' in the next election by attempting another attack close to election day. (If they do, I hope they decide to register in Texas, rather than New York.)
post #14 of 15
my brother was in Afganistan and Iraq It saddens me to see that he may have been nothing but a pawn in Jrs plans , but to me he will always be a hero for answering the call, I however have other feels for Mr.Bush Jr
post #15 of 15
Originally posted by James Brown

Ain't the internet great? There you are over there in Germany and you are more up-to-date on current events here in the 'States than are many of our neighbors. We enjoy hearing from you.
I love the Internet. CNN International and CNBC are available here on cable, and it is no trouble at all to get TIME, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the International Herald Tribune (now solely a NY Times subsidiary) or USA Today, but the Internet makes news much more accessible. And email is the best invention ever for people like me who live far away from family and many friends.

"Now, that being said, Mr. Bush has to be accountable to the American people for his decisions, whether the cause was bad information or diminished capacity."

Lucia, I believe it's in the interests of the international community that there be a "higher authority" that all countries, including the U.S., are accountable to. True, the UN is a weak and often ineffective organization. There is too much red tape, infighting, underfunding, a lack of any sort of military power, and so on. The UN's authority has also been undermined by the US's failure to support some of its resolutions, e.g., that Israel relinquish its hold on the Occupied Territories, or to pay its dues, or recognize an international court of justice. I find this very shortsighted. The US can, as the sole superpower, afford to ignore the UN right now, but how long will it have that status? China will at some time in the future outstrip the US. Wouldn't it be better to strengthen the UN now, before that happens?
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