They were just looking for an excuse
. Any excuse. Even a made-up excuse.
The Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported.
That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O'Neill talks toCorrespondent Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," he tells Stahl. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do is a really huge leap." [...]
Suskind says O'Neill and other White House insiders he interviewed gave him documents that show that in the first three months of 2001, the administration was looking at military options for removing Saddam Hussein from power and planning for the aftermath of Saddam's downfall -- including post-war contingencies like peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals and the future of Iraq's oil.
"There are memos," Suskind tells Stahl, "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'"
A Pentagon document, says Suskind, titled "Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," outlines areas of oil exploration. "It talks about contractors around the world from...30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq," Suskind says [...]
In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. "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,'" says O'Neill in the book.
And then there's this gem about Bush's second round of tax cuts:
Suskind also writes about a White House meeting in which he says the president seems to be wavering about going forward with his second round of tax cuts. "Haven't we already given money to rich people ... Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle," Suskind says the president uttered, according to a nearly verbatim transcript of an Economic Team meeting he says he obtained from someone at the meeting.
Wow. I wonder who put the smackdown on Bush for daring to question the wisdom of another round of tax cuts targeted to the rich. Probably Cheney.
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