Report says Bush planned Iraq War before 9/11
January 10, 2004 10:52 AM   Subscribe

New report says Bush planned Iraq War before 9/11 Jan. 10 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill charges in a new book that President Bush entered office in January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was in search of a way to go about it.
posted by wsg (101 comments total)
An insider is confirming what many have said all along: that this administration came into power with the intent of invading Iraq and were just looking for an excuse.
posted by wsg at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2004

Sadly, this is news that will not suprise any Bush doubters, and will not convince any Bush true believers. And so it goes...
posted by spilon at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2004

Nothing new here, except for a handful of media whores pretending that they didn't know. Plausible deniability and all that. But hey, if it wakes a few sheep out of their slumber, that's great. The muslim-haters don't give a shit anyway, as long as we're killing sand-niggers for Jesus.
posted by 2sheets at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2004

posted by inksyndicate at 11:36 AM on January 10, 2004

Gee. I though he should have been removed by Clinton. Why is this scandalous? The only thing scandalous is that the UN condemned Iraq, and then, when Hussein's bluff was called, the UN did shit.

So the US is the only country with balls. Thank G-d we are!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2004

O'Neil carries weight. This will have impact.
posted by stbalbach at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2004

Spilon - you underestimate us.

If this story is true, Bush has just become vulnerable.

I'll certainly help any campaign against him.

Read my post-history here. You can see where I stand on most issues. You can see that this is a change.

If this is true, I was sold a bill of goods, I bought it, and shame on me. And this administration has to go.

2sheets - are your sheets in reference to the klan sheets you obviously wear? When the heck did Metafilter become Hatefilter?

I'm getting less comfortable here these days. After yesterdays "Instacracker" and todays "sand nigger!??!!" what the heck is with you all?
posted by swerdloff at 11:44 AM on January 10, 2004

Spilon - you underestimate us.

I do hope that is true!
posted by spilon at 11:50 AM on January 10, 2004

Is this surprising? The son, following in his fathers footsteps, takes over the Presidency. Both father and son are republicans. The father tried to take out a high-profile dictator and failed. I'd be surprised if the son didn't try to go about what he undoubtedly sees as avenging his father. He even ran on a campaign of proposed military spending.
posted by tomorama at 11:51 AM on January 10, 2004

I can never figure out who to believe in cases like these. Is he now free to tell the truth because he was fired, or is he just pissed off and lying now because he was fired?
Depending on how he cites his sources is where, I suppose I'd look for the answer.
While it may not suprise any Bush doubters, and will not convince any Bush true believers, it may, more importantly hold some sway with those undecideds in the middle, that will most likely make the difference this fall.
posted by Blake at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2004

I'm getting less comfortable here these days. After yesterdays "Instacracker" and todays "sand nigger!??!!" what the heck is with you all?

posted by mcsweetie at 12:05 PM on January 10, 2004

I'll second swerdloff this time--2sheets's epithet's over the line.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 PM on January 10, 2004

O'Neil to go on 60 Minutes and make this chargez--I find it very remote as a possibility that he would go on the most watched show on TV and proclaim something that was a lie. That said, Bush told Congress that Saddam had WMD--none found. Bush told Congress that Saddam working with Bin Lade and company--Powell has just admitted this is false. Bush now says Saddam an evil man. True. So too the leaders of China, N. Korea, Syria, Iran etc etc...What then the motive for planning to invade Iraq? Oil and helping dad's image. Probably both. Those who support the war are clearly now on much weaker grounds. Those who have kids sent to Iraq to die have something to anguish over.
posted by Postroad at 12:07 PM on January 10, 2004

wasn't there a post here once about the u.s. performing war games against "iraq" in the summer of 2001? the person they'd hired to play "iraq" beat the u.s. the first day so they made him sit on the sidelines while they started over. this is not new.
posted by centrs at 12:10 PM on January 10, 2004

swerdloff - I'm passing on the language I hear from supporters of this war, and it's language that I've been hearing since the Iran hostage crisis. The media is complicit in white-washing and sanitizing comments from the "man in the street", and that lends an air of nobility to the cause.
I have Iranian and Syrian friends who have been subjected to abuse and threats from ignorant americans who aren't worthy of washing these people's feet.
I will continue to point out the ignorance and hatred behind the support of this war. If you are fortunate enough not to be exposed to the lowest and most vile of our fellow citizens, then I hate to be the one to point it out to you, but it's there and I refuse to pretend otherwise.
I had a fresh dose of it on my Christmas trip to rural Virginia, and believe me, I'm going easy.
I'm glad to see that your mind is open enough to look at the evidence and judge for yourself. I think if you'll keep looking, you'll see that a lot of us who have been trying to get the message out aren't wearing tinfoil hats and seeing boogie men behind every tree.
posted by 2sheets at 12:24 PM on January 10, 2004

Well, don't forget last year's reports--the plan to invade Iraq was hatched much earlier than we think.

Before Bush was ever even elected, his future cabinet--including Rumsfeld and Cheney--formed a small, right-wing group called the PNAC (which had formed to "rally support for American global leadership").

The PNAC wrote essay after essay about removing Saddam from power, penning them as early as 1997. They even urged then-president Clinton to invade Iraq.

While perhaps every American can say that the removal of Saddam is a good thing, the suggestion that a shadow government was already forming, and was looking for a pawn to run for president and enact their goals, is horrifying.
posted by jennanemone at 12:29 PM on January 10, 2004

Come on 2sheets. "I've got friends who are black" doesn't mean that your slinging around the N word is any less offensive, even if it's trying to prove a point.

Either the word is a racist term to be abhorred, or it isn't. Don't give me the "But I'm one of the good non-class members" argument.

I should also point out that Bush has a lot to answer for in November, and that things like documentation, logic, and a lack of comparing bush to hitler will do tons to help. Act like an adult in discussions about this stuff.

I had a friend say, after the deaths of Uday and Qusay: Man - I wish that it was George Bushes' kids instead of them. That'd teach him a lesson.

Somehow, the idea of two innocent (if debaucherous) women being killed for the sins of their fathers was acceptable, since their father was a republican. Never mind the rape rooms of Uday and Qusay, never mind the beatings, tortures, murders. Just -- an irrational hatred of Bush.

That's unappealing.

Also, please note - I'm glad we toppled Saddam. Iraqis now have a chance (assuming we don't screw them) to do something amazing - start the second democracy in the Middle East. Have a land where not being a Muslim doesn't bring a death penalty with it. Have a land where you are free to not worry about the knock on the door in the middle of the night. Have a land without a genocidal dictator overseeing everything that happens. I am pleased as can be about the overthrow of their regime.

To be fair - I would also like to see the US take several other regimes on - Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the Mullahs in Iran, North Korea (which will be incredibly hard). I would like to see the US bring aid and law to Afghanistan, and the parts of "tribal" Pakistan where Osama is said to be hiding.

Each, for different reasons. But the reason, overall, is to get rid of the thugocracies. To give the people their own countries. To stop the horrors perpetrated by the governments of each country.

Hold every person to the same standard you would hold yourself. Hold every country to the same standard you would hold your own.

(And as I'm reading this, apparently, Chemical Weapons were found in Iraq, according to the Beeb)
posted by swerdloff at 12:36 PM on January 10, 2004

I find it very remote as a possibility that he would go on the most watched show on TV and proclaim something that was a lie.

Oh, I don't know. I mean, the President goes on national TV and makes bald-faced lies all the time, right?

This whole agenda was pretty obvious to those of us who were keeping our ears open and learning about when and how he lied. Remember, it was obvious that BushCo. wasn't going into Iraq because of Terror or Weapons of Mass Distraction, because everything he said on either of those topics was either a lie or just a bunch of really thin rhetoric, set to boil the blood of the down-home bigots.

Like 2sheets says, the stuff coming out of people's mouths in the lead up to the war was just fucking disgusting. I remember hearing about "those goddamned towel-heads" every time gas prices increased a few cents well before september 11th; once we started the War on Terrorism, the sentiments went from bad to monstorous. But let's never admit that we can be monsters... After all, we have God on our side.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2004

The only thing scandalous is that the UN condemned Iraq, and then, when Hussein's bluff was called, the UN did shit.

Really? That's a scandal? Then we should nuke the living shit out of Israel for saying 'fuck you' to over 20 resolutions from UN condemning their treatment of the palestinians and other fine misdeeds.

Thank g-d we're shameless hypocrites!
posted by Busithoth at 12:41 PM on January 10, 2004

Busithoth - when are you and your ilk going to learn?

1) General assembly resolutions have the same weight in international law as a warm fart on a cold day. They're a lot of hot air.

2) Security council resolutions are binding on all nations in the United Nations.

Which of the 20 UN resolutions, Busithoth, were Security Council resolutions?

Exactly none.

What's REALLY a scandal is how many people talk in here without doing rudimentary research as to what they're talking about.
posted by swerdloff at 12:45 PM on January 10, 2004

To those that think O'Neil's charges will have any impact on the president are wrong.

The typical american could give a rats ass about any of this. Really. Look around you. Think that the mom in front of you at the stop light in the Hummer cares? Think that the idiot in line ahead of you buying the six pack of bud light cares? Think anyone cares?

The president is farting in his general direction and laughing. At us and him. Not with.
posted by damnitkage at 12:50 PM on January 10, 2004

"Also, please note - I'm glad we toppled Saddam."

I'm glad Saddam is gone as well. One less dictator makes the world a better place, and I hope that we will move away from providing aid and comfort to them in the future.

Regarding my use of the "N" word, as you put it, other MeFi members have chimed in, and this is a community, so I'll take it under advisement. I still think that the desire to cast the motives and language used by the right into a more civilized, easily digestible form is self-deluding and ultimately counter-productive, but when in Rome...
posted by 2sheets at 12:50 PM on January 10, 2004

I [heart] swerdloff.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2004

Good Saddam's gone, don't like this administration, blah blah blah, etc.

Here's what I remember clearly: when Bush debated Gore, and was asked about Saddam, he said something like "He's gotta go". Knowing, of course, not much more than your average American.

I knew at the time and I know now that we were headed for Iraq despite the apparently successful strategy of keeping him within his borders. Most other people did too.

I'm just glad someone with some sway is now pointing this out. It's poor policy, and I'd prefer Bush continue to be called on it.
posted by jragon at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2004

what the heck is with you all?

99.99% of us wouldn't say such things. I know all us lefties look alike, but please don't lump us all together. 2sheets was way out of line.
posted by jpoulos at 1:06 PM on January 10, 2004

I'd prefer we impeach.
posted by amberglow at 1:06 PM on January 10, 2004

2sheets's epithet's over the line.

Clearly he is citing it, not using it. If you think it is appalling, then let those know who use it as a regular, non-ironic expression of their worldview. Hint: check the "bomb them back into the Stone Age" crew.
posted by rushmc at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2004

Busithoth - when are you and your ilk going to learn?

who is his "ilk?"
posted by mcsweetie at 1:11 PM on January 10, 2004

Perhaps 2sheets should have avoided the n-bomb, but I support his pointing out the kind of mentality that largely enables this occupation. I know the kind of xenophobes he's referring to: they have a thin scatter of factoids culled from AM talk radio that they use to legitimize the throbbing mass of racism that is the real engine for their support of the "war on terror." His usage was stark, but I welcome his message. And he's right: the Bush administration has already been caught in so many lies that it's clear those who support him probably see virtue in what they're doing, regardless of how it's done and at what cost.
posted by squirrel at 1:15 PM on January 10, 2004

REALLY? That's a bigger scandal? I guess you're right. If it weren't for people like me we'd be enjoying a scandal-free century.

Hmm, wait a minute. International law holds weight? That's a heartening, if not amusing, idea. The truth of it is if a country flaunts international will/law, actions against them are usually limited to sanctions, isolation-like tactics which starve them of whatever sustenance they might need to continue along their path. If 9 months of scouring the country proved anything, it's that Iraq's ability to strike with conventional weapons was primarily destroyed, and at best hobbled from 1992 onwards.

BUT I replied in a knee-jerk reaction, in retrospect, but it kills me to see people justifying the war as standing up for the UN (not touching on our attitude towards them before and after this resolution). This is like a bully beating the shit out of a kid who got suspended trying to justify it by claiming the kid wasn't repentent for being out of school. Vigilante International Law? Maybe that's where our new service economy can come from.

Oh, and no resolution would get passed through the security council, as the US has a VETO and would use it should one be drafted, again and again.
posted by Busithoth at 1:21 PM on January 10, 2004

BTW, leave my ilk out of it.
posted by Busithoth at 1:22 PM on January 10, 2004

The typical american could give a rats ass about any of this. Really. Look around you. Think that the mom in front of you at the stop light in the Hummer cares? Think that the idiot in line ahead of you buying the six pack of bud light cares? Think anyone cares?

The disdain you have for the common American is the reason you are in your current predicament, loud, angry and unable to do anything about it.
posted by Mick at 1:23 PM on January 10, 2004

What Squirrel and rushmc said. There were plenty of people at my office watching tv in the breakroom when the bombing of Baghdad started, and were whooping and high-fiving each other, along with using that expression. Having watched the twin towers crumble from less than a mile away on 911, I couldn't have been more disgusted at this display of wanton, idiotic bloodlust and more than overt (some Saudis and Egyptians attacked, us so now were killing us some eye-rackis) racism.

2sheets's usage was certainly crude, but he couldn't have been more concise in summing up that mentality.
posted by psmealey at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2004

"...While we're not in the business of doing book reviews, it appears that the world according to Mr. O'Neill is more about trying to justify his own opinions than looking at the reality of the results we are achieving on behalf of the American people,"
- Scott McClellan

That's what gets me. These guys are so confident that they will get away with all this that they no longer bother to deny what they've done. They just point to the "results" and ask us to forget about the means.
posted by Domain Master 666 at 1:45 PM on January 10, 2004

I think some people might be missing 2sheets' point. He's not using the term and thinking it's acceptable. He's saying that people all over the country (including, apparently, rural Virginia) are using the term, and more like it, whether or not we find it acceptable.

Seemed kind of obvious to me.
posted by swerve at 1:47 PM on January 10, 2004

What's REALLY a scandal is how many people talk in here without doing rudimentary research as to what they're talking about.

You mean, like gauging the potential threat contained in 36 10 year old artillery shells full mustard gas? Hardly sponge-worthy as an invasion rationale, methinks.
posted by y2karl at 1:47 PM on January 10, 2004

"During the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign, candidate George W. Bush and his foreign policy advisors strongly criticized the Clinton administration's policy towards Iraq. They charged that Saddam Hussein had effectively won the propaganda war and managed to place the blame for the suffering of the Iraqi people squarely on the international community, in particular the United States and Britain. This shifting of blame had occurred despite the oil-for-food program significantly improving the circumstances of Iraq's population.[26]
By the late 1990s, a number of foreign capitals were increasingly willing to overlook Saddam's own neglect of his people. Rather than ask why Iraq was not spending revenues from smuggled oil to benefit the Iraqi populace, or why there were unspent funds in the oil-for-food escrow account established by the UN Security Council, many countries wrongly concluded that the UN-imposed sanctions were to blame. Many countries, non-governmental organizations, and even members of the U.S. Congress openly questioned the purpose of continuing the sanctions on Iraq. The "Arab street" also increasingly viewed the sanctions as unjust, and Osama bin Laden has used the sanctions as a rallying point in his calls for a jihad against the United States.

After taking office in January 2001, the Bush administration conducted a several-month-long policy review and recommended shifts in U.S. policy to address the deteriorating situation. According to then-Assistant Secretary of State Einhorn, "the incoming Bush administration recognized immediately that the status quo was not sustainable and that time was not on our side."[27] Saddam Hussein remained a threat to the Persian Gulf region. Moreover, the successful acquisition by Saddam Hussein of nuclear weapons or other WMD had to be prevented....

During the 2000 U.S. presidential race, the Bush campaign supported the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime. Following its review of Iraq policy, the Bush administration continued to advocate a regime change. "The most reliable and durable way of addressing Iraq's WMD and other military capabilities would be to replace the regime in Baghdad," said Einhorn. "Given these conclusions, regime change became a very important component of the Bush administration policy toward Iraq."[42]

O'Neill needs some money i see. I guess old information coupled with "here say" makes for conviction.
posted by clavdivs at 2:01 PM on January 10, 2004

I'm passing on the language I hear from supporters of this war, and it's language that I've been hearing since the Iran hostage crisis

Please don't pass on ugly language. I've heard it from others, and I agree it's disgusting, but it's not funny or insightful to hear it. It muddies up your point, as you can see by this entire derailed thread.

I'm skeptical of O'Neil, seeing how he was ousted and he's selling a book right now. Has this become national news or is it just another blip? Has the White House said anything about it yet?
posted by mathowie at 2:09 PM on January 10, 2004

Hardly sponge-worthy as an invasion rationale, methinks.

I don't have anything to contribute to this discussion; I just wanted to note that this is the first confluence of Seinfeld and foreign policy I've seen. I was a Dean supporter, but now I eagerly await President Benes!
posted by me & my monkey at 2:14 PM on January 10, 2004

the reality of the results we are achieving on behalf of the American people

Don't do me no favors.

Please don't pass on ugly language.

Yes, reality is too harsh for our innocent little eyes. What if it were a Rumsfeld quote overheard when he didn't know his mike was on? Still not insightful? Half the problem with this country right now is that those who aren't short-sighted, bigoted might-makes-righters are turning a blind eye and giving free reign to those who are.
posted by rushmc at 2:20 PM on January 10, 2004

Have a land where not being a Muslim doesn't bring a death penalty with it.

Iraq was a secular-Arab state. Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz is a Chaldeen Christian. He was even granted an audience with the pope.
posted by crank at 2:20 PM on January 10, 2004

“Regime Change” In Iraq has been the official policy of The United States Government since 1998.

The United States Congress and President Clinton recognized a policy of Iraqi “Regime Change” in 1998 with passage of the Iraq Liberation Act (H.R.4655.ENR, 105th Congress)
It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.” 
(Public Law No.105-338)
So it has been the policy of the United States, long before Georege W. Bush was elected, to remove Saddam Hussein.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:21 PM on January 10, 2004

while we are on the subject of republicans revealing the little prince's secrets, kevin phillip's "american dynasty" is worth a read.
posted by specialk420 at 2:29 PM on January 10, 2004

y2karl - don't discount those shells. With a sufficiently large trebuchet, Saddam could have flung them all the way over the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic, to kill tens of thousands in Washington D.C.

On a more serious note, I think that this book is perhaps just as significant to the overall goals of the Neocon dominated Bush Administration as PNAC's agenda : "THE GRAND CHESSBOARD - American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives," Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997."

"it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book. (p. xiv)

"The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power has been much more ambivalent. The public supported America's engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." (pp 24-5)

"For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia... Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia - and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained." (p.30)

"In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." (p.31)

"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." (p.35)

"Two basic steps are thus required: first, to identify the geostrategically dynamic Eurasian states that have the power to cause a potentially important shift in the international distribution of power and to decipher the central external goals of their respective political elites and the likely consequences of their seeking to attain them;... second, to formulate specific U.S. policies to offset, co-opt, and/or control the above..." (p. 40)

"...To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (p.40)

"The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea." (p.125)

"It follows that America's primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it." (p148)

"America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe's central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and to America's historical legacy." (p.194)

"Without sustained and directed American involvement, before long the forces of global disorder could come to dominate the world scene. And the possibility of such a fragmentation is inherent in the geopolitical tensions not only of today's Eurasia but of the world more generally." (p.194)

"With warning signs on the horizon across Europe and Asia, any successful American policy must focus on Eurasia as a whole and be guided by a Geostrategic design." (p.197)

"That puts a premium on maneuver and manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition that could eventually seek to challenge America's primacy..." (p. 198)

"The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role." (p. 198)

"In the long run, global politics are bound to become increasingly uncongenial to the concentration of hegemonic power in the hands of a single state. Hence, America is not only the first, as well as the only, truly global superpower, but it is also likely to be the very last." (p.209)

"Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." (p. 211)

( thanks to Mike Ruppert for the quote selection )

I seriously doubt that containing the spread of WMD's was at the top of the Bush Adm. agenda in it's invasion of Iraq.

Brzezinski isn't controlling the Bush agenda, I think, but his perspective does exert a lot of influence. Who knows - he may well consider the invasion of Iraq to have been bungled, but he is probably glad for the overall shift in US foreign policy since GW Bush ascended the throne.
posted by troutfishing at 2:36 PM on January 10, 2004

Bush vulnerable? To what? A recent poll made the mistake of listing Bush in a one-on-one with the democratic candidates. In almost every one it was the same, with 43% voting for the democrat, whoever it was. Neither Al Sharpton or Lyndon LaRouche were mentioned.

What these endless news items do is NOT persuade the undecided. They are just "Oh, I hated Bush before, but now I *really*, *really*, *really*, *really* hate him", self-affirmations for the true believers; and empty babble to the infidels for Bush.

No, it just doesn't matter that this was a war for oil, or that evil corporations profiteered, or that cronyism was abundant, or that lies were told, or that Franco-Germany was snubbed, or that civilians died, or that US soldiers committed war crimes like kicking puppies, or that it pissed off lots of people who hate the US already.

It...just...doesn't...matter. Come up with an issue the public cares about or lose. It doesn't matter what you *want* them to care about. Find something they DO care about.

Maybe if Bush was to raise taxes on beer or something.
Or Dean were to pay Paris Hilton to date him a few times.
posted by kablam at 2:39 PM on January 10, 2004

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”
(Public Law No.105-338)

So it has been the policy of the United States, long before George W. Bush was elected, to remove Saddam Hussein.

No, it has been the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove Saddam Hussein, not to actually remove him ourselves. It should go without saying that there's a huge difference between the two.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:42 PM on January 10, 2004

It...just...doesn't...matter. Come up with an issue the public cares about or lose. It doesn't matter what you *want* them to care about. Find something they DO care about.

Maybe if Bush was to raise taxes on beer or something.

hmm...what was Mick saying earlier? about disdain for the common american?
posted by mcsweetie at 2:52 PM on January 10, 2004

I'm skeptical of O'Neil, seeing how he was ousted and he's selling a book right now.
It's not just O'Neill but co-author cum ghostwrtier Ron Suskind as well and there seems to be this little matter of documentation:

In addition to interviews with O'Neill, Suskind drew on 19,000 documents O'Neill provided, according to CBS, which said Suskind also interviewed dozens of Bush insiders to flesh out his account of the administration's first two years.

The former treasury secretary and other White House insiders gave Suskind documents that in the first three months of 2001 revealed the Bush administration was examining military options for removing Saddam Hussein, CBS said.

Another Pentagon document entitled ``Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts'' talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said.

[Author Ron] 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.

In the same poll kablam mentions, despite the fact that he did get to Willy Horton-ize Al Sharpton, Forty-eight percent of registered voters polled would like to see Bush re-elected-46 percent said they would not--now, that is a statistical dead heat.
posted by y2karl at 2:53 PM on January 10, 2004

Isn't this old news? Whatever happened to that "road map" memo that listed the goals of the Bush administration?

Y'know, the one that was written a year or two before the election even started? The one that listed Iraq as a [target|goal], what was that, 3+ years before 9/11?

posted by loquacious at 2:54 PM on January 10, 2004

Say, by the way, didn't we have someone here who said they'd be the administration's most vocal critic if no WMD's were found within 6 months apres invasion? Who was that and from where did that quote come? crunchland, do you recall?
posted by y2karl at 3:03 PM on January 10, 2004

this is an important turn of events because now we have an insider. yes, his motives are questionable and should be picked apart with a fine-toothed comb, but i would imagine that the bush admin are squirming in their shoes right now. otoh, will this make a difference in the upcoming election? i don't think so.

oh, and y2karl, you're a dick.
posted by poopy at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2004

Of course, for Bush, should that current growth rate of 20 new jobs per state per month continue, it will no doubt spell landslide in November for someone.
posted by y2karl at 3:16 PM on January 10, 2004

but i would imagine that the bush admin are squirming in their shoes right now.

how may of the voters that punch chads for al gore and ralph nader are going to change their vote this time? i think we can safely say nearly zero. how many independent voters has the boy king turned off with his lies and biggest expansion of federal government in recent history? more than a few .... throw in the steady trickle of defectors like o'neil ... and no matter what the FOX news polls say, i think its fair to say.... bush and team have plenty of reasons to squirm.

Clark and Spitzer 2004
posted by specialk420 at 3:33 PM on January 10, 2004

Boston, Mass.: Mr. Zogby,

While its early, with the nation split, I don't quite see how this election will be a replay of 1972. Do you see any red or blue states changing radically since 2000? It seems most were close either way.

John Zogby: That is a very good question. In some instances I think some blue states have gotten bluer because of the economy and Iraq and at the same time I think some red states have gotten redder post-9/11. I see the election as competitive., However, in addition to Florida, which one would have to argue is leaning red, I am looking at Ohio and Missouri as two Bush states that could go Democrat. Interestingly a compelling argument could be made for a Dean/Gephardt ticket which would help solidify that.

And don't forget that in the wings, stage right, is Enron--all ready to hit the fan. Oliver Willis will be so pleased.
posted by y2karl at 3:33 PM on January 10, 2004

"I think some people might be missing 2sheets' point. "

I think a lot of people get the point, but "that word" does have the power to inflame in a way that few others do.
I'd rather stay on point than defend its use and derail a more important conversation.

"Half the problem with this country right now is that those who aren't short-sighted, bigoted might-makes-righters are turning a blind eye and giving free reign to those who are."

And that is the point I was trying to make, delivered in a more eloquent fashion. The people using the language I quoted are invisible in the media, as they were during the Vietnam war. We may debate tactics and intelligence gathering, but it is forbidden to take an unflinching look at the real motivations for going to war.
There were calls to "bomb the entire middle east into the stone-age" long before the first Gulf War, and to return to the subject of this thread, those people don't care about this new information.
posted by 2sheets at 3:35 PM on January 10, 2004

This in and of itself may not make a difference in the coming election, but the "management" of the occupation of Iraq is absolutely certain to be a factor.

To that end, I received my copy of this month's Atlantic Monthly today, focused largely on the "debacle" of our occupation.

Many of the allegations are not particularly new, but the gist of them - that the administration more or less completely ignored State and all its studies of what might go wrong in post-war Iraq, assumed the best at most every turn because failing to do so was "deafeatist - is a damning indictment of this administration; the question to be asked by Dean or whomever, and it will be asked, is how many American soldiers have died because the administration botched the post-war?
posted by kgasmart at 3:40 PM on January 10, 2004

The people using the language I quoted are invisible in the media

there are several groups working to change that...

Islam is a dynamite religion; My SUV (loves) iraqi oil; Screw France

Bring'em On, Allah; Kick Their Ass, Take Their Gas is the GOP itself:

posted by mcsweetie at 3:54 PM on January 10, 2004

All UN resolutions are non-binding.

In any event, plenty of bad-for-isreal UN Security Counsole resolutions have passed, only to be vetoed by the US. You'll never see a UNSC resolution against the US, France, China or the UK either. This dosn't mean those countries are perfict, just that have a UNSC veto.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 PM on January 10, 2004

(Busithoth, I hope you realize that I was teasing you, and being silly, not serious... I think that may not have come across as well as I hoped... it's the same trope over and over here on MeFi - good thread gets jacked by the I/P debate and I don't mean intellectual property... and your ilk? Well... fine, I'll leave your ilk out of it. But leave my kind alone too, then.)

Crank - not to put a fine point on it, but the Jews were run out of Iraq. Not that any country _wants_ Jews in it (except Israel and parts of the US) but many actually tolerate their jews quite happily. Being one, i'm glad I was born in the US, rather than, say, Saudi Arabia, where it carries the death penalty, or Iraq, where I would have ended up in either the US or Israel, due to a forced migration, or France, where attacks are up manifold but the EU refuses to publish their findings that report that..

Yes, that predates Hussein. No, the policies haven't changed that I'm aware of. Are you?

Or do Jews not deserve the same respect and privileges everyone else gets? I can't imagine that that's anyone realistic's position.

But MAN is that a thread derail.

I've got to say I'm impressed in here.

Mathowie, the voice of reason as usual. 2sheets acknowledges that the words he(?) used were offensive and he'd rather not have used them than have.

That's why I keep coming in here.

Group hug everybody. I'm serious.

(And McSweetie - the Screw France one I can understand, but that Islam one with the swastika, man, that poo ain't right. That's why even hawks like me will be voting democrat next election (assuming the dems put up an electable candidate)).
posted by swerdloff at 3:57 PM on January 10, 2004

Delmoi - since when is an unvetoed SecCouns resolution nonbinding?
posted by swerdloff at 4:05 PM on January 10, 2004

If they were planning it since January 2001, doesn't this give them less of an excuse for such poor planning of the occupation?
posted by inksyndicate at 4:12 PM on January 10, 2004

That's why even hawks like me will be voting democrat next election

Holy cow swerdloff, that's great to hear, seriously. With so many reports of people going the other direciton, what is the tipping point for your change?
posted by mathowie at 4:20 PM on January 10, 2004

what is the tipping point for your change?

swerdloff... if you need another reason - check out the phillips book, which should seal the deal.
posted by specialk420 at 4:33 PM on January 10, 2004

The history of Jews in Iraq (some of my more distant forebearers) is a lot more complicated then simply being driven out. there are some great books on the subject. Anyway, as you say, thread derail.
posted by chaz at 4:40 PM on January 10, 2004

specialk420, at first glance that url reads: american and nasty : >
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on January 10, 2004

To that end, I received my copy of this month's Atlantic Monthly today, focused largely on the "debacle" of our occupation.

Again, it might be argued that the Atlantic Monthly is not about to change any minds, given its demographics.

However, I am firmly on the side of continuing to shine ever-brighter lights on this administration. The more cockroaches run out, the more people are bound to wake up and take notice, despite the core group of radical ideologues who would stand by Bush, denying any wrongdoing, through a holocaust. And given the split in voters in 2000 and afterwards, it would only take a small shift to produce the required result.
posted by rushmc at 5:17 PM on January 10, 2004

Yes, that predates Hussein. No, the policies haven't changed that I'm aware of. Are you?

Even according to your link the policy was never 'being Jewish merits execution' as you originally claimed.

Or do Jews not deserve the same respect and privileges everyone else gets?

Spare me...
posted by crank at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2004

Mathowie - candidly? I'm a New Yorker. Bush promised big to New York and then failed to deliver. He promised big in his "no children left behind" and failed to deliver. He's becoming the king of unfunded mandates.

And the fact that he planned Iraq before 9/11? But didn't just plan it, planned it as something that _would_ happen in his presidency?

Kinda makes me wonder about 9/11. Harkens back to the burning of the Reichstag. Not saying that Bush knew, or anyone knew, or Bush did it, or anything. But it's kind of convenient. Disgusting to think he or his administration would let 9/11 happen on their watch to topple Iraq, and frankly, I don't think they did, but their stonewalling on the inquiry isn't helping matters, and my opinion of them is slipping faster than you can say "Potemkin."

To me - if Bush and Company had the plan to take down Iraq in the DoD, fine. The DoD has plans to take down every country from the Atolls through Zimbabwe. That's their job. Fine.

But to have cabinet level discussion saying "ok, here's what we're gonna do" is way more sinister in my mind. And then to use 9/11 as an excuse to do what you were going to do? As cover? "Rogue states that could give terrorists WMDs?" Bah. Note that if he'd made the argument on humanitarian grounds, I'd be more firmly supportive of him.

Fine if there are connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda, it's Bush's dream come true. But he's failed to demonstrate those. And now it appears that Iraq was merely opportunistic.

Don't get me wrong - I'm still glad we're there - better the US have bases in Iraq than Germany, considering there is a war on terror on, and the Germans don't want us, and Saddam was evil. But this is the kind of evidence I've been asking my friends on the left (who usually responded with "you're just a crazy right wing LGFer" rather than providing me with facts...) to provide since the run up to war began. And here it is. Voila.

So - Democrat.
posted by swerdloff at 6:31 PM on January 10, 2004

So - since these are your aforementioned WMDs... wise choice.
posted by y2karl at 7:43 PM on January 10, 2004

Well - so them Dems gain one - I hope it's 1 X 1,000,000.

Meanwhile, I loved this comment because it's exactly what I thought - "If they were planning it since January 2001, doesn't this give them less of an excuse for such poor planning of the occupation?"

(posted by inksyndicate at 4:12 PM PST on January 10)

I don't know if the "Iraq provides the immediate justification" language was in the PNAC "Rebuilding America's Defenses" document before it was officially published (in what - 1999 or 2000?) but the document dates back to a 1991 Quadrennial Defense review when Dick Cheney was Secretary of State under George Bush Sr.

Paul Wolfowitz circulated a draft which was leaked and caused considerable controversy for advocating that the US might need to chart a unilateral foreign policy course.

"Paul Wolfowitz's then-controversial "Defense Planning Guidance" draft. Since then, many of the goals in the draft have become the hallmarks of the Bush foreign policy doctrine."
posted by troutfishing at 7:44 PM on January 10, 2004

Well, they aren't that scrunched...
posted by y2karl at 7:45 PM on January 10, 2004

Thanks, troutfishing.

The other thing is that this shines a less attractive light on Rumsfeld's famous memo on Sept. 11 -- when he asked someone to find whether this would justify a plan to "hit SH."
posted by inksyndicate at 7:52 PM on January 10, 2004

Nice post, Swerdloff. The Reichstag comparison sticks in my head as well - like you, not saying that it was perpetrated in any way, but in that the event is used as cover, used to justify something those running the show wanted to do in the first place; it is indeed so much more convenient when you can say that you need to enact punitive measures, lest you become a victim.
posted by kgasmart at 8:06 PM on January 10, 2004

This makes Cheney's secret energy meetings a while ago (pre-war) more interesting too, no?
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on January 10, 2004

I have plans on how I'm going to spend my multi-million dollar lottery win.
posted by HTuttle at 10:03 PM on January 10, 2004

Those bombs are clearly biological weapons. Look! They're teeming with tetanus!
posted by Ptrin at 10:03 PM on January 10, 2004

Well I can't say that I'm surprised, but it is nice to see confirmed what I had suspected all along. Maybe we can get an administration that cares about America next time around...
posted by nyukid at 4:20 AM on January 11, 2004

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”
(Public Law No.105-338)

So it has been the policy of the United States, long before George W. Bush was elected, to remove Saddam Hussein.

as me&mymonkey pointed out already, there really is no ratio in the Iraqi Liberation Act (btw one of the Clinton era's -- and Republican-Congress-made -- saddest pieces of legislation, together with the appalling Telecommunications Act) for preemptive invasion -- you know, English is not even my native language but I even I understand that "support efforts" is not really the same thing as "invade no matter what".
but at this point I guess truth itself is unpatriotic -- I mean, using 3,000 corpses as a battering ram to pass one's longtime pet project sounds bad enough that I understand Bush fans (lame) efforts to shift the blame, somehow, on somebody else -- I mean, having happily swallowed Chalabi's badly made-up intelligence is embarrassing enough

O'Neill needs some money i see.
unlike "Honest Dick" Cheney, I assume
posted by matteo at 7:43 AM on January 11, 2004

mathowie: I don't care if he's from rural Virginia. I don't want to hear Dune Coon or Sand Nigger from him or anybody else.

2sheets: Joe Twelve-pack uses those terms.

rushmc: That's not the point, 2sheets. The point is that Towel Head and Camel Jockey are perfectly good substitutes.

posted by ahughey at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2004

There's another way to look at the construction of a rationals for the invasion of Iraq - the "Shotgun Strategy" : throw many different reasons out because there is a high probability that at least one will seem, at least in hindsight, appropriate.

Weapons of Mass Destruction !

Iraq links to Al Qaeda !

Saddam is a Bad man !


oil !

Pump up the economy with deficit defense spending !

Test out new urban warfare tactics !

Destabilize Middle east, to justify further invasions !

What the hell. We're bored !

posted by troutfishing at 11:43 AM on January 11, 2004

You know, this whole let's dump on France and Germany thing is so old. When we were attacked by Al Qaeda, the French and Germans backed us up. Both now have troops on the ground in Afghanistan under NATO command, taking casualties on our behalf. Jeez, and the Germans are letting us use their airspace and our bases on their soil for resupplying the war in Iraq and evacuating our casualties. Let's ignore that, too.

Not that that these facts have any traction with the warbloggers--not to mention the tittybloggers.

The French and Germans didn't want to jump on the let's -nvade-because-of-the-imminent danger boat in Iraq? Well, duh... There wasn't an imminent danger. If you're the sort of pathetic nimrod who needs a whipping boy nation, choose Russia--Russian companies sold the Iraqi army night vision goggles right before the war.

I didn't realize before today that O'Neill was on the National Security Council--which makes his contribution to Suskind's book even more credible.
posted by y2karl at 2:08 PM on January 11, 2004

This has got to be one of the best war-related threads in a long time. Makes me proud to be part of this happening. Thanks.
posted by squirrel at 2:29 PM on January 11, 2004

O'Neill needs some money I see

According to 60-minutes O'Neill is not taking any money for his contributions to the book.
posted by humbe at 4:43 PM on January 11, 2004

Belatedly (and briefly), using derogatory language as an illustration of what's being said is a perfectly valid way of bringing light to it. It's a literary tactic, and a powerful one at that. From the reaction in-thread, those words hold quite a bit of power, and the fact that they still exist and are being used means that something's wrong. Cowering away from them certainly isn't going to help.

Political correctness is last thing we need, if we want to be aware of the isms that are still very prevalent. I think we need to learn how to take things in context. These racism call-outs tend to obscure very valid viewpoints.

With that said, I love how O'Neill didn't take any money for the book. What I like more is how he's being painted already as "wacky." Five bucks says all of his skeletons are banging on his closet door as we speak.
posted by precocious at 5:54 PM on January 11, 2004

Bush Sought ‘Way’ To Invade Iraq?

From 60 Minutes transcript tonight:

And that came up at this first meeting, says O’Neill, who adds that the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later.

He got briefing materials under this cover sheet. “There are memos. One of them marked, secret, says, ‘Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,’" adds Suskind, who says that they discussed an occupation of Iraq in January and February of 2001.

....Everything came to a head for O'Neill at a November 2002 meeting at the White House of the economic team.

“It's a huge meeting. You got Dick Cheney from the, you know, secure location on the video. The President is there,” says Suskind, who was given a nearly verbatim transcript by someone who attended the meeting.

He says everyone expected Mr. Bush to rubber stamp the plan under discussion: a big new tax cut. But, according to Suskind, the president was perhaps having second thoughts about cutting taxes again, and was uncharacteristically engaged.

“He asks, ‘Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again,’” says Suskind.

“He says, ‘Didn’t we already, why are we doing it again?’ Now, his advisers, they say, ‘Well Mr. President, the upper class, they're the entrepreneurs. That's the standard response.’ And the president kind of goes, ‘OK.’ That's their response. And then, he comes back to it again. ‘Well, shouldn't we be giving money to the middle, won't people be able to say, ‘You did it once, and then you did it twice, and what was it good for?’"

But according to the transcript, White House political advisor Karl Rove jumped in.
“Karl Rove is saying to the president, a kind of mantra. ‘Stick to principle. Stick to principle.’ He says it over and over again,” says Suskind. “Don’t waver.”

posted by y2karl at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2004

Time: Confessions Of A White House Insider

O'Neill had been preaching that a fiscal crisis was looming and more tax cuts would exacerbate it. But others in the White House saw a chance to capitalize on the historic Republican congressional gains in the 2002 elections. Surely, Cheney would not be so smug. He would hear O'Neill out. In an economic meeting in the Vice President's office, O'Neill started pitching, describing how the numbers showed that growing budget deficits threatened the economy. Cheney cut him off. "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said. O'Neill was too dumbfounded to respond. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms. This is our due."
posted by y2karl at 9:35 PM on January 11, 2004

As much as I want to get in on the fun here, when I see the word "plan", it reads different to me.

Americans plan for lots of contingencies. Heck, just after the First World War, Canada planned an invasion of the United States. Well, not so much as an agressive act, more as a pre-emptive strike before a US invasion of Canada could get underway. But at least one military analysist has said the Canadian plan would have knocked an American invasion flat, giving Britain enough time to reinforce Canada and... I'm talking too much. Sorry.

Frankly, I'd be more surprised if Bush didn't plan this. I would hope his government has "plans" for a lot of contingencies. It's likely there are plans for dealing in a similar fashion with a lot of threat nations, up to and including China. And it doesn't surprise me that he'd be pushing for a reason to use those plans to deal with Iraq. Just as FDR had plans to deal with Germany in WW2 (Plan Black, I think) and only awaited Pearl Harbor to unleash them.

So 1) he had plans, as virtually every nation has plans 2) he hoped for an opportunity to use one particular plan, possibly to complete his daddy's work 3) he took advantage of a situation to enact this special plan. Big deal. He used the cover of 9/11 to invade Iraq. Where's the surprise?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:24 AM on January 12, 2004


several people have pointed out that the government should have such plans somewhere. However, since in 2001 there really was no impetus to invade Iraq, these plans should have really only been discussed by the DoD and State dept officials internally. The fact that these plans were discussed at Cabinet meetings is indicative that it was not just contingency planing.
posted by nads at 7:43 AM on January 12, 2004

HI, I'm YFORKARL and I'm hear to tell ya's that I want, more jobs for iraqis, never mind that iraq has mismangaed (to say the least) it's money for 35 years, i want progress. It dont take no 6 months, hell i woulda let saddam live, had him sell and buy what ever and keep killing people because it is americas fault....

yeah, all bets are off.

Early on, O'Neill, 67, aroused accusations of potential conflicts of interest when he said he would not sell nearly $100 million in Alcoa stock he aquired during his time as CEO of the company, but he later agreed to sell the stock.

guess he don't need the money.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill Poisoned Central Texas
Paul O'Neill
Did you ever wonder why the Texas Oil Mafia chose Paul O'Neill as Treasury Secretary? After all, O'Neill was CEO of Aluminum giant Alcoa, based in Pittsburgh. Now we learn the answer: "Alcoa's Rockdale power plant has illegally emitted hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic pollutants into the Central Texas air since the mid-1980s, state and federal environmental regulators said Wednesday."

posted by clavdivs at 8:32 AM on January 12, 2004

nads, the "impetus" came from the incomplete work of Bush senior. The Republicans had some unfinished business in the region, and were looking for an opportunity to finish it. That's hardly surprising.

We can all agree there would have been operational plans in place for an invasion, even under Clinton. I would think it was obvious Bush Jr. would look favourably on an opportunity to oust Saddam, should the opportunity arise. And that's as far as this story goes.

If the cabinet discussed it prior to 9/11, that's hardly damning. It's a big step to go from "we'd really like it if we could do this... any ideas how we can make this happen?" to "OK, we're going to launch the invasion in March or April, 2003... who can think up a good excuse to cover our tracks?". The latter is the tone this story is taking, when it's really the former.

It's conjecture I know, but had 9/11 not happened, it wouldn't matter how many cabinet discussions they had about an Iraq invasion. They couldn't have gathered enough will to do it. Geez, look at all the dissent the actually encountered (domestically, of course - international outrage would never have made any difference to them). Take away an event of the magnitude of 9/11 and there's very little chance this plan would have ever made it out of the cabinet room.

All the planning in the world means little if there's no Pearl Harbor or 9/11 event, that's the point I was making.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:56 AM on January 12, 2004

it's kinda sad to see clavdivs degenerating into "oh you're not 100% on board with the war? well I guess you hate america and want saddam back in power!" I thought he would be above that sorta thing.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:04 AM on January 12, 2004

Well, he has the right to toss in his two bottle caps and a pigeon feather now and then...
posted by y2karl at 9:12 AM on January 12, 2004

ghost: you seem to be trying to make a connection between Iraq and 9/11. You know they had nothing to do with each other, right?

Do you really not see the difference between a contingency plan and cabinet level meetings about an invasion?
posted by bshort at 10:33 AM on January 12, 2004

Except for the tuning fork, the room was silent. Leaves and pigeon feathers and pages from essays were twirling aimlessly in the air, curlicuing in and out of the blasted wall. There was a fine white smoke layering the room and a smell like burning swimming-pool chemicals.

Nasty ole broken link
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2004

bshort: No, I'm not making a connection between 9/11 and Iraq. But 9/11 did give Bush an opening to go after terrorist groups and the nations supporting them. It was the smokescreen behind which he was able to assert his own agenda. It's almost like Pearl Harbor (Japanese attack) allowing FDR to go after Germany (not involved in Pearl). "Almost" because Germany declared war on the US first, solving a technicality FDR needed to overcome to get involved in Europe. Had it not been for Hitler's bravado in supporting his tripartite pact ally, there was a real, albeit small, chance the US would have been limited to a war versus Japan only. I can't imagine that happening, but I've read about its possibility.

And while there is a difference between a contingency plan that is never enacted and cabinet level meetings about an invasion that might never happen, the distinction is minimal.

Remember when Clinton authorized the cruise missile strikes against al-Qaeda targets? Do you think they didn't discuss other, stronger options? When it comes to cabinet meetings, every option goes on the table. Some get dismissed quickly. With this group, invading Iraq appears to have been a cause celebre. They likely fantasized about toppling Saddam on the campaign trail, too. But unless someone can come up with something more than "boy, if we ever get the chance, do you know what I'd like to do? Take a bunch of mechanized divisions, airborne teams, and a shitload of marines and just stomp on Baghdad", then I'll remain underwhelmed.

(Just to be clear, I think the whole Iraq invasion was a load of crap anyway, and a stupid way to piss away the moral high ground and the support of much of the world. And I think the Democrats are idiots for harping on this subject. Remember "It's the economy, stupid"? Still is. The best chance the US has to oust Bush is to deal with an issue people care about. Iraq ain't it.)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:32 AM on January 12, 2004

So wait, what terrorist groups was Saddam hiding?

And what we're talking about here is the former Secretary of Commerce coming forward with the assertion that Bush had a hard on to invade Iraq before anything else happened, and that this was explored in Cabinet Meetings.

If you can't see the difference between that and idle fantasizing then you're either willfully ignorant or profoundly stupid.
posted by bshort at 4:28 PM on January 12, 2004

bshort: So now it's down to ad hominem? Wonderful debating skills you have there.

You're completely mistaking my point, as is obvious from your insistence on suggesting I'm making a direct connection between Saddam and 9/11. So I'll take it slow.

Bush wanted to invade Iraq. It's been very well documented that this predated the election. There's nothing new there.

But Bush needed an excuse, a reason to invade. Saddam's refusal to comply with UN resolutions wasn't enough. Had 9/11 never happened, Saddam would still be in control in Baghdad, likely until he died, unless some other event of 9/11 proportions such as another invasion of Kuwait or an attack against Israel happened.

Still, 9/11 did happen, so Bush seized upon it and bent the facts and presented fallacious arguments to engineer an Iraq war.

See? No tie between 9/11 and Saddam. The Iraqi dictator had nothing to do with 9/11. But because of 9/11, Bush was able to gain the approval to topple his regime. OK? Can we get past that part now?

As for the discussions in cabinet, cripes man, it's still idle fantasizing even in a cabinet meeting if there's nothing that can be or is done about it. Or are you suggesting Bush, in cabinet, caused 9/11 to happen in order to give him the excuse he needed to invade Iraq? Talk is just that, talk. There's a lot of it in cabinet. There was likely talk about invading Iraq during Clinton's administration, too. But we judge by actions, not talk. Did they take it that step further and actually do anything? No.

"Plan" is a tricky word. It can connotate intention or action. Bush's pre-9/11 Iraqi invasion planning was intention - he intended to do it if conditions permitted. It was not action - he was not acting to bring about the conditions necessary to permit it. That is a huge distinction. I could "plan" to become a millionaire, but until I actually get off my ass and put together a business "plan", it's just plain fantasy.

Do you get it now?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:15 AM on January 13, 2004

In case anybody's still paying attention to this and/or hanging their hopes on trashing O'Neill's credibililty... his story has been confirmed by a second source, according to ABC.
posted by soyjoy at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2004

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