CBS 60 Minutes --- Iraq War Planned Pre-9/11?

From CBS news:

Saddam Ouster Planned Early '01?

Jan. 10, 2004

Iraq War Planned Pre-9/11?

(CBS) The Bush Administration began making 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 to CBS News Correspondent 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.”

O’Neill, fired by the White House for his disagreement on tax cuts, is the main source for an upcoming book, “The Price of Loyalty,” authored by Ron Suskind. […]
[Edited out of copyright concerns. Do not post the full text of copyrighted articles; post links or short excerpts only. --Gaudere]

It is frowned upon here to cut and paste entire articles. A mod should be along shortly.

The Pentagon is FULL of bookcases with war plans to invade just about everybody there is, and with the behavior of Iraq over the last decade, I would find it shocking and irresponsible if they DIDN’T brush off those plans when this administration took over. I also presume they brushed off the North Korea plan, and the plan to handle Cuba when Castro dies, and the plan for Liberia, and the plan for India/Pakistan, and the plans for Syria and Iran, too.

Contingency plans are not what O’Neill is referring to. He seems to be saying that Bush & Co. already had intent to directly topple Saddam before 9/11. The Bush admin pre-9/11 said that they would support efforts to topple Saddam, but didn’t disclose that they already intended to actually directly carry out such a plan.

My thought exactly.

Also–news stories that start out “disgruntled ex-employee reveals secrets about former employer” don’t generate a whole lot of interest in my corner of the Internet.

Especially if there’s a book deal in the pipeline…

Well, poot, my “thought exactly” was what Uncle Bill said. So just pretend like Gyan’s post isn’t there… :smiley:

I suggest people to go to the PNAC website to become informed of one and an other.

Salaam. A

I don’t see where the traction would have come from without 9/11 to push the American people into going along. How would they have gotten the support of Congress without something like 9/11 happening? How would they have gotten the people on board?? Even WITH such an event, look at the opposition from the people. Imagine if they had of tried such a thing cold…‘lets just invade Iraq’! I’m sure that would have gone over well.

And before anyone rants at me, I’m NOT saying Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. However, only a fool could fail to notice that the event shocked the American people and made them much more plyable as far as external military adventures were concerned. And certainly it had that effect on Congress.


There are quite a few conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and from what I’ve seen much of Europe believes them. I’ve talked to a few friends I have in France and Germany and they are fairly certain there was something shady going on with 9/11, more than we’ve been told. Could be just a couple cases but they are fairly well read and don’t just make snap judgements.

As far as the validity of those claims, I’ve seen some convincing arguments and some very unconvincing arguments. Unfortunately investigating any of these is pretty taboo as of right now.

What are some of the convincing arguments?

Whats going to be most interesting is how the denials will be phrased. So far, it looks like they’re going for nasty and dismissive

"O’Neill’s tone in the book is not angry or sour, though it prompted a tart response from the Administration. “We didn’t listen to him when he was there,” said a top aide. “Why should we now?”,9171,1101040119-574809,00.html

So far, no such denials have been forthcoming, I suspect they’re waiting until after 60 Minutes airs. My guess: they’ll go for a carefully worded non-denial, the kind of thing that ignores the question and answers a question not asked, something along the lines of “The White House regrets that a once trusted and respected adviser has gone off the deep end…” They probably won’t actually directly deny the substance of O’Neills charges, they’ll just issue a statement much like that, and pretend that dignity compels them to make no further comment.

Not here at the Straight Dope Message Board, it isn’t.

What are some of the “convincing arguments”?

Fresh in from Drudge
O’Neill says there never was any evidence of WMDs either.

I find O’Neill quite credible. Book deal or not, guys like this don’t just invent stories out of whole cloth and, as 'lucy points out, the Bushies haven’t actually denied any of this, they’re just being sneering and dismissive.

On the one hand, it has been over 25 years since I accepted anything that 60 Minutes has broadcast without confirmation from three independent sources. They have been living on an early reputation for probity that they have not maintained in a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time.

On the other hand, while I do expect the Pentagon to have contigency plans for just about any possible war, I doubt that the Treasury Secretary very often hears about our plans for the defense of the Philipines or Taiwan or the invasion of Canada unless there is imminent action being discussed. Beyond that, taking out Hussein was an explicit desire that GWB mentioned on severeal occasions during the 2000 campaign.

Same quote, different source:

So if no one listened to him while he was Secretary of the Treasury, why was he in the job in the first place?

Saying it’s “laughable” also isn’t the same as saying it didn’t happen.

Did anyone see that O’Neill characterized cabinet meetings with Bush as being like “a blind man in a roomful of deaf people?”

O’Neill says that Bush did not ask questions of his advisors and that they did not ask questions of him.

Bush still thinks he a CEO who just gives orders to yes men.

As Treasury Secretary, he had a bad habit of talking too much. None of the things he said were untrue, it’s just that, you know, some things you just don’t come out and say directly.
Me, I noticed that he actually came out and said the US wanted a weaker dollar. Just not done. What happens is, the market takes down the dollar, and if anyone asks you and you’re Treasury Secretary, you say “Of course we want a strong dollar!” You just don’t attach the -er to strong and everyone gets what you mean.
Apparently, that didn’t matter to Bush until he got in the way of one of his endless rounds of tax cuts. THAT is unforgivable.

The President, 03/17/03

re: evidence of WMD

Does every cabinet level Secretary have access to all intelligence data? If not, where is the line drawn? Treasury is pretty important, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t privy to all intelligence data like DoD or State would be.

Hopefully the interviewer will be tough and ask questions like this. I won’t begin to be convinced unless O’Neil states he was told there’s no evidence, but we’re going in anyway. Just because he didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Here’s a link to an article by Pat Buchanan that seems to make the case that the war was on the drawingboard long before 9/11: