Saturday, January 10, 2004
Saddam's Ouster Planned In 2001?|
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.I hope O'Neill is the first of many to tell the true stories of this White House. They cut taxes for the rich. They planned wars and then waited for an excuse to invade. They ruined the economy and trashed our international reputation. The Bill of Rights has been shredded. The environment is endangered. Who among us can honestly say that they are better off now than they were four years ago? Why would anyone making less than $1 million a year vote for this man? I cannot think of a single reason. He doesn't give a damn about you. Send the miserable failure back to Texas.
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 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."
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.
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.