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Invasion Of Iraq Planned From Bushs Inauguration


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from upcoming CBS news interview of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

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 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.

if this doesnt prove this was a group of old rich white men with deslusions of imperialism, i dont know what would. nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with WMD, nothing to do with human rights. all Neo-con thinking to screw up the world. all the bush admin should be charged with war crimes right along side saddam.


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This is news????

Actually, I figured that an invasion of some ME country was planned back in the eighties. Only when all the pieces fell together did it become reality.

911 provided the will, Saddam provided the excuse and Iraq was the perfect location.

I can't underestand why the Left still thinks that WMD provided the US with any reason for invasion other than a legal and justifiable excuse to Seed Democracy in the ME.

As I have said many times before, did you notice when Iraq started to suddenly find all sorts of stuff to turn in to Blix that the Administration shifted it's attention and reasoning from WMD to 'Regime Change?'

It's not news and if this sort of stuff is a big deal 'revelationwise' to you, I'm willing to bet that there is a lot more mind blowing stories to come your way yet.

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It's not news and if this sort of stuff is a big deal 'revelationwise' to you, I'm willing to bet that there is a lot more mind blowing stories to come your way yet.

well its news to get a first hand acccount that shows all this 9/11 and WMD justification was just lies. everyone knew it, but now the whole word can hear it right from a member of the US gov. the iraq war was just a neo-con view of the world with no basis in security or human rights. the world should see the evil of this even more when oneil tells the account first hand.

this makes the US a pseudo terror state in a 3 piece suit

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Maybe a terror state to terrorists and those who harbor them but to any thinking person in the rest of the world they are doing what needed to be done.

There is a reason why Terrorists come from the ME. That reason is hopelessness. The tiny bit of wealth that they have is enjoyed by the top .001% of the population - Dictators, Royalty and relatives of Royalty. Hardly equitable. I am surprised that most Liberals do not attack this unbalance. Anyhow, for thousands of years it has not been a problem as the meager sources of food and water were able to support the population. Now that the population has increased these old ways no longer work. What you have here is a massive population restricted in adapting to the changing world by archaic customs, secular oppression and a system of government that may have worked well in the time of Ali Baba but in the age of Global Trade works like a square wheel.

Something had to give. The ruling class, unwilling and afraid to grant freedom maintained the status quo and actually deflected blame to areas outside their country. Lacking any means to attack their own oppressive governments the population was more than willing to embrace hope in any form. Islam gives that.

Radical Islam needs two things to work and keep those who head it in power; a common enemy and recruits. The USA provides the enemy and is actually encouraged by the ruling class as it is a 'Better us than them' situation. Recruits are easily found in the cesspool of despair found throughout the ME.

9 11 proved to us that this situation can affect us. Something must change and rather than simply bomb the heck out of every country that harbors terrorists we did something different. Dropped a 'Democracy Bomb' on Iraq.

The theory goes that like Communism, Democracy is infectious. If Iraq succeeds then other Arab countries will partake of it in various ways. For example, it would be extremely difficult for Assad in Syria to tell his people that the Great Satan is 'Treading on Them' when right next door there is a vibrant, modern and socially free Arab country. Iran and SA will also be placed on the spot to make some sort of social changes, otherwise their people will know that they have been duped by their own rulers for all these years.

Sure, it looks as though we are the 'Big Bully' however remember, Iraq has not been an actual country for years. It was a personal torture chamber for Saddam and sons, the whole country, for thirty five years has been geared to satisfying his will. Hardly a 'Sovereign Nation.' When he began to project his will to other countries like Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia he became a problem for the world.

After 9 11 he became an opportunity for the world. He was not well liked and would hardly be missed. The population would be happy to be free of him and with all the oil wealth they could build a great democratic country with social freedom for all. This was the opportunity the US took advantage of.

The end result will be a place where there is hope in this world, where a person involved in building a rewarding life will be too busy to even think of running off to some scorpion infested cave to blow himself to bits for some screwed up bearded fellow. Pretty much it's like you put once (if I remember right) 'draining the swamp' so that infestations of undesirable insects don't generate themselves.

America has no interest to colonize or expand themselves into this area. Sure, they will now compete with all countries for the fruits of Iraq's labor at fair market value. Really though, when was the last time that America freed a country and then stayed to rule? When was the last time they removed government and formed a US state in it's place?

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I agree with most of your post Krusty, with the following caveats:

- Almost every government makes up bogeyman for its own purposes, Canada included. Remember Brian Tobin grandstanding over the offshore fishing issue ?

- True democracy in the middle east could very well mean the election of a government which is hostile to Israel. This is not an easily solvable problem. Hopefully, the peoples of these countries will start to see the benefits of peaceful co-existence even if acceptance is impossible. I believe Iran, even with its problems, is starting to see the wisdom of this path.

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KrustyKidd said about O'Neill's "expose"of the Bush Admin. making plans for regime change in Iraq before 9/11:

This is news???? Actually, I figured that an invasion of some ME country was planned back in the eighties. Only when all the pieces fell together did it become reality.

You're right KK-this is not news.

In fact if O'Neill and Lesley Stahl, who interviewed him on 60 minutes, were not so dishonest they would have brought to light a factual little tidbit...Congress and President Bill Clinton voted "regime change in Iraq" as official US law as of October 31, 1998.

Congress First Voted to Back Regime Change in Iraq in 1998 under President Bill Clinton

Clinton in fact was getting very vocal about using whatever means necessary to get Saddam out of Iraq, but then the Monica Lewinsky impeachment thingie came up in January, 1999 and Clinton became distracted.

So, I repeat, regime change was official US policy as of October 31,1998. It's no wonder the Bush Admin. talked about it pre-9/11...for that matter, so did the Clinton Admin.

As for O'Neill...what an arrogant twit. He was fired by Bush and now he's trying to get revenge. He's the moron who was dancing with Bono in Africa while he was Treasury Dept. Head...duh...how does Africa, schmmozing with"give peace a chance" singer activist, and treasury all relate to one another? Answer: they don't except in O'Neill's brain. O'Neill was also strongly opposed to Bush's plan for tax cuts, which turned out to be the best thing that could have been done to kickstart the US economy.

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Firstly, this guy was fired...so ya cna't take what he says too far. If I was fired from my job, I wouldn't have much good to say about it.

Second, isn't that stuff classified and even if he is telling the truth, isn't he violating national security by spilling the beans?

Third, so what if Bush wanted to go after Saddam since he was govenor...he's the commander in cheif of the armed forces. If he gives and order, it happens. He answers to the voters. If what he does is reckless, we have the power to impeach him. If we don't like him, we don't reelect him. He doesn't need a reason to do anything but must be reay to answer to the American people. He felt it was a danger to national security to let Saddam stay in power. That's enough for me. He has access to all military data and can therefore form the best opinion where no one else can see all that stuff. When the US decided to go to Iraq, we had the majority of the country wanting it. That's enough. Even if none of the country wanted us to go and we had no reason other than he was a security threat, he's the commander in chief and can do what he wants. If the American people don't like it, they can impeach or not vote for him next term. If the rest of the world doens't like it, tough luck cause it's our country and we our President answers only to the people of America.

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it would be stupid to consider having an "official policy" of regime stage equal to launching an invasion of a non-threatening soveriegn arab state.

the US has lots of official policies. i'm sure not smuggling arms to terrorists/rebels was an official policy if you asked reagan way back in the 80s. i'm sure it was clintons official policy not to get bjs in the oval office. i'm sure its bushs official policy not to lie and lie and lie to hype up wars.

the truth an official policy of wanting dictators out is meaningless. its whats you do about it. the official policy doesnt seem to apply to saudi arabia when the oil is cheap.

the point is that the war was hyped to the entire world, it was just another example of a strong country pushing around weak ones, WMDs and human rights were never even on the radar screen, just smoke screens.

if it was about terror links, the US itself is guilty of arming terrorists

if it was about human rights, the US itself is guilty of supporting the world human rights abusers.

anything else, adn the US must prove thier case before the world else be considered a rogue nation

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You don't get it.

President Clinton and the 105th Congress passed the

Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) in 1998 to liberate Iraq, not Saudi Arabia, not any other despotic regime and we know there are many. The law was specific to Iraq because even back then...that is before 9/11...the USA identified Saddam Hussein as a "threat to international order."

Enough said. You can bluster all you want but regime change for Iraq was passed under a left wing President.Clinton even to this day, when he visited Portugal, told the PM there that he was certain with all the intelligence he saw that Saddam had WMD.

To call the USA a "rogue" nation is laughable. The USA must be in good company considering that 3/4 of the hallowed UN is comprised of rogue nations.

As for the USA supporting human rights abusers...the man whose tax dollars support Fidel Castro has no room to sit in judgement of others.

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O'Neill was fired from his position and like a good little crybaby who can make some money from his experience, he publishes an immature little book on why he is great and others stupid.

O'Neill was fired for incompetence. As well he never had the access he claims to have had on foreign affairs. No way, Bush never liked his ideas or his manner and would never have involved O'Neill in any important discussions.

A man who was there and was in the inner circle supports this conclusion - O'Neill was incompetent and wrong on policy.

On Jan. 3, 2001, two and a half weeks before taking office, the president held an economic summit in Austin. Businesspeople and others active in the economy came to give their candid and private views on the state of the economy. Although the official data at the time suggested all was well, these people said that the economy was sliding rapidly. This galvanized the president into pushing for rapid enactment of the "insurance policy" he had campaigned on. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve had reached the same conclusion, making the first of what turned out to be 13 cuts in the federal-funds rate, on the very same day.

Mr. O'Neill joined the administration in late January, without the benefit of this background. Convinced by his own judgment and by the official data that had been released during 2000 suggesting that the economy was doing fine, he sought to minimize the potential size of the tax cut. We now know, but did not know then, that the economy had started its decline in the quarter before the election.

One of Mr. O'Neill's suggestions was to have the tax cut trigger off if the government ran a deficit. The view had two problems -- one process, one policy. Upon taking office, the role of the so-called policy shop in the White House is to implement the program on which the president campaigned and was elected. In all three administrations in which I served, a record was kept of these commitments that may seem inflexible to some. But it is the best method I know of to ensure democratic accountability for those who staff a new administration. While flexibility develops over time as circumstances change, Mr. O'Neill was advancing an idea that had been rejected in the campaign at a time when the governing process is most focused on carrying out the will of the electorate.

Of even more concern to me was the policy implication of the O'Neill proposal. The tax cut was there to cushion the economic downturn resulting from the bubble's collapse. Mr. O'Neill's plan meant that if the downturn was so severe as to cause revenues to collapse, the tax cut would have to be cancelled just at the time the economy needed it the most!

More generally, the policy-making process can be a frustrating one, and Mr. O'Neill certainly experienced that. Many issues arise that do not fit neatly into a single cabinet department's jurisdiction. For example, a trade issue such as steel tariffs affects the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative most directly. But the Labor Department can be involved if firms might fail and their pension plans might be taken over by the government. The Office of Management and Budget can be involved because of budget effects, and the Treasury and the Council of Economic Advisers because of the economic impact.

The White House policy staff organizes these disparate agencies on an issue-by-issue basis, trying to discover and stop unintended consequences from a policy action that a single agency may have overlooked. From time to time, this interagency process looks like a "power grab" to a cabinet officer who sees an issue as being part of his "turf." When disagreements can't be resolved by the policy officials, the buck stops with the president, who makes the final call. Though it can be messy and time-consuming, the country is better served if all angles on a given decision are thoroughly vetted before it is implemented. In two decades of being involved in this process, I've never known anyone who thought they "won" on all the issues they should have.

Two of Mr. O'Neill's most troubling assertions about the decision-making process -- that the president is not engaged, and that he (Mr. O'Neill) was shut out of the process -- are simply false. Every night, the president goes home with a two-inch binder known as the Briefing Book. It contains the background material for each of the president's numerous meetings the next day. Having been grilled on the details in those briefing memos, I can personally attest that Mr. Bush does his homework. Woe is any official who is not prepared, because the president will be. I imagine the case method Mr. Bush learned at Harvard Business School was good preparation.

Each page of that Briefing Book must be cleared through a complex process run by the staff secretary. The White House policy councils must assure the staff secretary that the views of the relevant agencies are accurately portrayed. And since Treasury officials are regularly included in the meetings with the president, they have their own check. If Mr. O'Neill felt that material got to the president that blindsided him, he should have inquired within his own department.

It is in the area of tax policy that Mr. O'Neill seems most aggrieved, both about policy and process. Although he had been ebullient about the economy during much of 2001, 9/11 convinced Mr. O'Neill that business confidence needed a boost. He suggested a 15-point rate cut in the corporation income tax rate for two years. We took the idea directly to the president. But it was a nonstarter -- it just did not comport with the president's view of helping the economy by helping working families directly. This was a policy decision, not a process failure.

During 2002, it became clear that although the first round of tax cuts had ended the recession, the lingering effects of 9/11 and the bubble's burst were still weighing down the economy. Mr. O'Neill favored focusing resources on two big long-term reforms: a complete privatization of Social Security and the abolition of the corporation income tax. Both ideas were examined in detail. Instead, the president opted to propose an acceleration of the tax cuts, which were being phased in over several years. Passed in April, these tax cuts were instrumental in jump-starting the economy in the third quarter of 2003. The economy will continue growing in 2004 on the back of sound policy.

To some, including Mr. O'Neill, those tax cuts were a mistake because they did not make fundamental structural changes. The president instead opted to make modest positive structural improvements while putting money in people's pockets and sustaining economic growth in the near term. But more important, these could be enacted in a timely manner.

A look around the world shows that the president was right. The experience of Japan, which has struggled for a decade trying to make structural changes, is instructive. Its economy has stagnated because the political process has neglected achievable reforms that would also help sustain growth while bigger changes occurred. The obsession of Europe with deficits is also instructive. Needed tax reductions and structural reforms were neglected because of short-term revenue effects. European deficits are high and rising due to economic stagnation, while unemployment is in double digits. America is widely hailed as the world's growth engine because we followed the right policies.

That is why the claim that the president's tax cut was supply-side ideology is so misplaced. The tax cuts met a demand-side need while advancing sensible improvements on the supply side. Radical supply-side ideas like abolishing the corporate income tax were vetted by the policy process and rejected. The process worked as it should, considering a full range of options and then selecting the most feasible.

In spite of our policy differences, Mr. O'Neill and I always got along on a personal basis. He is a smart, well-intentioned man with a long and distinguished career. He thinks big thoughts, and his efforts to combat AIDS and bring potable water to the people of Africa speak to a big heart. The month before he left office, he took considerable personal risk by flying to Afghanistan to advance America's war on terrorism. He, like others who leave private life at the peak of their careers, make a real sacrifice.

So, the circumstances of his departure were regrettable. But so too was his decision to make this book, "The Price of Loyalty," the capstone of his career. The book does a grave injustice to the president, to the truth, and to Mr. O'Neill himself.

Mr. Lindsey is a former director of the National Economic Council.

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oneil was a highly respected man in washington and was asked to join bush specifically because he could contribute at a high level .whatever the bush supporters say now, its obvious oneil is highly qualified and there is no use going after him pesonally.

he just points out the obvious, iraq is a pre9-11 neo-con philosohpy of how the world should be. it has no basis in 9/11, or WMD, or human rights. bushed lied to the world to make some false justification to distract americans long enough to satisfy a few crazy middle aged white men who havnt even served in the military in the first place.

doesnt matter how you rant, this is just another piece in the huge heap of evidence that the US gov is a rouge gov just like any other. controlled by a few crazies.

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doesnt matter how you rant, this is just another piece in the huge heap of evidence that the US gov is a rouge gov just like any other. controlled by a few crazies.

This is why nobody takes the left seriously. Saddam good, USA bad.

Today I listened to Gullianni, the former DEMOCRATIC Mayor of NYC who among other things said the Bush has done a fantastic job of safeguarding America. He also went on to say that any idiot could see that the US was the only country willing to enact 1441 and rid Saddam of WMD.

As for WMD themselves he said something which you and the rest of your crew have consistently and conveniently overlooked. 'Saddam had them, the UN knew he had them, the security council knew he had them and all he had to do was show how he got rid of them. Bring out a few interviewable witnesses or workers that helped destroy them. Blix and his merry inspectors were all but begging him to show them stuff.' Did he Riff?

Another point he made was that Bush is the only person who had the guts to call Saddam on this. You like WMD in the hands of a guy who seeks to be the Dictator of the ME for life? Bush is there only for four more years max, then you have to contend with a calm cool collected Dean who loses it in Iowa rallies when asked pointed questions by 68 year old farmers. Guess he is your type. You didn't hear about that one did you? I thought Dean was going to jump down and pistol whip the old bugger LOL.

Clark who doesn't have the vote of any of his old West Point mates says the not only are there no WMD in Iraq and offers no explanation of where the ones that he knew were there a year ago went, he also knows that under his tenure, if elected, guarrantees that there will be no terrorist attacks. Wow, inside knowlege or what!

Both dudes are running on a simple anti Bush stance. No specifics on how and what, just that Bush is wrong.

See, the reason I bring these idiots up is because they are like you. No specifics, just hate, rhetoric and simple yet easily refuted points. No effort to join and guide what is happening, just condem for whatever comes to mind. Well Riff, back to the origional quote from you. Just wondering, how are you going to stop Islamic Fasism? How are you going to ensure that the ME becomes stable? Are you going to hope? Pray? Where is your evidence that Saddam had stopped his expansionist ways and was about to become a really benevolent ruler? Where is your evidence that the people of the ME just love to be ruled over by Clerics, Kings, Dictators? Where is your evidence that the women of the ME love to be valued less than cattle? Where is your evidence that terorists will leave the West alone if we don't take them out? Where is your evidence that America, for the first time in it's history has decided to populate the ME or any other country for that matter. I suppose failing proof then your arguments are simply unsubstanciated crap as usual.

Anyhow. You like Saddam controling

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This is why nobody takes the left seriously. Saddam good, USA bad.

i dont know who this "Left" is, but i assure you, i am not a member

also, when you claim that i was implying saddam was "good" you demonstrate your unwillingness or inability to focus on the actual content of my point. it says more about how you choose to interact in discussion that anything else. claiming that someone supports saddam is an easy way to avoid the hard topics, but nobody here has ever said it, so its just a twisting of criticism against the US.

it seems the "Right" tells its members at meetings not to bother to identify the content of opposing arguments when responding.

off to my Left meetings..

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i dont know who this "Left" is, but i assure you, i am not a member

Glad to hear it. Had me fooled for a minute. OK, Saddam was not a problem to be dealt with. Is that what you are trying to say? Rather Bush is the problem? Let's see, Bush can be unelected next year and Saddam would simply step down if he was asked nicely.

Or was it the Rogue Regime thing that alerted me to your intent.

this is just another piece in the huge heap of evidence that the US gov is a rouge gov just like any other
rogue >noun  1 a dishonest or unprincipled man.  2 a mischievous but likeable person.  3 an elephant or other large wild animal with destructive tendencies driven away or living apart from the herd.  4 a person or thing that is defective or unpredictable. .

Dishonest - prove it

Mischevious - prove it

Defective or unpredictable - prove it

Should be easy, I can prove that those who are 'Leftnandicapped' are full of it in the Oil argument, WMD argument, and Bush empire building for himself or the US argument so I am curious, what is your argument?

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rogue >noun  1 a dishonest or unprincipled man.  2 a mischievous but likeable person.  3 an elephant or other large wild animal with destructive tendencies driven away or living apart from the herd.  4 a person or thing that is defective or unpredictable. .

Dishonest -

1) as in the numerous times the Bush admin linked 9-11 to iraq, creating a default level of belief in americans [comfirmed by several independant polls] that the current state of iraq actually caused or was related to the events of 9-11 in some way.

2) Also as in the repeated assertions that the US gov has detailed information on the state, quanitity and location of WMDs in iraq, something that has turned out to be painfully untrue as the WMD teams have gone through every possible lead and turned up with nothing, resulting in the continual disbanding of the WMD search and a dissolution of the entire WMD discussion in public.

Mischevious - the entire sending weapons to the war torn nation of afganistan in secret, contrary any accepted conduct from civilized democratic nations not to participate in war-by-proxy which empowers foriegn imperial powers are the expense of poor local citizens. same thing in iraq against iran, same thing in iran against iraq. any nation that just arms random groups of peoples in poor volitile areas as a form of proxy policy is evil. the horrors and suffering are never seen by the world, the US doesnt have to get its hands dirty and be accountable for the death, the US uses and abandons peoples without consequence- which is why 9-11 happened in the first place, by the US and russia having its secret wars, the nation was left to rot in war and spread its violence to the world.

Defective or unpredictable - calling saddam a dictator yet calling the saudi rulers the "royal" family. supporting these corrupt regimes in saudi arabia and kuwait to maintain cheap fuel supply while allowing these rules to amas huge fortunes that assure their power. using dictators over the years to do the bloodly work, like the sept 11, 1973 coup in chile which the US supported at teh expense of thousands of lives. the last 50 years has the US supporting almost every dictator on earth at some time or another.

that is just off the top of my head. there are far more arguments that could be made

I can prove that those who are 'Leftnandicapped' are full of it in the Oil argument, WMD argument, and Bush empire building for himself or the US argument so I am curious, what is your argument?

i have read many many opinions from all different sources and have never seen this "proof" that you speak of, so i doubt you have it. else you should write a book and make millions cause you would be the first

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