(first reference to “Clinton’s Blue Dress Moment” to what would prove a growing realization within the Bush administration that they were totally in error invading Iraq that led to an about-face leading into his second term, ed 11-5-2023)
I first wrote my thoughts on Bush’s pre-emption doctrine 15 months ago after it was first released here.
Rereading it in light of a recent news story (see below) my mind remains unchanged except for one thing. I’m really confident now that I am not happy with the application of this particular president. That leads me to the next point, which is Suskind’s upcoming book “Price of Loyalty” from whom former Treasure Secretary O’Neil is the primary source wherein O’Neil indicates that Bush began planning the Iraq war days after entering office, and nine months before 9/11.
Take a step back and think about that. Bush, according to O’Neill, wanted a war within Iraq and it was not a question of “why”, but “how do we do it”, this was days after inauguration, months before 9/11.
Now first a large caveat. These are “teasers” being released by CBS to hype a Sunday night interview and the interview in turn is hyping the release of his upcoming book. Though a Cabinet Secretary of Bush, he was fired after two years and has cause to grind an ax. Still, given that, he is a very high-ranking senior official and his statements bear further study at least until they are invalidated by factual proof (there were no meetings on the day he cites, etc.).
Most worrisome to me are the following quotes regarding Bush in regard to Iraq (obtained from)
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” (O’Neill to CBS)
“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,'” (O’Neil talking about Bush after assuming office 9 months in advance of 9/11)
“Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,” which, he said, 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 citing internal white house memos circulated prior to 9/11)
This isn’t the Clinton Blue Dress, not by a long shot. But it may be an unraveling and certainly unwelcome to Rove and company in the upcoming election days. It should (and rightly so) start gathering airplay in the coming weeks because they are very serious allegations.
If untrue it needs to be disproven, and quickly. Simply ignoring it (McCllenan’s current response when inquired) is insufficient. The WH should either produce evidence that “yes we did plan an invasion of Iraq but it was part of standard contingency planning we do as a measure of national security, would you like to see the invasion plans for Russia and Papa New Guinea?” or factually prove O’Neill’s statements untrue. The assertion that Bush was simply looking for a way to create a war with Iraq is deeply troubling and needs to be put to rest asap. If the pre-emptive doctrine is simply a 9/11-inspired “way to do it” for justifying a war with Iraq and that comes out, then Bush has greatly damaged the credibility of the US far in excess of what it currently is and even some of our more stalwart allies probably won’t stand by silently. So hopefully it gets dealt with, one way or another, and quickly.
O’Neill has gone on the record to say his comments were taken out of context. That eases me somewhat. I’m tempted to pick up the book now to see what other sources the author claims, but on the student’s budget, I’d be lucky just to read it in B&N.