The Whole Story: Bush was Determined to Strike Iraq from the Moment He Took Office

Plans To Invade Iraq And Topple Saddam Discussed By Bush Officials Well Before 9/11 Attacks. According to Mother Jones, “The reports, virtually all false, of Iraqi weapons and terrorism ties emanated from an apparatus that began to gestate almost as soon as the Bush administration took power. In the very first meeting of the Bush national-security team, one day after President Bush took the oath of office in January 2001, the issue of invading Iraq was raised, according to one of the participants in the meeting‚ — and officials all the way down the line started to get the message, long before 9/11. Indeed, the Bush team at the Pentagon hadn’t even been formally installed before Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense, and Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy, began putting together what would become the vanguard for regime change in Iraq.” [Mother Jones, January 2004]

Bush Cabinet Secretary Paul O’Neill: Getting Rid Of Saddam Was Administration’s “Topic ‘A’ 10 Days After The Inauguration – Eight Months Before Sept. 11.” According to CBS News, “And what happened at President Bush’s very first National Security Council meeting is one of O’Neill’s most startling revelations. ‘From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,’ says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic ‘A’ 10 days after the inauguration – eight months before Sept. 11.’” [CBS News, 2/11/09]

One Day After 9/11, Bush Sought Link Between Iraq And Attack. According to the book, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, “On the evening of the [September] 12th, [Richard] Clarke recalled, Bush quietly took aside his counterterrorism coordination and a few colleagues to say, “Look … I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way … Just look. I want to know any shred.’ ‘Absolutely, we will look … again,’ Clarke responded. ‘But, you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of Al Qaeda and not found any real linkage to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.’ Bush looked irritated. He replied, ‘Look into Iraq, Saddam,’ and walked away. Clarke’s people would report that there was no evidence of cooperation between al Qaeda and Iraq. Pressure on the President to act against Iraq, however, continued. His former order for military action against terrorist, a week after 9/11, would include instructions to the Defense Department to prepare contingency plans for strikes against Iraq—and perhaps the occupation of its oilfields.” [The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, page 176, 2011]

Richard Clarke: Bush Officials Were Talking About Iraq “While The Bodies Were Still Burning In The Pentagon And At The World Trade Center.” According to the book, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, “It was then, though, that [Donald] Rumsfeld jumped at what he saw as the need to ‘do Iraq.’ ‘Everyone looked at him,’ Richard Clarke recalled. ‘At least I looked at him and [Colin] Powell look at him, like, ‘What the hell are you talking about’ And he said—I’ll never forget this—‘There just aren’t enough targets in Afghanistan. We need to bomb something to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kinds of attacks.’ And I made the point certainty that night, and I think Powell acknowledged it, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. That didn’t really faze Rumsfeld. … It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. It really didn’t, because from the first weeks of the administration they were talking about Iraq. I just found it a little disgusting that they were talking about it while the bodies were still burning in the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center.’” [The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, page 176, 2011]

Bush Directed Rumsfeld To Start Planning War With Iraq Months After 9/11. According to the Washington Post, “Beginning in late December 2001, President Bush met repeatedly with Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks and his war cabinet to plan the U.S. attack on Iraq even as he and administration spokesmen insisted they were pursuing a diplomatic solution, according to a new book on the origins of the war. … On Nov. 21, 2001, 72 days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush directed Rumsfeld to begin planning for war with Iraq. ‘Let’s get started on this,’ Bush recalled saying. ‘And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.’ He also asked: Could this be done on a basis that would not be terribly noticeable?” [Washington Post, 4/17/04]

Bush in Early 2002: “F___ Saddam, We’re Taking Him Out.” According to Time, “‘F___ Saddam. we’re taking him out.’ Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America’s Middle East allies. Bush wasn’t interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room.” [Time, 3/31/03]

Downing Street Memo: Bush Determined To Attack Iraq, Floated Idea To Provoke Iraq Into War. According to the New York Times, “In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush’s public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war. But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair’s top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times. … The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.” [New York Times, 3/27/06]

Bush Told UN He Would Attack Even Without Their Support. According to CNN, “Bush told the U.N. General Assembly his administration will work with the U.N. Security Council, but made clear the United States would move against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on its own if the council fails to act. ‘The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced. The just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable, and a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power,’ he said.” [CNN, 9/13/02]

Mid-2002: Reports Discuss Iraq Invasion in 2003 With Estimates Of “70,000 To 250,000 Troops.” According to the New York Times, “The Bush administration, in developing a potential approach for toppling President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, is concentrating its attention on a major air campaign and ground invasion, with initial estimates contemplating the use of 70,000 to 250,000 troops. … In November, Mr. Bush ordered that the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve be filled to capacity. A review of the reserve’s delivery schedule shows that many of the largest monthly deliveries are between September and January, another reason to put off any offensive against Iraq to early next year.” [New York Times, 4/28/02]