by The Daily Misleader –
One day after President Bush rejected ormer Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s charge that he was plotting an Iraq invasion before 9/11, a new report proved his denial was dishonest.
On Monday, when Bush was asked whether the charges were true, he said, “No, the stated policy of my administration towards Saddam Hussein was very clear. Like the previous administration, we were for regime change.”
One White House official added, “It’s laughable to suggest that the administration was planning an invasion of Iraq that shortly after coming to office.”
But according to a new ABC News report, “President Bush ordered the Pentagon to explore the possibility of a ground invasion of Iraq well before the United States was attacked on September 11th.”
The story quoted a White House official who attended the same National Security Council meetings as O’Neill. That official said the president’s order “went beyond the Clinton administration’s halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.”
This report — and O’Neill’s charge — are consistent with earlier reporting noting that “invading Iraq was not a new idea for the Bush team” after September 11th.
While Bush regularly invoked the terrorist attacks as the reason for war in Iraq, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that “in reality, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had begun making the case for an American invasion of Iraq as early as 1997 — nearly four years before the September 11th attacks and three years before President Bush took office.”