Here We Go Again:
Book Says War Plan on Iraq Drawn Up Soon After U.S. Forces Entered Afghanistan
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.
By CALVIN WOODWARD and SIOBHAN McDONO
WASHINGTON (April 16) -- President Bush secretly ordered a war plan drawn up against Iraq less than two months after U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan and was so worried the decision would cause a furor he did not tell everyone on his national security team, says a new book on his Iraq policy.
Bush feared that if news got out about the Iraq plan as U.S. forces were fighting another conflict, people would think he was too eager for war, journalist Bob Woodward writes in ''Plan of Attack,'' a behind-the-scenes account of the 16 months leading to the Iraq invasion.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book, which will be available in book stores next week.
''I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq,'' Bush is quoted as telling Woodward. ''It was such a high-stakes moment and ... it would look like that I was anxious to go to war. And I'm not anxious to go to war.''
Bush and his aides have denied accusations they were preoccupied with Iraq at the cost of paying attention to the al-Qaida terrorist threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A commission investigating the attacks just concluded several weeks of extraordinary public testimony from high-ranking government officials. One of them, former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, charged the Bush administration's determination to invade Iraq undermined the war on terror.
Woodward's account fleshes out the degree to which some members of the administration, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, were focused on Saddam Hussein from the onset of Bush's presidency and even after the terrorist attacks made the destruction of al-Qaida the top priority.
Woodward says Bush pulled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld aside Nov. 21, 2001 - when U.S. forces and allies were in control of about half of Afghanistan - and asked him what kind of war plan he had on Iraq. When Rumsfeld said it was outdated, Bush told him to get started on a fresh one.
The book says Bush told Rumsfeld to keep quiet about it and when the defense secretary asked to bring CIA Director George Tenet into the planning at some point, the president said not to do so yet.
Even Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was apparently not fully briefed. Woodward said Bush told her that morning he was having Rumsfeld work on Iraq but did not give details.
In an interview two years later, Bush told Woodward that if the news had leaked, it would have caused ''enormous international angst and domestic speculation.''
The Bush administration's drive toward war with Iraq raised an international furor anyway, alienating long-time allies who did not believe the White House had made a sufficient case against Saddam. Saddam was toppled a year ago and taken into custody last December. But the central figure of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, remains at large and a threat to the west.
The book says Gen. Tommy Franks, who was in charge of the Afghan war as head of Central Command, uttered a string of obscenities when the Pentagon told him to come up with an Iraq war plan in the midst of fighting another conflict.
Woodward, a Washington Post journalist who wrote an earlier book on Bush's anti-terrorism campaign and broke the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, says Cheney's well-known hawkish attitudes on Iraq were frequently decisive in Bush's decision-making.
Cheney pressed the outgoing Clinton administration to brief Bush on the Iraq threat before he took office, Woodward writes.
In August 2002, when Bush talked publicly of being a patient man who would weigh Iraqi options carefully, the vice president took the administration's Iraq policy on a harder track in a speech declaring the weapons inspections ineffective. Cheney's speech was viewed as the beginning of a campaign to undermine or overthrow Saddam. Woodward said Bush let Cheney make the speech without asking what he would say.
The vice president also figured prominently in a protracted decision March 19, 2003, to strike Iraq before a 48-hour ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to leave the country had expired.
When the CIA and its Iraqi sources reported that Saddam's sons and other family members were at a small palace, and Saddam was on his way to join them, Bush's top advisers debated whether to strike ahead of plan.
Franks was against it, saying it was unfair to move before a deadline announced to the other side, the book says. Rumsfeld and Rice favored the early strike, and Secretary of State Colin Powell leaned that way.
But Bush did not make his decision until he had cleared everyone out of the Oval Office except the vice president. ''I think we ought to go for it,'' Cheney is quoted as saying. Bush did.
U.S. forces unleashed bombs and cruise missiles, blanketing the compound but missing the palace. Tenet called the White House before dawn to say the Iraqi leader had been killed. But his optimism was premature. Saddam was alive.
The 468-page book is published by Simon & Schuster. Woodward will be interviewed on CBS' ''60 Minutes'' Sunday night o promote the book.
How many more books need to be published before the American people get that Bush and his cronies have created the most secretive, dishonest, self serving administration in recent history, and they need to be ousted?
If a thousand authors write a thousand books describing the Bush administration's lies and criminal malfeasance, will discrediting whistle blowers become a full time job for the Bush team?
What else has to be revealed by the media and White House insiders before the legislature throws down the gauntlet and tells Bush and his cabinet enough is enough, and deals with their lies and criminal activities?
America does not go to war without provocation, it is not our way. Saddam was a vicious dictator and an avowed enemy to the U.S., but America does not have the legal right to attack our enemies with impunity or simply unseat foreign governments we don't like.
America does not tolerate dictators in the Oval Office, this is a democracy.
America does not stand for the tyranny that Bush and his associates have been perpetrating since he was appointed president.
Recently, Osama Bin Laden released a tape, singling out the Halliburton Company and its subsidiaries as enemies of Islam, and urged vengeance toward their employees stationed in Iraq.
Cheney doesn't care if Halliburton employees in Iraq are murdered.
Unemployed, desperate Americans are working for Halliburton in Iraq because they can earn exorbitant salaries, because Halliburton isn't paying for it, our tax dollars are being squandered on no-bid, secret contracts that allow Halliburton to pay a frycook stationed in Iraq about $60,000, tax free.
Bush doesn't care if his personal grudge that led to an illegal war results in the loss of thousands of American soldiers.
They just don't care who gets sacrificed, as long as they can keep their personal agendas moving forward.
I used to think America's biggest threats to national security were foreign terrorists.
Now I think the biggest threats to our security are Bush, Cheney and that smarmy Cabinet of theirs.
I don't wish violence done to either Bush or Cheney, but I sincerely believe they are criminals who need to be prosecuted for treason (for starters) and sentenced to the same prison terms as any traitor to the United States should be.
What else needs to happen before America can be free of these treasonous vultures once and for all?