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According to former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill, in an interview with CBS 60 minutes (11/01/04), the invasion of Iraq was on the agenda of the first meeting of the National Security Council, within days of the inauguration of President Bush, and eight months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"From the very first instance, it was about Iraq,...
From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go... 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'."
According to Paul O'Neill, a secret dossier had been prepared at the outset of the Bush administration entitled "Plan for post-Saddam Iraq".
The Bipartisan War Agenda
While Paul O'Neill has taken a principled position in relation to the Bush administration's war plans, not to mention his stance on tax cuts, his statement on the invasion of Iraq is in many regards "a red herring".
It conveys the impression that a Democratic administration would have done otherwise.
It also suggests that the decision to go to war against Iraq was taken in January 2001 upon Bush's accession to the White House.
The Bush administration's war agenda as outlined by the Project of the New American Century (PNAC) is defined in terms of "multiple and simultaneous theater wars". Formulated in somewhat different terms the invasion of Iraq was on the National Security agenda of the outgoing Clinton administration s evidenced by key national security documents of the mid-1990s.
There was continuity from the Clinton the Bush administration. While the Republicans led the first Gulf war, the Democrats led the wars in the Balkans leading to the military occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the Dayton Accords in 1995 and the invasion of Kosovo in 1999. The Democrats and the Republicans joined hands in enforcing the "No Fly Zone" (1991-2003) over Iraq plus a twelve year program of economic sanctions and indiscriminate bombings.
It is worth mentioning, however, that US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had already, during the Clinton administration, formulated "in war theater plans" to invade Iraq and Iran. It was no secret that the stated objective of these 1995 war plans was oil.
The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President's National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman's National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command's theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM's theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil. (USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy )
In fact, broadly speaking, the same concepts of Homeland Defense, pre-emptive war, etc. are contained in Clinton’s 1999 and 2000 National Security Strategy documents. In other words, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the Bush administration were part of a bipartisan war agenda which had already been decided upon well in advance of Bush’s accession to the White House in January 2001.
This should come as no surprise: Bush and Clinton are mere figureheads. Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) call the shots on US foreign policy , with the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors and Wall Street operating discretely behind the scenes.
In other words, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the Bush administration were part of the bipartisan road-map to Empire, --i.e. a continuation of a war agenda which had already been decided upon well in advance of Bush's accession to the White House in January 2001. This should come as no surprise since many of the people in charge of these war plans, including CIA director George Tenet had been appointed during the Clinton administration.
In fact what we observe is continuity since the Nixon administration in what is best described as "a bipartisan war agenda.".
In 1973 according to a British declassified National Security document, the US had contemplated an invasion of the Middle East in 1973. This invasion would have included Iraq.
"In view of the incalculable consequences of military action against the Arabs, we consider that US intervention would probably come late as a move of last resort...But we cannot rule out the possibility of a rather earlier intervention" (Source: Declassified 1973 UK intelligence report ( For further details, see US ready to invade Middle East in 1973, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/AFP401A.html )
Ultimately, the war agenda and "Homeland Security" (including the ongoing militarisation of civilian police and judicial institutions) are determined by powerful economic interests. Party politics largely serves as a smokescreen.
The Democrats are attemting to cash in on Paul O'Neill statement, in tghe words of Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "What Paul O'Neill says there is what a lot of other people are beginning to conclude, that there was an overstatement by the Bush administration of the weapons-of-mass- destruction ..."
What the Bush team did was to put on the agenda, the main National Security issues of the outgoing administration.
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