The Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq including the use of American troops within days of President Bush’s inauguration in January of 2001, not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported. That is what former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O’Neill talks to Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Jan. 11 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” he tells Stahl. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do is a really huge leap,” says O’Neill.
It’s not hard to predict how the White House will respond to this. By the end of next week, Paul O’Neill’s own grandchildren (assuming he has any) are going to think his first name is “Disgruntled.” Still, as it becomes increasingly obvious that Iraq’s WMD program could best have been described as “imaginary”, this isn’t good news for Bush.
At least the economy’s turning around! Oh, wait.