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Saturday, January 10, 2004

O'Neill tells all!
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says that President Bush was so disengaged in cabinet meetings that he "was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people." He also states that war in Iraq was on the table from the very beginning of the Bush administration:

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's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O'Neill talks to Correspondent Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"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."
In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. "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,'" says O'Neill in the book ["The Price of Loyalty," by Ron Suskind, coming out soon].

So 60 Minutes should be extra special tomorrow. Unfortunately, the Packers at Eagles NFL playoff game doesn't start until 4:45 EST, and it's on Fox, so it will probably run right over 60 Minutes. If the late game were on CBS, it would get a lot more viewers.

Still, I hope this gets lots of coverage. It should make it especially difficult for those in the administration, including William Safire, to keep trying to push the ephemeral Saddam-9/11 link now that the WMD story has been shown to be complete bunk. If Iraq was attacked because of ties to 9/11, and the invasion plans were made before 9/11, that means the Bushies knew about 9/11 before it happened. Which many of us have suspected all along. But even the servile White House press corps might raise this point now if McLellan or any other Bushie tries to raise the Saddam-9/11 story again.

Read the whole CBS story; there's more good stuff in there.