White House continues to deny that the president
immediately began planning an invasion of Iraq
in the days after 9/11, calling such charges "revisionist
history" (1) and claiming Iraq was "to the side"(2)
immediately after the attacks. But new revelations
by a former top British official confirm that,
immediately after 9/11, President Bush started
planning to use the terrorist attacks as a justification
for war in Iraq, despite having no proof that
Iraq had any connection to Al Qaeda or 9/11. (3)
to a report in the new edition of Vanity Fair,
former British Ambassador to the United States
Christopher Meyer said that President Bush made
clear at a dinner (4) with Prime Minister Tony
Blair nine days after the 9/11 attacks that he
wanted to confront Iraq. The assertion is corroborated
by the Washington Post, which reported that President
Bush personally signed a two-and-a-half page directive
on September 17th, 2001 ordering the Pentagon
to begin drawing up Iraq invasion plans. (5) The
assertion is also corroborated by CBS News, which
reported on September 4, 2002 that, five hours
after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with
plans for striking Iraq."(6) The account by the
former British Ambassador confirms similar accounts
by former Bush counterterrorism chief Richard
Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
result of President Bush's preoccupation with
Iraq has been dramatic: the diversion of critical
resources to Iraq and away from the hunt for Osama
bin Laden/Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. As reported
by USA Today, "In 2002, troops from the 5th Special
Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East
were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden
in Afghanistan to prepare for their next assignment:
Iraq." (7) Similarly, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL)
reported that, in February 2002, a senior military
commander told him, "We are moving military and
intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan
to get ready for a future war in Iraq." (8) That
has left many dangerous terrorists still at large,
and the UN now reporting that the country is "in
danger of reverting to a terrorist breeding ground."
1. White House Press Briefing, 3/23/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26545.
2. "Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness," Washington
Post, 3/26/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26546.
3. " Doubts cast on efforts to link Saddam, al-Qaida,"
Knight-Ridder, 3/2/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26547
4. "Report Details Bush-Blair Meeting on Iraq,"
Associated Press, 4/4/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26548
5. "U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past,"
Washington Post, 1/12/03, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26549
6. "Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11," CBS
News, 9/4/02, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26550
7. Shifts from bin Laden hunt evoke questions,"
USA Today, 3/28/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26551
8. Senator Bob Graham Remarks to the Council on
Foreign Relations," Council on Foreign Relations,
9. "UN warns on Aghanistan reverting to terrorism
," Financial Times, 3/28/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=26553
Posted: April 14, 2004