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'Bush wanted excuse to invade Iraq'
Agencies | January 11, 2004 02:08 IST
President George W Bush entered office in January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was just looking for an excuse to do so, former US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill charges in a book.
O'Neill was fired in December 2002 as part of a shake-up of Bush's economic team.
He likened Bush at cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," according to excerpts from a "60 Minutes" interview to promote The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, a book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind.
"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill said in the interview scheduled to air on Sunday. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the US has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."
CBS released excerpts from the interview on Friday and Saturday.
According to CBS, O'Neill and other White House insiders gave Suskind documents that in the first three months of 2001 revealed the administration was examining military options for removing Saddam.
"There are memos," Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'
Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said.
The White House has rejected the charges.