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At some point Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz started pushing hard to attack Iraq. In their minds, this disaster could be turned around into an ideal opportunity to end the problems we were having with Saddam Hussein -- just blame the 911 attacks on him.
I did not agree with that because there was absolutely zero intelligence that would indicate that Iraq was involved in the 911 attack. Nor was there intell linking either Saddam or anyone else in Iraq to Usama bin Laden. Both Mueller and Tenet had just made it clear that Usama bin Laden and his organization were responsible for these terrorist acts. I wondered how Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz planned to blame this on Saddam since neither the FBI nor CIA had one shred of intell bringing Saddam into the picture.
Rumsfeld's didn't really seem to care what Tenet and Mueller had briefed because this was a golden opportunity to go after Saddam Hussein. In his mind everyone had to know that there were links between UBL, the al Qaida organization, and Saddam Hussein. We gotta get this guy was all we were hearing from Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, referring to Saddam, not bin Laden.It was almost likeparanoia.
Colin and I lobbied just as strongly in the other direction, based on the intelligence provided by the FBI and CIA. It didn't stop.
Once we got back to the Pentagon, Wolfowitz was still insistent that we get our Iraq plans up to speed so that we were completely prepared to invade Iraq. We had General Tommy Franks dust off the Iraqi plans and start taking a look at what would make the most sense from a planning perspective if the decision was made to take out Saddam at this time. We had a number of preexisting plans surrounding various Iraq operations, and we wanted Tommy prepared to present them, if required.
“We like to say that dependability is more important than ability,” Bill Belichickism....
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