Jan. 13, 4:35 p.m.: Bad news for Bushies

A former administration official speaks out about the president in a new book.

By: Hank Kalet
   More evidence that President George W. Bush is a little stingy with the truth, courtesy of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. In a book due out today, Mr. O’Neill charges that the administration began planning the Iraq War several months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
   "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," he said in an interview with the CBS program "60 Minutes." (Quoted from the Times)
   "Mr. O’Neill, who was dismissed by Mr. Bush more than a year ago over differences on economic policy, said Iraq was discussed at the first National Security Council meeting after Mr. Bush’s inauguration. The tone at that meeting and others, Mr. O’Neill said, was ‘all about finding a way to do it,’ with no real questioning of why Mr. Hussein had to go or why it had to be done then. ‘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,’ Mr. O’Neill said."
   Which is why Presidential candidate Wesley Clark is calling for "a full congressional investigation into why the United States went to war in Iraq."
   The administration is dismissing this and has launched an investigation into how Mr. O’Neill obtained some documents.
   Add to this the report issued by the Army War College that says that the Iraq war was a detour and a distraction from the war on terror and you can see why the Bushies may not view this week as one of their finer ones in the White House.
   Paul Krugman sums all of this up very nicely today.