"This is an opportunity to strike Iraq" -- Don Rumsfeld, 911
--- Bob Woodward[Q:]Now, let's really drill down. The 9/11 attacks happened. Almost by the minute, when after that, how soon after that does Iraq start being discussed, and by whom?
[A:] That night, Don Rumsfeld says, "This is an opportunity to strike Iraq, perhaps." And [Paul] Wolfowitz, his deputy, is pushing very aggressively and has even proposed a kind of somewhat crazy enclave strategy of just taking the oil fields in southern Iraq and using that as a base for anti-Saddam military actions or commando operations. All of the discussion of Iraq, it's there, it's serious, but the president and Cheney reject it and adopt very clearly an "Afghanistan first" policy. But it's background music.
[Q:] Why did Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz want to strike Iraq instantly?
[A:] Rumsfeld saw it as perhaps an opportunity, and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, to a much larger degree, was very worried that Afghanistan would not be a success. We had no war plan for Afghanistan. Amazingly enough, at 9/11, at the time of the attacks, they said, "What have we got?" Well, it's too far away; it's a small Taliban government. We did not have the plans.
Obviously we had the war plans for Iraq. Wolfowitz felt very, very strongly that we needed to put a success on the board and felt always that Iraq was going to be easy; that it was [a] brittle, oppressive regime that would fall very quickly if invaded.[continued]