Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in a new book that the Bush administration considered the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the occupation of Iraq a foregone conclusion.

In Ron Suskin's book, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, the former Cabinet member says the administration's goals were evident 10 days after the inauguration -- eight months before Sept. 11.

O'Neill says in the book he was surprised that at National Security Council meetings questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’" says O’Neill.

Maybe that's what the Bush adminstration meant by that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the flight deck of that aircraft carrier on which he posed May 1, declaring an end to combat operations in Iraq.


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