I remember October of 2001. I would still look up everytime I heard a plane, making sure that it was at the proper altitude, thousands of feet above me, and not careening downwards. October 2001 was when my mother and my sister visited New York City for the first time since the 9/11 attacks. My mother worked in the financial district before she got married, and she was working there when the World Trade Center opened. They wanted to pay their respects to the dead and to pray for the families of the victims.
In October 2001, America was still in shock over the brutal attacks that occurred on September 11. We were united in our resolve to capture Osama bin Laden, the man behind the attacks, and bring him to justice.
Unfortunately, our president was focused on another target altogether.
Newly declassified documents reveal that while the nation was still freshly in pain over the 9/11 attacks, the president was focused on going after a guy who had nothing to do with them. Even while Bush was talking big about "smoking him out" (him being OBL), he was planning regime change in Iraq.
In my view, this strongly implies that Bush was planning to attack Iraq no matter what. And it also suggests that Bush exploited the attacks on 9/11 as a means to getting the war he wanted.
And make no mistake - the war that we have in Iraq is the war Bush wanted, because there was no planning for the post-war period, despite the fact that government experts warned about the lack of post-war planning. If Bush didn't want an insurgency, he would have planned for how to deal with one. Well, maybe that's just the way reality based people think - Bush's world is one where he ignores inconvenient facts.
And, though I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, it also makes me wonder if this desire to change the regime in Iraq also drove policy prior to the 9/11 attacks...it makes me wonder if the Bush administration didn't ignore the August 6, 2001 PDB, but instead decided to use it to further their Iraq agenda. I don't think that is an unreasonable question to ask.