General says 'drumbeat' pushed Iraq war

Oct. 24, 2010 at 1:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs said Sunday that Pentagon officials pushed the Iraq war "almost to the point of insubordination."

Retired Gen. Hugh Shelton told Christiane Amanpour on ABC's "This Week" that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, were "part of the group" pressuring President George W. Bush.

"There was a very strong push in those days (after Sept. 11, 2001) for us to go into Iraq, and there was absolutely no intelligence, zero, that pointed toward -- pointed toward the Iraqis. It was all al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden. And yet there was an element there that was -- that was pushing to go into Iraq at the same time," Shelton said.

Bush resisted the pressure at first, the general said, but added, "That same drumbeat continued, and Afghanistan, remember, was going very, very well. The drumbeat back here in Washington was still pushing, coming out of the Pentagon, let's go to Iraq, let's get -- take him (Saddam Hussein) out. And he finally said, let's go. We walked out on the limb before we could build a coalition of the -- either the United Nations or NATO, one of the two."

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