Q He's right that in October -- in October of 2001, when the President signed this directive, the President was directing the Pentagon to prepare plans for the invasion of Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, that's part -- that's part of his revisionist history.
Q That's not true?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of his revisionist history, that's what I'm saying --
Q Are you saying it's not true?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, that's right. I am.
Q You are saying that it's not true?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of -- that's just his revisionist history to make suggestions like that. He knows that at that point that our focus was on going -- was on Afghanistan and removing the Taliban and taking away the safe haven for al Qaeda.
From the WaPo, over a year ago:
On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2½-page document marked "TOP SECRET" that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global campaign against terrorism.
Almost as a footnote, the document also directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq, senior administration officials said.
The previously undisclosed Iraq directive is characteristic of an internal decision-making process that has been obscured from public view. Over the next nine months, the administration would make Iraq the central focus of its war on terrorism without producing a rich paper trail or record of key meetings and events leading to a formal decision to act against President Saddam Hussein, according to a review of administration decision-making based on interviews with more than 20 participants.
Instead, participants said, the decision to confront Hussein at this time emerged in an ad hoc fashion. Often, the process circumvented traditional policymaking channels as longtime advocates of ousting Hussein pushed Iraq to the top of the agenda by connecting their cause to the war on terrorism.
(thanks to Phelix)
...the interesting thing is that, at various times, the administration has wanted to emphasize the centrality of Iraq in all of this. Of course, that's what they're telling us now. But, if Iraq is the "central front in the war on terror" why wouldn't they have felt that way on September 12? What changed between September of 2001 and September of 2002 to put Saddam front and center? So, again, we have another situation where they're saying "how dare Richard Clarke say those things which are completely true and correct about us." It's weird.