'Bush team wanted Iraq war from start'
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (foreground) had been discussing war plans for Iraq just two months after the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.
Declassified documents have reveled that advisors to former US president George W. Bush had focused on justifying a new war on Iraq as soon as he took office.
Official document released on Wednesday show that a few hours after the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of attacking Iraq.
Papers posted by the Washington-based National Security Archive shows Rumsfeld discussing war plans for Iraq just two months after the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.
In memos dated November 27, he had listed justifications for the war on Iraq.
Iraqi military action against the US-protected enclave in northern Iraq, discovery of ties between former Iraqi dictator Saddam and 9/11 or recent anthrax attacks and disputes with UN weapons inspections were among the possible scenarios.
The documents released under a Freedom of Information request also show that White house claims of Iraq pursuing a nuclear weapons program based on confiscated aluminum tubes were also fabricated.
The news was released even before a preliminary assessment of the tubes, two State Department memos to then Secretary of State Colin Powell say.
The announcement had to be made "in our advantage" and it was important to "get the right story out" about the tubes, one memo stated.
After the invasion, the Iraq Survey Group determined that the best explanation for the tubes' use was to produce conventional 81-mm rockets; no evidence was found of a program to design or develop an 81-mm aluminum rotor uranium centrifuges.