Was something Bush was thinking about while he was still the underachieving governor of Texas.
The Raw Story
The Path of War Timeline -
January 26, 1998 The Project for a New American Century urges President Clinton to oust Saddam Hussein. Among the eighteen signers are Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton. (New American Century)
In 1999, Mickey Herskowitz is hired to ghostwrite a campaign autobiography for George W. Bush, an assignment that was later withdrawn. Herskowitz later spoke about Bush for an article by journalist Russ Baker: “He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999… It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ ”
"According to Herskowitz, Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”
"Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.” (Guerrilla News Network)
December 1999 In December 1999, "Bush surprises veteran political chroniclers with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” a Boston Globe reporter penned. ‘I’d take ‘em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father… It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker.” (Boston Globe; Also Russ Baker)