All of us knew it but couldn't prove it. Now we can prove it. Newly declassified documents published at the National Security Archive prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the Bush administration planned to topple Saddam Hussein and invade Iraq as early as January, 2001, and were making strategic plans and resource allocations as early as November, 2001.
January 30, 2001 – Bush administration principals (agency heads) meet for the
first time and discuss the Middle East, including Bush’s intention to disengage from the Israel-Palestine peace process and “How Iraq is destabilizing the region.” Bush directs Rumsfeld and JCS chairman Hugh Shelton to examine military options for Iraq; CIA director George Tenet is directed to improve intelligence on the country. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke are both struck by the emphasis on confronting Iraq, an aim consistent with Rumsfeld’s hiring of Wolfowitz and later Feith, well known for their bellicosity on the issue, for high-level Pentagon
positions. (Source: EBB/Franks Timeline (PDF))
When did we invade Afghanistan? Oh, that's right...it was October 7, 2001.
Walking through these documents makes it clear that the Bush Administration -- from Day One -- intended to invade Iraq at some point in their reign of terror. Here is a memo (PDF) dated January 23, 2001 outlining the "Origins of the Iraq Regime Change Policy". This was requested by Vice President-elect Dick Cheney before taking office, presumably as a way to justify policy formation around aggressive US efforts for "regime change" in Iraq.
This memo (PDF) written on November 27, 2001 should send cold chills up and down your spine. It is a list of talking points from Rumsfeld to Franks about how to handle a run-up to a full-scale Iraq invasion. November 27th, 51 days after Afghanistan was invaded. And check this talking point: