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Haass: Iraq War Decided Without Serious Consideration

Richard Haass, the author of "War Of Necessity, War Of Choice" and president of the Council on Foreign Relations said the decision to go to war with Iraq was "taken absent a serious rigorous process," on "Washington Unplugged" Friday.

In the book, Haass depicts a meeting with then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in July of 2002 in which he asked, "are you and the president sure you want to" go to war with Saddam Hussein, "I don't think it is necessary. It will cost an awful lot."

"She said, 'save your breath,'" Haass told host Bob Schieffer. "The president has already made up his mind."

At the time, Haass was Director of Policy Planning for State Department.

Haass said the "stunning" part of the meeting was that that it happened nine months before U.S. went to war and that "no meeting had happened in which all the pros and cons of going to war had been carefully or fairly laid out."

"It was extraordinary that a decision of this magnitude could have been taken absent a serious rigorous process," he said.

In the book, Haass explains the schism caused when a member of the administration decides to keep his post when he disagrees with policy.

Haass said he dealt with his "muted" opposition to the Bush policy because he thought the Iraqis had biological and chemical weapons.

"If I had known then what I know now," that the weapons did not exists, Haass said, "then that would have been grounds for resignation."

Haass said someone who opposes their administration's policy has two choices and that "leaking" confidential information is "not dissent" but "disloyalty."

"The deal you make is you voice your opposition inside, and then if you don't get your way and you still work for the president and the administration then it is incumbent upon you to defend the policy that is decided," he said.

Watch the full interview below. And check out the full show here with Liz Cheney and a debate on Sonia Sotomayor's pending confirmation -- all on "Washington Unplugged."