March 27, 2006


Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says (DON VAN NATTA Jr., 3/27/06, NY Times)

In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin." [...]

At several points during the meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, there was palpable tension over finding a legitimate legal trigger for going to war that would be acceptable to other nations, the memo said. The prime minister was quoted as saying it was essential for both countries to lobby for a second United Nations resolution against Iraq, because it would serve as "an insurance policy against the unexpected."

The memo said Mr. Blair told Mr. Bush, "If anything went wrong with the military campaign, or if Saddam increased the stakes by burning the oil wells, killing children or fomenting internal divisions within Iraq, a second resolution would give us international cover, especially with the Arabs."

Mr. Bush agreed that the two countries should attempt to get a second resolution, but he added that time was running out. "The U.S. would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would twist arms and even threaten," Mr. Bush was paraphrased in the memo as saying.

The document added, "But he had to say that if we ultimately failed, military action would follow anyway."

Folks have continually underestimated the degree to which the WMD argument and the UN maneuvering were just favors that George Bush did for Tony Blair and Colin Powell and not things he ever cared much about. Indeed, he stunned the Brits by offering to let them not participate in the war if it was going to cause Mr. Blair too much domestic political trouble

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2006 8:00 AM

Wow! You mean GWB knew he was going to war two weeks in advance; 2nd resolution or not. Wow, even I knew that ... who didn't? That's a news item? Give us a break. That's propaganda.

Posted by: at March 27, 2006 8:54 AM

Of course war was inevitable, at this time or some time in the future after sanctions had been lifted and Saddam (or one of his spawn) had rearmed.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 27, 2006 9:44 AM

"President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war. But"

Huh, why the but? You mean after giving the guy 12 years to prove that he'd disarmed, after making regime change US policy 5 years earlier, and after exporting some 200,000 military to the Persian Gulf Bush was set on war? Really?

This is news? Some editor read this and didn't roll it up in a ball and toss in the trash laughing?

Oh, right, this is the NY Times. Are they still claiming the Ukraine famine didn't happen too?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 27, 2006 10:46 AM

Isn't this really, really, really old news????

Like from 2003-04?

Posted by: Sandy P at March 27, 2006 6:10 PM


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Indeed. Bush knew Saddam had to be dealt with. After 9/11 he could not leave it to the next President like Clinton did. The inspections were not working, Saddam continued to play games, and he aided and abetted terrorists. End of story. Saddam had... [Read More]