March 26, 2006
-- by Dave Johnson
This is a turning point. In tomorrow's New York Times, Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says,
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."
Go read the whole thing.
[. . .] The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.
. . . Two senior British officials confirmed the authenticity of the memo, but declined to talk further about it, citing Britain's Official Secrets Act, which made it illegal to divulge classified information. But one of them said, "In all of this discussion during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is obvious that viewing a snapshot at a certain point in time gives only a partial view of the decision-making process."
[. . .] By late January 2003, United Nations inspectors had spent six weeks in Iraq hunting for weapons under the auspices of Security Council Resolution 1441, which authorized "serious consequences" if Iraq voluntarily failed to disarm. Led by Hans Blix, the inspectors had reported little cooperation from Mr. Hussein, and no success finding any unconventional weapons.
At their meeting, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair candidly expressed their doubts that chemical, biological or nuclear weapons would be found in Iraq in the coming weeks, the memo said. The president spoke as if an invasion was unavoidable. The two leaders discussed a timetable for the war, details of the military campaign and plans for the aftermath of the war.
So here we are. There is now no doubt that Bush and Blair committed the crime of aggressive war. What will we do about this? There is no masking the need to defend our Constitution and democracy from a criminal takeover. Is there anything we CAN do about this?
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What a mess, but it was obvious at the time that Bush was going to invade Iraq regardless. It was obvious from the way he announced it that he was afraid the UN's second resolution would block him from doing this. No weapons would have been found and that was clear by then. Eventually he and Blair and their buddies could be tried for war crimes, I guess. But who's gonna take on that job?
I don't see this as a turning point, but more a confirmation of the obvious. Every time Democrats think a "turning point" has been reached be it detainee abuse, the Downing Street memo, or the illegal spying it just fades by the next news cycle. As a result the general public has been innoculated against anything accusing Republicans of being criminals. What it will take to finally wake the public and get them in the streets demanding accountability is the scary thought.
Posted by: Dave at March 27, 2006 8:31 AM
"War Crime of Aggressive War Confirmed"
Yes, and the song you should be cuing up right now is "911 Is A Joke" by Public Enemy.
See, it may be a crime, but it's really only worth sending the emergency response team if the victim is important and the perpetrator is from a disreputable part of town.
Posted by: s9 at March 27, 2006 12:04 PM
President Bush is a decent man doing his job to the best of his ability.
There are not easy answers to the war Islam has declared on the West.
One day, you will beg the interrogators to torture the suicide bombers so that you can have a moment of safety.
Until then, you will wallow in stupidity.
Posted by: Shouting Thomas at March 27, 2006 2:44 PM
Tell me something I don't know, Dave! What's new? And what are the chances of Bush Co and their 'coalition of the willing' ever being tried for war crimes? Pretty slim, one supposes.
Posted by: Helga Fremlin at March 28, 2006 2:26 PM
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