It was obvious to me all through 2002 that Bush had already made up his mind to invade Iraq. He kept claiming no plan was set, and that merely he was doing hardball negotiations with Saddam Hussein. But it always looked to me as if he was predetermined to invade, and was simply building a case to the public. It became especially obvious once materials, equipment, and troops started being moved into the area.
Yet, Bush has so far gotten away with this and the other lies that were told to justify the war.
Iraq leak puts pressure on Blair (Sunday, May 1, 2005 CNN.COM)
The secret Downing Street memo (The Sunday Times - Britain, May 01, 2005)
At issue is a British document leaked during the recent elections in the U.K. The document concerns IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
...The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.
The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.
To decode this a little ...
"C" is most likely Sir Richard Dearlove, Britain's "spy chief" who had just returned from visiting the U.S. for talks.
We have him clearly reporting that the U.S. leadership, in July 2002, was already planning to invade Iraq. While the evidence was recognized to be slim, they were planning a public relations campaign to cause the public to ignore the slim evidence and support the war anyway.
Britains Attorney General pointed out the only legal route to launching an invasion of Iraq is to get UN Security Council approval. And that using the UN Security Council Resolution number 1205 provided slim grounds. But that the U.S. leadership was unwilling to go to the UN Security Council.
See here for resolution 1205: http://www.un.org/Docs/scres/1998/scres98.htm
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