EACH BUSH LIE ---> THOUSANDS DIE
• Bush Was Set on Path to War,Memo by British Adviser SaysNew York Times, March 27, 2006
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." [...]
Stamped "extremely sensitive," the five-page memorandum, which was circulated among a handful of Mr. Blair's most senior aides, had not been made public. Several highlights were first published in January in the book "Lawless World," which was written by a British lawyer and international law professor, Philippe Sands. In early February, Channel 4 in London first broadcast several excerpts from the memo.
Since then, The New York Times has reviewed the five-page memo in its entirety. While the president's sentiments about invading Iraq were known at the time, the previously unreported material offers an unfiltered view of two leaders on the brink of war, yet supremely confident. [...]
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.
Those proposals were first reported last month in the British press, but the memo does not make clear whether they reflected Mr. Bush's extemporaneous suggestions, or were elements of the government's plan. [...]
Despite intense lobbying by the United States and Britain, a second United Nations resolution was not obtained. The American-led military coalition invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003, nine days after the target date set by the president on that late January day at the White House.• What Bush Was Told About IraqNational Journal, March 2, 2006
[A highly classified intelligence] report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that it was unlikely that Saddam would try to attack the United States -- except if "ongoing military operations risked the imminent demise of his regime" or if he intended to "extract revenge" for such an assault, according to records and sources.
On at least four earlier occasions, beginning in the spring of 2002, according to the same records and sources, the president was informed during his morning intelligence briefing that U.S. intelligence agencies believed it was unlikely that Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States.
The one-page documents prepared for Bush are known as the "President's Summary" of the much longer and more detailed National Intelligence Estimates.... The summaries stated that both the Energy and State departments dissented on the aluminum tubes question. This is the first evidence that Bush was aware of the intense debate within the government during the time that he, Cheney, and members of the Cabinet were citing the procurement of the tubes as evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program.
That a summary was also prepared for Bush on the question of Saddam's intentions regarding an unprovoked attack on the United States is significant because the administration has claimed that the president was unaware of intelligence information that conflicted with his public statements and those of the vice president and members of his Cabinet on the justifications for attacking Iraq.
• Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on IraqWashington Post, February 10, 2006
The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade. [...]
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," Pillar wrote. [...]
[Note to reader--we highly recommend reading Intelligence, Policy, and the War In Iraq by Paul R. Pillar, the source material from which this article is based.
• Blair 'made secret US Iraq pact'BBC, February 3, 2006
Tony Blair and George W Bush decided to invade Iraq weeks earlier than they have admitted, a new book by a human rights lawyer has claimed.
The book by Philippe Sands says the two leaders discussed going to war regardless of any United Nations view.
And it suggests the US wanted to provoke Saddam Hussein by sending a spy plane over Iraq in UN colours.
Downing Street said on Thursday it did not comment on discussions that "may or may not have happened" between leaders.
[T]he new book centres on a meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Blair at the White House three weeks earlier, on 31 January.
Professor Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College London, says the two-hour meeting was also attended by six advisers.
The book quotes from a note it says was prepared by one of the participants.
According to the note, Mr Bush said the military campaign was pencilled in for March. Mr Blair is quoted as saying he was "solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam".
The book claims Mr Blair only wanted a second UN Security Council resolution because it would make it easier politically to deal with Saddam.
And it says Mr Bush told Mr Blair the US "was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours".
If Saddam fired on them, the Iraqis would be in breach of UN resolutions, he suggested.Mr Bush is also quoted saying it was possible an Iraqi figure would defect and be able to give a "public presentation" of weapons of mass destruction.
The note said Mr Bush thought there was also "a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated".
The book also claims the president "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups". [...]
• Report: Bush, Blair decided to go to war months before UN meetingsChristian Science Monitor, February 3, 2006
In a case of yet another leaked memo in Britain, one of the United Kingdom's top international lawyers quotes minutes from a January 31, 2003 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush in an updated version of his book, "Lawless World", where it appears the two men made the decision to go to war regardless of what the United Nations decided about passing a second resolution that would have allowed the start of the war.
Britain's Channel Four TV network, which says it has seen the minutes of the meeting, reports that during the meeting, Mr. Bush raised the idea of painting US U-2 spy planes in the colors of the United Nations, in the hope that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would fire on the planes, and thus give the US and Britain a legal basis to attack Iraq. [...]
• Bush wanted plane in UN colours to trick SaddamThe Herald, February 3, 2006
George W Bush wanted to use a spy plane painted in United Nations colours to trick Saddam Hussein into breaching UN rules, according to a new version of a book on the Iraq invasion.
During a meeting with Tony Blair focusing on the need to identify evidence that the dictator had broken UN Resolution 1441, the US president suggested a plot to lure Saddam into firing on the plane.
According to a leaked memo from the meeting, Mr Bush told the prime minister that the US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq painted in UN colours. [...]
• Blair 'backed Iraq war in January 2003'The Telegraph, February 3, 2006
Tony Blair and George W Bush decided to invade Iraq weeks earlier than they have admitted, a new book by a human rights lawyer has claimed.
The book by Philippe Sands says the two leaders discussed going to war regardless of any United Nations view.
And it suggests the US wanted to provoke Saddam Hussein by sending a spy plane over Iraq in UN colours.
Downing Street said on Thursday it did not comment on discussions that "may or may not have happened" between leaders.
[T]he new book centres on a meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Blair at the White House three weeks earlier, on 31 January.
Professor Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College London, says the two-hour meeting was also attended by six advisers.
• Book: Bush, Blair Talked War in Jan. '03CBS/AP, February 3, 2006
President Bush told Prime Minister Tony Blair nearly two months before the invasion of Iraq that the United States intended to go to war even if inspectors failed to find evidence of a banned weapons program...
Author Phillippe Sands said Bush made the comments in a White House meeting with Blair on Jan. 31, 2003. He cites a memo of the meeting as saying Bush also told Blair that military intervention was scheduled for March 2003 even without U.N. backing.
The prime minister responded that he was "solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm" Saddam Hussein...
A spokesman for Blair, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said Downing Street does not comment on books or on leaked documents, and reiterated that Britain only committed to military action in Iraq after approval by the House of Commons on March 18, 2003. [...]Other claims made in the book say Bush floated the idea of a number of extreme measures aimed at provoking Saddam.
The president is said to have told Blair the U.S. "was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq. The aircraft would be painted in U.N. colors, so that if Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach of U.N. resolutions, the book said.
The book also claims Bush "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups" in Iraq following the invasion.
• Blair accused of supporting Iraq invasion before approach to UNFinancial Times, February 3, 2006
Tony Blair faces dramatic new allegations today that he and George W. Bush were set on invading Iraq well before diplomatic efforts to secure explicit United Nations support had failed.In an updated version of his book Lawless World, Philippe Sands, an international law professor, says Mr Blair offered his full support for Mr Bush at the White House in January 2003 during a private meeting in which the president disclosed he had pencilled in a March 10 invasion date and suggested military action was inevitable. The president, the book says, also floated a way of tricking Saddam Hussein into breaching UN demands and even talked of assassinating the former Iraqi leader. [... Balance of article behind paid subscription wall]
• Bush 'plotted to lure Saddam into war with fake UN plane'The Independent, February 3, 2006
George Bush considered provoking a war with Saddam Hussein's regime by flying a United States spy-plane over Iraq bearing UN colours, enticing the Iraqis to take a shot at it, according to a leaked memorandum of a meeting between the US President and Tony Blair.
The two leaders were worried by the lack of hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had broken UN resolutions, though they were privately convinced that he had. According to the memorandum, Mr Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."He added: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated." The memo damningly suggests that the decision to invade Iraq had already been made when Mr Blair and the US President met in Washington on 31 January 2003 - when the British Government was still working on obtaining a second UN resolution to legitimise the conflict.
The leaders discussed the prospects for a second resolution, but Mr Bush said: "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway." He added that he had a date, 10 March, pencilled in for the start of military action. The war actually began on 20 March. [...]
[Article is behind paid subscription wall. Go here to read text on FindArticles.com]
• Bush 'tried to lure Saddam into war using UN aircraft'The Times (London), February 3, 2006
PRESIDENT BUSH had plans to lure Saddam Hussein into war by flying an aircraft over Iraq painted in UN colours in the hope he would shoot it down, a book reveals.
Mr Bush told Tony Blair of the extraordinary plan during a meeting in the White House on January 31, 2003, six weeks before the war started, according to an updated version of Lawless World by Philippe Sands, a human rights lawyer. He says the President made it clear that he had already decided to go to war, despite still pressing for a UN resolution. [...]
If the U2 idea was a serious proposal, it would have made sense only if the spy plane was ordered to fly at an altitude within range of Iraqi missiles. Mr Bush’s reference in the recorded conversation to the U2 being escorted by fighter aircraft indicates that that is what he had in mind. [...]
• Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memoThe Guardian, February 3, 2006
Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was "solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war published today.
A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.
"The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning", the president told Mr Blair. The prime minister is said to have raised no objection. He is quoted as saying he was "solidly with the president and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam".
The disclosures come in a new edition of Lawless World, by Phillipe Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College, London...
The memo seen by Prof Sands reveals:
· Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added: "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]". [...]
· Mr Bush told the prime minister that he "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups". Mr Blair did not demur...
The revelation that Mr Blair had supported the US president's plans to go to war with Iraq even in the absence of a second UN resolution contrasts with the assurances the prime minister gave parliament shortly after. [...]
Downing Street did not deny the existence of the memo ...
• The White House memo Revealed: Bush and Blair discussedusing American Spyplane in UN colours to lure Saddam into warChannel 4 News (UK), February 3, 2006
... Channel 4 News has seen minutes from that meeting, which took place in the White House on 31 January 2003. The two leaders discussed the possibility of securing further UN support, but President Bush made it clear that he had already decided to go to war. The details are contained in a new version of the book 'Lawless World' written by a leading British human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands QC.
Memo extractsTaken from the White House Meeting Memo, 31 January 2003, seen by Channel 4 News - and detailed in 'Lawless World' by Philippe Sands.
President Bush to Tony Blair: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach" [...]
Blair: "A second Security Council Resolution resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs. " [...]
• Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence DoubtsNew York Times, November 6, 2005
A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.
The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, “was intentionally misleading the debriefers’’ in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.
The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as “credible’’ evidence that Iraq was training Al 8Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.
Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.’’
The newly declassified portions of the document were made available by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Levin said the new evidence of early doubts about Mr. Libi’s statements dramatized what he called the Bush administration’s misuse of prewar intelligence to try to justify the war in Iraq. [...]
• MPs unite for inquiry into Blair’s conduct over IraqThe Sunday Times, November 6, 2005
Tony Blair is set to face an unprecedented parliamentary inquiry into his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq war. [...]
The failure to plan for the aftermath is likely to be at the heart of the committee’s inquiries now that Iraq is in the grip of a violent insurgency, says the Tory MP Douglas Hogg, one of the inquiry’s architects and who is canvassing support for the move. [...]
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, said his party had not supported earlier attempts to impeach the prime minister but was in no doubt that parliament should hold its own inquiry.
“Information that has emerged, in particular the memos leaked to The Sunday Times, strengthen overwhelmingly the case for an inquiry into the judgments of ministers, and in particular the prime minister, in the run-up to war and thereafter,” he said. [...]
• Democrats close Senate to push war probeCNN, November 1, 2005
Democrats forced the Senate into a closed session Tuesday to pressure the Republican majority into completing an investigation of the intelligence underpinning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.Democrats demanded that Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts move forward on a promised investigation into how Bush administration officials handled prewar intelligence about Iraq's suspected weapons programs.
The probe would be a follow-up to the July 2004 Intelligence Committee report that blamed a "series of failures" by the CIA and other intelligence agencies for the mistaken belief among U.S. policymakers that Iraq had restarted its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
The Senate reopened about two hours later, after members agreed to appoint a bipartisan group of senators to assess the progress of the "Phase 2" probe, the office of Majority Leader Bill Frist said. [...]
• A Leak, Then a Deluge -Did a Bush loyalist, trying to protect the case for war in Iraq,obstruct an investigation into who blew the cover of a covert CIA operative?Washington Post, October 30, 2005
That Saturday afternoon, the indictment states, is when Libby confirmed for Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and disclosed to Judith Miller of the New York Times the classified fact that Wilson's wife, who was known as Valerie Plame, "worked at the CIA." Just over two weeks earlier, after a previous conversation with Cheney, Libby had told Miller more tentatively that Plame "might work at a bureau of the CIA." [...]
Libby's possible motive is only one of many unknowns left in the aftermath of Friday's indictment, which prompted the resignation of one of the most powerful figures in the White House and left the Bush administration reeling politically. Still to be determined is who first leaked Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak -- the original act that led to Fitzgerald's investigation -- and the roles of many other administration officials, including Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. [...]
• CIA leak illustrates selective use of intelligence on IraqKnight-Ridder, October 25, 2005
A Knight Ridder review of the administration's arguments, its own reporting at the time and the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 report shows that the White House followed a pattern of using questionable intelligence, even documents that turned out to be forgeries, to support its case - often leaking classified information to receptive journalists - and dismissing information that undermined the case for war.
The Iraqi National Congress, an exile opposition group whose leader, Ahmad Chalabi, was close to Cheney and others, had begun feeding Western reporters Iraqi defectors' tales that Saddam was training Islamic extremists to hit U.S. targets and hiding banned weapons shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The INC, which was deeply distrusted by the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA, piped the same information into Cheney's office and the Pentagon, according to a June 2002 letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee from the group's Washington spokesman.
• Official Says U.S. Rushed to War in IraqLos Angeles Times, October 22, 2005
A top U.S. official for aid to Iraq has accused the Bush administration of rushing unprepared into the 2003 invasion because of pressures from President Bush's approaching reelection campaign.Robin Raphel, the State Department's coordinator for Iraq assistance, said that the invasion's timing was driven by "clear political pressure," as well as by the need to quickly deploy the U.S. troops that had been amassed by the Iraq border.
Soon after the invasion, Raphel said, it became clear that U.S. officials "could not run a country we did not understand". It was very much amateur hour."
... Although the officials' views vary widely — and some are positive about the U.S. effort — the accounts make clear that many of the veteran diplomats who were the first to be sent to Iraq had misgivings about the effort from the beginning, with their views foreshadowing criticisms that followed months and even years later.
Many analysts speculated in 2003 that the timing of the invasion might be affected by Bush's desire to complete the war before the beginning of the 2004 political campaign. But Raphel is apparently the first government official closely involved in the effort to publicly level such an accusation.
Raphel, a 28-year veteran of the State Department's foreign service and a former assistant secretary of State, said in her account that veteran diplomats who were sent to Iraq early in 2003 shared a view that "we were not prepared."
• Prewar Memo Warned of Gaps in Iraq PlansWashington Post, August 18, 2005
One month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, three State Department bureau chiefs warned of "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance" in a secret memorandum prepared for a superior.
The State Department officials, who had been discussing the issues with top military officers at the Central Command, noted that the military was reluctant "to take on 'policing' roles" in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The three officials warned that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally. Jay M. Garner, the first post-invasion administrator, was told of the issues in the memo, its authors said.
The Feb. 7, 2003, memo, addressed to Paula J. Dobriansky, undersecretary for democracy and global affairs, came at a time when the Pentagon was increasingly taking over control of post-invasion planning from the State Department. It reflected the growing tensions between State Department and Pentagon officials and their disparate assessments about the challenges looming in post-invasion Iraq.
• Poll shows most Americans feel more vulnerableUSA Today, August 8, 2005
An unprecedented 57% majority say the war has made the USA more vulnerable to terrorism. A new low, 34%, say it has made the country safer.
A 54% majority say going to war in Iraq was a mistake, equaling highs measured last summer when insurgent attacks were increasing. The same proportion say the war was not "worth it." A majority of Americans have expressed that view since last October.
• Key No 10 aides were split over warThe Sunday Times, July 31, 2005
Ministers have... insisted that the stepped-up attacks, which began in May 2002, were as a result of increased Iraqi activity and were not an attempt to provoke a response that would give the allies an excuse for war.
The figures do not support those claims. In the first seven months of 2001 the allies recorded a total of 370 "provocations" by the Iraqis against allied aircraft. But in the seven months between October 2001 and May 2002 there were just 32.
• Senate probe of prewar intelligence stallsThe Boston Globe, July 27, 2005
The revelation that Karl Rove, a White House political adviser, leaked information about a CIA operative to discredit her husband's complaints about President Bush's use of intelligence has focused new attention on the relationship between the White House and CIA. But the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has shown no signs of moving ahead with its investigation."The chairman has declared firmly that it will be done," said Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia. ''I always think there's a reluctance to do anything which might embarrass the administration. I think that's been true since the beginning of all of this."
• Poll: USA doubts Iraq success, but not ready to give upUSA Today, July 26, 2005
For the first time, a majority of Americans, 51%, say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — the central justification given for invading. The administration's credibility on the issue has been steadily eroding since 2003 after stores of the weapons weren't found.
• Use and abuse of intelligenceThe Guardian, July 19, 2005
The security and intelligence agencies had their own specific concerns: Britain's alliance with the US did not help their attempts to recruit agents or informants where they most needed them, in the mosques and the souks.
Al-Qaida is now as much of a concept as an organisation or network. It blossomed in Afghanistan, and the US soon became a target, partly because of its military presence in the Middle East. Al-Qaida would have continued out there anyway, on videos and websites. But Iraq has helped to spread its influence and encourage young Muslims.
• Top Cheney Aide Among Sources in C.I.A. Story The New York Times, July 17, 2005
The vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was a source along with the president's chief political adviser for a Time story that identified a CIA officer, the magazine reporter said Sunday, further countering White House claims that neither aide was involved in the leak.
In an effort to quell a chorus of calls to fire deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Republicans said that Rove originally learned about Valerie Plame's identity from the news media. That exonerates Rove, the Republican Party chairman said, and Democrats should apologize.
But it is not clear that it was a journalist who first revealed the information to Rove.
A lawyer familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony said Sunday that Rove learned about the CIA officer either from the media or from someone in government who said the information came from a journalist. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because the federal investigation is continuing.
In a first-person account in the latest issue of Time magazine, reporter Matt Cooper wrote that during his grand jury appearance last Wednesday, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "asked me several different ways if Rove had indicated how he had heard that Plame worked at the CIA." Cooper said Rove did not indicate how he had heard.
The White House's assurance in 2003 that Rove was not involved in the leak of the CIA officer's identity ''was a lie,'' said John Podesta, White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. He said Rove's credibility "is in shreds."
• State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. OfficerThe New York Times, July 16, 2005
Investigators in the case have been trying to learn whether officials at the White House and elsewhere in the administration learned of the C.I.A. officer's identity from the memorandum. They are seeking to determine if any officials then passed the name along to journalists and if officials were truthful in testifying about whether they had read the memo...
The memorandum was dated June 10, 2003, nearly four weeks before Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article for The New York Times in which he recounted his mission and accused the administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq. The memorandum was written for Marc Grossman, then the under secretary of state for political affairs, and it referred explicitly to Valerie Wilson as Mr. Wilson's wife...
The memorandum was prepared at the State Department, relying on notes by an analyst who was involved in meetings in early 2002 to discuss whether to send someone to Africa to investigate allegations that Iraq was pursuing uranium purchases.
• Hinchey presses for Iraq probeThe Daily Freeman, July 8, 2005
But the lack of checks and balances in the "monolithic" government, in which both the Congress and Senate favor the administration, will make mounting such an investigation a difficult prospect for those lawmakers who have questioned and continue to question both the impetus for the war in Iraq, and America's continued involvement there, Hinchey, D-Hurley, said.
• The Impeachment QuestionWashington Post, July 6, 2005
More than four in 10 Americans, according to a recent Zogby poll, say that if President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.
[The polls] suggest an appetite for more investigation into Bush's reasons for war and specifically -- in light of the assertions in the Downing Street memos -- whether his public rationales were in fact at all like his private rationales.
Was Bush motivated more by personal animosity toward Saddam Hussein than by a post-Sept. 11 desire to protect America from a grave threat? Did he exaggerate that threat? At what point was war inevitable?
Those are not settled questions. And evidently quite a few Americans would like to see some accountability if Bush deceived them.
• Secret air campaign against Iraq?Christian Science Monitor, June 30, 2005
The Downing Street plan, according to the leaked briefing paper, was to use the United Nations to trap Saddam Hussein into giving them a reason to attack.
But if that didn't work, the US was already working on "Plan B," and the information on that was in the Downing Street memo.
[quoting Michael Smith] "It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that 'the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime.' This we now realize was Plan B [and apparently confirmed by Gen. Moseley's comments mentioned above]. Put simply, US aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict."
Smith reported that another of the leaked documents, a paper on British Foreign Office legal advice, showed that the increased bombing campaign was "illegal" under international law, despite US claims to the contrary.
• Blair Downplays 'Downing Street'CBS News, June 29, 2005
"I am a bit astonished at how this has received such coverage in the U.S. because the fact is after the memo was done we went to the United Nations," Blair said.
"What people forget about that memo is that that (it) occurred nine months before the conflict... So whatever issues there were, we resolved them ultimately by saying we have got to give it one last chance to work peacefully."
• Survey Finds Most Support Staying in Iraq, Public Skeptical About Gains Against InsurgentsWashington Post, June 28, 2005
So far, continuing spasms of violence in Iraq are competing with regular declarations of progress in Washington. Few people agree with Vice President Cheney's recent claim that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The survey found that 22 percent of Americans – barely one in five – say they believe that the insurgency is getting weaker...
A large majority, about six in 10 people, say the United States is "bogged down" in Iraq.
For the first time, a narrow majority -- 52 percent -- said the administration deliberately misled the public before the war, a nine-point increase in three months. Forty-eight percent said the administration told the public what it believed to be true at the time.
Fewer than half -- 46 percent -- of those interviewed agreed that defeating the insurgents in Iraq would do much to defeat terrorism elsewhere, while 53 percent said it would have, at best, only limited impact on the broader anti-terrorism campaign.
• 'Downing Street Memo' Has Lingering EffectWall Street Journal, June 28, 2005
After a slow start in the U.S., a half-dozen liberal activists are having some success in making the documents fodder for Capitol Hill rhetoric and White House news briefings.
"The coverage seems to be getting more intelligent," after reporters initially gave the memos short shrift, says Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Mr. Reid himself has begun citing the documents in public remarks, ad libbing a reference to them in a recent Senate floor speech.
The idea to target news operations came from Michael Clark, [who] said he knew nothing about running such a campaign but decided to contact three media outlets a day, including the likes of C-Span, the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.
A search of U.S. publications and television news-program transcripts shows that in the two weeks after the London Times broke its story, the Downing Street memo was mentioned fewer than 100 times. The phrase has appeared nearly 800 times since Mr. Clark's efforts began, although it isn't clear the extent to which this is the result of his campaign.
• From Memos, Insights Into Ally's Doubts On Iraq WarWashington Post, June 28, 2005
Behind the scenes, British officials believed the U.S. administration was already committed to a war that they feared was ill-conceived and illegal and could lead to disaster...
British cabinet ministers, Foreign Office diplomats, senior generals and intelligence service officials all weighed in with concerns and reservations. Yet they could not dissuade their counterparts in the Bush administration -- nor, indeed, their own leader -- from going forward...A U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of the events said the concerns raised by British officials "played a useful role."
"Were they paid a tremendous amount of heed?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "I think it's hard to say they were..."
"What has changed that suddenly gives us the legal right to take military action that we didn't have a few months ago?" demanded David Blunkett, one of Blair's closest political allies.
"Blair comes back from Crawford with a clear sense that the Americans are preparing for war," said Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at King's College, who met with policymakers at key points during the year. "But the British approach is slightly different -- that we are preparing for war as a means of forcing Iraq to comply so that we don't actually have to fight."
• General admits to secret air warThe Sunday Times, June 26, 2005
Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 "carefully selected targets" before the war officially started.
The nine months of allied raids "laid the foundations" for the allied victory, Moseley said. They ensured that allied forces did not have to start the war with a protracted bombardment of Iraqi positions.
If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally.
Details of the Moseley briefing come amid rising concern in the US at the war. A new poll shows 60% of Americans now believe it was a mistake.
• Brits backed Sunni-led Iraq,Newsday, June 26, 2005
The British government, in sharp disagreement with the United States' ultimate position, believed that post-invasion Iraq should be run by a Sunni-led government and not one controlled by the majority Shias.
The current insurgency is led by disaffected Sunnis who controlled the government under Hussein while only accounting for 20 percent of the Iraqi population.
Iraq's Arab neighbors have virtually boycotted the new government that resulted from the election process dictated by the United States. Only Egypt announced yesterday at a summit sponsored by the United States and the European Union in Brussels that it would send an ambassador to Baghdad.
• Relatives of some troops killed in Iraq seek hearings on Downing Street memo,Stars and Stripes, June 22, 2005
"This war was based on lies and deception," said Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, whose son was killed in April 2004 while providing security for investigators searching for WMD. "The only way we can understand how we’ve come to this disastrous position is to find out what the truth is."
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., said if true the allegations in the memo are "shameful" and told the parents, "Those who are responsible should be held accountable."
"This clearly wasn’t a war of necessity; it was a war of choice," he said.
• Wolfowitz won't talk about war planning,St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 22, 2005
At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Wolfowitz said he hasn't read the memos because he doesn't want to be "distracted" by "history" from his new job as head of the world's leading development bank...
The authenticity of the British documents has not been challenged, but Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have both denied any pre-determination to go to war. They insist that the war decision came only after diplomatic alternatives had been exhausted.
Wolfowitz professed no recollection of discussing U.N. tactics with [then-British Ambassador Christopher] Meyer.
• WMD claims were 'totally implausible',The Guardian, June 20, 2005
"I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".Carne Ross, who was a member of the British mission to the UN in New York during the run-up to the invasion, resigned from the FO last year...
"There was a very good alternative to war that was never properly pursued, which was to close down Saddam's sources of illegal revenue", he says.
• U.S. War Plans Much-Discussed in Memos,Associated Press, June 18, 2005
"We have also to answer the big question — what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything," [UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw] said in a March 25, 2002, memo to Blair.
"Most of the assessments from the U.S. have assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq's WMD threat," he said. "But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. Iraq has had NO history of democracy, so no one has this habit or experience."
• 2002 Memos Undercut British WMD Claims,Associated Press, June 18, 2005
An intelligence dossier before the Iraq war [claimed] that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and could deploy some within 45 minutes.
No WMD were found after the war, and the official Butler inquiry said the intelligence used was drawn in part from "seriously flawed" or "unreliable" sources. It also said the dossier, which helped Blair win the support of Parliament to join the U.S. in the conflict, had pushed the government's case to the limits of available intelligence and left out vital caveats.
• British documents portray determined U.S. march to war,Knight Ridder, June 17, 2005
By mid-March 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, top British officials were already so resigned to a war that they seemed preoccupied mostly with building international support and finding a legal justification.
Neither the U.S. government nor the British government has disputed the memos' authenticity.The British memos document in crisp, sometimes wry, prose how advanced political preparations were even more than a year before the March 2003 invasion.
In his own letter to Blair... Straw also seemed to question the scale of the threat. "In the documents so far presented, it has been hard to glean whether the threat from Iraq is so significantly different from that of Iran and North Korea as to justify military action," he wrote.While Bush continues to assert that he tried diplomacy, things looked different in the spring and summer of 2002, at least as seen through the prism of the British government.
• Bush pressed to answer `Downing Street Memo' questions,Knight Ridder, June 16, 2005
Thursday's hearing on the memo was organized by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
It was held in a cramped Capitol basement room and was attended by about 20 House Democrats and some anti-war activists. Republicans, who control Congress, refused to hold an official hearing or to participate, so Conyers termed it a "forum." [...]
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said, "The evidence that appears to be building up points to a direction of whether the president deliberately misled Congress. I want so badly to believe that no president would ever sacrifice human life."
"Now we're at $300 billion, countless lives and there's no end in sight," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
The official cost of the war so far is $208 billion and the lives of 1,704 U.S. troops, according to the Congressional Research Service and the Department of Defense. [...]
Conyers delivered petitions signed by 105  members of Congress and some 540,000 [560,000] signatures sent via e-mail to a security gate at the White House early Thursday evening. The petitions urged Bush to thoroughly answer questions about the memo. [...]
• U.S. Democrats cite British memo in Bolton fight,Reuters, June 16, 2005
U.S. Senate Democrats rejected a Republican compromise over John Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador on Thursday and cited a British report backing their view that the Bush administration hyped intelligence on Iraq before the 2003 invasion.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, scheduled a procedural vote on Monday to try to break the deadlock. Democrats said they had enough votes to stall the nomination until the White House turns over information they demanded on Bolton. [...]
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid demanded a full accounting of whether Bolton exaggerated assessments of several countries' weapons programs, a key issue in the long-stalled nomination."All over the news the last few days has been concerns about weapons of mass destruction by virtue of the memo that was discovered," the Nevada Democrat said, referring to the so-called "Downing Street memo."
• Congressman Tries to Renew Focus on US Justifications for War in Iraq,Voice of America, June 16, 2005
A Democratic member of Congress is trying to focus new attention on a document known as the Downing Street Memo, in which British officials are quoted as describing the Bush administration as having shaped intelligence findings to justify a pre-determination to go to war against Saddam Hussein. [...]
On Thursday, Democratic Congressman John Conyers, who has criticized the Republican congressional leadership for not holding a hearing on the subject, staged a public forum in the U.S. Capitol.
"We can't do anything in this hearing to change the facts and the problems on the ground in Iraq today," said Mr. Conyers. "But we can pledge today to do everything within our power to find out how we got there, and to make sure it never happens again." [...]
As part of his efforts to shine a new spotlight on administration justifications for going to war in Iraq, Congressman Conyers included a family member of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan.
"As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter whether one is a Democrat or Republican. A full investigation into the veracity of the Downing Street memo must be initiated immediately," said Ms. Sheehan. [...]
Democrat-sponsored efforts include a petition signed by some 540,000 [560,000] Americans demanding that President Bush answer questions about the Downing Street memo.
All of this comes amid renewed legislative steps, including one by a small group of four House Democrats and Republicans, to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.• From Downing Street to Capitol Hill,Newsweek, June 15, 2005
Two senior British government officials today acknowledged as authentic a series of 2002 pre-Iraq war memos stating that Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program was "effectively frozen" and that there was "no recent evidence" of Iraqi ties to international terrorism—private conclusions that contradicted two key pillars of the Bush administration's public case for the invasion in March 2003.
A March 8, 2002, secret "options" paper prepared by Prime Minister Tony Blair's top national-security aides also stated that intelligence on Saddam's purported weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was "poor".... [T]he options paper concluded "there is no greater threat now than in recent years that Saddam will use WMD."
[T]he March 8, 2002, “options paper”—which asserted the Iraqi opposition was “weak, divided, and lacks domestic credibility”—described Chalabi as a “convicted fraudster” who was nonetheless “popular on Capitol Hill."
The memos were first obtained by Michael Smith, a London-based reporter who previously wrote for The Daily Telegraph and now works for the Sunday Times of London... On the advice of the Telegraph’s lawyers, the paper had a secretary retype the documents verbatim on separate paper—then returned the originals to his source.
• New Memos Detail Early Plans for Invading Iraq,LA Times, June 15, 2005
The documents contain little discussion about whether to mount a military campaign. The focus instead is on how the campaign should be presented to win the widest support and the importance for Britain of working through the United Nations so an invasion could be seen as legal under international law.
The memo [from UK ambassador to the US David Manning to Blair] went on to say: "Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed. But there were some signs, since we last spoke, of greater awareness of the practical difficulties and political risks. From what she said, Bush has yet to find answers to the big questions:
• How to persuade international opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified; • What value to put on the exiled Iraqi opposition; • How to coordinate a US/allied military campaign with internal opposition (assuming there is any); • What happens the morning after?
Another memo, from British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on March 22, 2002, bluntly stated that the case against Hussein was weak because the Iraqi leader was not accelerating his weapons programs and there was scant proof of links to Al Qaeda "U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda is so far frankly unconvincing," he said.
The paper said the British view was that any invasion for the purpose of regime change "has no basis under international law."
• Deep Throat of Downing Street,Washington Post, June 14, 2005
The document, a British government briefing paper from July 21, 2002, informed Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet ministers eight months before the invasion of Iraq that Blair had already committed Britain to supporting an American-led attack and that "they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal."
The leak of the document gives unprecedented publicity to the arguments made by skeptics of U.S. policy in Blair's inner circle. The documents openly question the use of intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the legal basis for the decision to go to war.
"The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war," Smith wrote.
• More British memos on pre-Iraq war concerns,MSNBC, June 13, 2005(video of NBC Nightly News segment available at this link also)
It started during British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign last month, when details leaked about a top-secret memo, written in July 2002 — eight months before the Iraq war. In the memo, British officials just back from Washington reported that prewar "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" to invade Iraq.[...]
But now, war critics have come up with seven more memos, verified by NBC News. One, also from July 2002, says U.S. military planners had given "little thought" to postwar Iraq.“The memos are startlingly clear that the British saw that there was inadequate planning, little planning for the aftermath,” says Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
And there's more. To prepare Blair for a meeting at the president's ranch in April 2002, a year before the war, four other British memos raised more questions.[...]
In fact, current and former diplomats tell NBC News they understood from the beginning the Bush policy to be that Saddam had to be removed — one way or the other. The only question was when and how.
• Public starts to get a fix on 'fixing' intelligence,Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2005
Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel who is now a war analyst at Boston University, said: "The memo is significant because it was written by our closest ally, and when it comes to writing minutes on foreign policy and security matters, the British are professionals. We can conclude that the memo means precisely what it says. It says that Bush had already made the decision for war even while he was insisting publicly, and for many months thereafter, that war was the last resort.
"This is no longer a suspicion or accusation. The memo is an authoritative piece of information, at the highest level."
[British Foreign Secretary Jack] Straw... suggested, according to the memo, that Bush needed "help with the legal justification for the use of force." Blair's idea was that Bush should go to the United Nations; this was a "political strategy to give the military plan the space to work."
But, in the view of many Iraq experts, the memo shows that Bush went to the United Nations not as a means to avoid war (his public stance) but as a way to gain more political support for the war he intended to wage.
• Ministers Were Told of Need for Gulf War 'Excuse',The Sunday Times, June 12, 2005
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper... said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.
The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war.
• Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan,Washington Post, June 12, 2005
The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.
The memo's authors point out, "A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise." The authors add, "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point."
The British, however, had begun focusing on doubts about a postwar Iraq in early 2002, according to internal memos.
A March 14 memo to Blair from David Manning, then the prime minister's foreign policy adviser and now British ambassador in Washington, reported on talks with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Among the "big questions" coming out of his sessions, Manning reported, was that the president "has yet to find the answers . . . [and] what happens on the morning after."
• "Downing Street" memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy,Knight Ridder, June 5, 2005
A highly classified British memo... indicates that President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.
No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. [...]
The principal U.S. intelligence analysis, called a National Intelligence Estimate, wasn't completed until October 2002, well after the United States and United Kingdom had apparently decided military force should be used to overthrow Saddam's regime.
A White House official said the administration wouldn't comment on leaked British documents.In July 2002, and well afterward, top Bush administration foreign policy advisers were insisting that "there are no plans to attack Iraq on the president's desk."
But the memo quotes British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a close colleague of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, as saying that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action." Straw is quoted as having his doubts about the Iraqi threat. [...]
Powell in August 2002 persuaded Bush to make the case against Saddam at the United Nations and to push for renewed weapons inspections.
• The war before the war,The New Statesman, May 30, 2005
What most people will not have realised until now, however, was that Britain and the US waged a secret war against Iraq for months before the tanks rolled over the border in March 2003. Documentary evidence and ministerial answers in parliament reveal the existence of a clandestine bombing campaign designed largely to provoke Iraq into taking action that could be used to justify the start of the war.
[In May 2002] Donald Rumsfeld had ordered a more aggressive approach, authorising allied aircraft to attack Iraqi command and control centres as well as actual air defences. The US defence secretary later said this was simply to prevent the Iraqis attacking allied aircraft, but Hoon's remark gives the game away. In reality, as he explained, the "spikes of activity" were designed "to put pressure on the regime".
...it would have been extremely convenient for Bush and Rumsfeld if Saddam had retaliated against the bombing offensive, thus giving London and Washington the chance to cry, "He started it!"
• Blair faces US probe over secret Iraq invasion plan,The Sunday Times, May 22, 2005
SENIOR American congressmen are considering sending a delegation to London to investigate Britain's role in preparations for the war in Iraq.
The Democrat letter, drafted by Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, said that the memo raised “troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own administration”.
"They (the Republicans) are trying desperately to wait it out and hope that nobody will bring this up," Conyers said. "But this thing will not be snuffed out."
"There are members saying that if they knew then what they know now they wouldn’t have given him those powers (to wage war)," Conyers said.
By sending investigators to London, Conyers hopes to stir the US media into re-examining a story largely ignored in America since Bush's re-election victory in November.
"We have The Sunday Times to thank for this very important activity. It reminds me of Watergate, which started off as a tiny little incident reported in The Washington Post. I think that the interest of many citizens is picking up."
• British Memo on U.S. Plans for Iraq War Fuels Critics,The New York Times, May 20, 2005
More than two weeks after its publication in London, a previously secret British government memorandum that reported in July 2002 that President Bush had decided to "remove Saddam, through military action" is still creating a stir among administration critics. [...]
Eighty-nine House Democrats wrote to the White House to ask whether the memorandum, first disclosed by The Sunday Times on May 1, accurately reported the administration’s thinking at the time, eight months before the American-led invasion. [...]
Among other things, the memorandum reported that Sir Richard Dearlove, the chief of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reporting back from talks in Washington, had told other senior British officials that President Bush "wanted to remove" Mr. Hussein, "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D.," or weapons of mass destruction. "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," Sir Richard was reported in the memorandum to have told his colleagues. [...]
The British government has not disputed the authenticity of the British memorandum, written by Matthew Rycroft, a top foreign policy aide to Mr. Blair. [...]
The primary observations were those offered by Sir Richard, who had met in Washington with senior American officials, including George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence. In the memorandum, Sir Richard is identified only as "C," the letter traditionally used to refer to the chief of British intelligence. [...]
• White House challenges UK Iraq memo,CNN, May 17, 2005
Claims in a recently uncovered British memo that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the Iraq war as early as mid-2002 are "flat out wrong," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. [...]
However, McClellan also said he had not seen the "specific memo," only reports of what it contained.
Earlier this month, the Times of London published the minutes of a meeting of top British officials in mid-2002, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's staunchest ally in the Iraq war. [...]
The memo also quoted British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that the final push to war would likely begin a month before the U.S. congressional elections in November 2002, with an actual attack coming in January 2003.
President Bush did begin trying to build public support for military action against Iraq during the mid-term election, which saw Republicans pick up seats in both the House and Senate. The invasion came four months later, in March 2003.
British officials have not disputed the authenticity of the memo published by the Times.After the minutes of the meeting became public, 89 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Bush asking for an explanation.
The memo "raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war, as well as the integrity of your administration," the letter said.
• British Intelligence Warned of Iraq War,Washington Post, May 13, 2005
Seven months before the invasion of Iraq, the head of British foreign intelligence reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that President Bush wanted to topple Saddam Hussein by military action and warned that in Washington intelligence was "being fixed around the policy," according to notes of a July 23, 2002, meeting with Blair at No. 10 Downing Street.
"Military action was now seen as inevitable," said the notes, summarizing a report by Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, British intelligence, who had just returned from consultations in Washington along with other senior British officials. Dearlove went on, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
"The case was thin," summarized the notes taken by a British national security aide at the meeting. "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
The notes were first disclosed last week by the Sunday Times of London, triggering criticism of Blair on the eve of the May 5 British parliamentary elections that he had decided to support an invasion of Iraq well before informing the public of his views.
The notes of the Blair meeting, attended by the prime minister's senior national security team, also disclose for the first time that Britain's intelligence boss believed that Bush had decided to go to war in mid-2002, and that he believed U.S. policymakers were trying to use the limited intelligence they had to make the Iraqi leader appear to be a bigger threat than was supported by known facts...
• Bush asked to explain UK war memo,CNN, May 12, 2005
Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.
The timing of the memo was well before the President brought the issue to Congress for approval. [...]
The White House has not yet responded to queries about the congressional letter, which was released on May 6.
• Indignation Grows in U.S. Over British Prewar Documents,LA Times, May 12, 2005
[I]n the United States, where the reports at first received scant attention, there has been growing indignation among critics of the Bush White House, who say the documents help prove that the leaders made a secret decision to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein nearly a year before launching their attack, shaped intelligence to that aim and never seriously intended to avert the war through diplomacy.
• Memo: Bush manipulated Iraq intel,NY Newsday, May 9, 2005
A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President George W. Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.
The visit took place while the Bush administration was still declaring to the American public that no decision had been made to go to war. [...]
"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable," the MI-6 chief said at the meeting, according to the memo. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," or weapons of mass destruction. [...]
No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during the senior British intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity. [...]
The principal U.S. intelligence analysis, called a National Intelligence Estimate, wasn't completed until October 2002, well after the United States and United Kingdom had apparently decided military force should be used to overthrow Hussein's regime.
• A New Memo-gate? Knight Ridder CoversLeaked British Document That Disputes Bush Claims on Iraq ,Editor & Publisher, May 6, 2005
Among other things, [Rep. Conyers] wants to know: "Did the Administration lie to the American people about its intentions with respect to Iraq? Did the Administration deliberately manipulate intelligence to deceive the American people about the strength of its case for war?"
Strobel and Wolcott noted that the White House has repeatedly denied accusations by top foreign officials that intelligence estimates were manipulated.
But they report that a former senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during Dearlove's visit to Washington.
• British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy,Knight Ridder, May 5, 2005
A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.The document, which summarizes a July 23, 2002, meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with his top security advisers, reports on a visit to Washington by the head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence service.
The visit took place while the Bush Administration was still declaring to the American public that no decision had been made to go to war.
The newly disclosed memo, which was first reported by the Sunday Times of London, hasn't been disavowed by the British government. [...]
A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during the senior British intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
In July 2002 and well afterward, top Bush Administration foreign policy advisers were insisting that "there are no plans to attack Iraq on the president's desk."
But the memo quotes British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a close colleague of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, as saying that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action."
Straw is quoted as having his doubts about the Iraqi threat.
"But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran," the memo reported he said.
• Blair backed war before invasion,The Age, May 2, 2005
The memo also shows that Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith warned Mr Blair eight months before the invasion that finding a legal justification for war would be difficult and "the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action".
• Papers reveal commitment to war,The Guardian, May 2, 2005
The documents show how Mr Blair was told how Britain and the US could ‘create the conditions’ for an invasion, partly, in the words of Jack Straw, to ‘work up’ an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein even though, in the foreign secretary's own words, ‘the case was thin’.
The officials said "certain conditions" should be met and that efforts should be made to "shape public opinion." Before and after his Texas meeting, Mr Blair insisted to MPs that no decision had been taken on military action.
• Blair planned Iraq war from start,The Sunday Times, May 1, 2005
The Americans had been trying to link Saddam to the 9/11 attacks; but the British knew the evidence was flimsy or non-existent. Dearlove warned the meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy".
It was clear from Dearlove’s brief visit that the US administration’s attitude would compound the legal difficulties for Britain. The US had no patience with the United Nations and little inclination to ensure an invasion was backed by the security council, he said.
Nor did the Americans seem very interested in what might happen in the aftermath of military action. Yet, as Boyce then reported, events were already moving swiftly.
Back to News & Media page
10 DOWNING STREET MEMO
The Downing Street "Memo" is actually meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002. Published by The Sunday Times on May 1, 2005 it was the first hard evidence from within the UK or US governments that exposed the truth behind how the Iraq war began. This site is intended to provide information about the Downing Street Memo and how it fits in with numerous other documents and events that relate to the Bush administration’s march to war.
• As originally reported in the The Sunday Times, May 1, 2005
-SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLYDAVID MANNING
IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY
Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.
This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.
John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.
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.
CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.
The two broad US options were:
(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).
(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.
The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:
(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
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.
On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.
For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.
The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.
John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.
The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.
(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.
(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.
(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.
(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam. He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.
-(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.
(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.
(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)MATTHEW RYCROFT
(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)[end text - emphasis added]
PDF printable version Plain Text printable version Annotated version Major Players–who are the people present at this meeting?-For a detailed explanation of the provenance of these documents, please read Michael Smith's interview with DowningStreetMemo.com.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw MemoPDF scan of reporter's transcriptionPlain text transcriptionMichael Smith/Telegraph article–scan of original front page of documentMarch 25, 2002 memo from Jack Straw (UK Foreign Secretary) to Tony Blair in preparation for Blair’s visit to Bush’s Crawford ranch, covering Iraq-al Qaida linkage, legality of invasion, weapons inspectors and post-war considerations.
British Foreign Office Political Director Peter Ricketts LetterPDF scan of reporter's transcriptionPlain text transcriptionMarch 22, 2002 memo from Peter Ricketts (Political Director, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to Jack Straw (UK Foreign Secretary) providing Ricketts’ advice for the Prime Minister on issues of the threat posed by Iraq, connections to al Qaida, post-war considerations and working with the UN.
British Ambassador Christopher Meyer LetterPDF scan of reporter's transcriptionPlain text transcriptionMarch 18, 2002 memo from Christopher Meyer (UK ambassador to the US) to David Manning (UK Foreign Policy Advisor) recounting Meyer’s meeting with Paul Wolfowitz (US Deputy Secretary of Defense).
Chief Foreign Policy Advisor David Manning MemoPDF scan of reporter's transcriptionPlain text transcriptionMichael Smith/Telegraph article–scan of original front page of documentMarch 14, 2002 memo from David Manning (UK Foreign Policy Advisor) to Tony Blair recounting Manning’s meetings with his US counterpart Condoleeza Rice (National Security Advisor), and advising Blair for his upcoming visit to Bush’s Crawford ranch.
Iraq OptionsPDF scan of reporter's transcriptionPlain text transcriptionMarch 8, 2002 memo from Overseas and Defence Secretariat Cabinet Office outlining military options for implementing regime change.
Iraq: Legal BackgroundPDF scan of reporter's transcriptonPlain text transcriptionMarch 8, 2002 memo from UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (office of Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary) to Tony Blair advising him on the legality of the use of force against Iraq.
These other items include:
Additional leaked UK government documents that provide further evidence of the illegality of the invasion, the search for justification at the UN, and the lack of planning for the aftermathInformation from the US and UK defense departments that indicates the Iraq war began with an air campaign nearly a year before the March 2003 invasion
A comprehensive, searchable database of many of the events, that led up to the US invasionof Iraq.This extensive reference contains data on the political and diplomatic decisions and developments, military activity, plans, statements of officials and reports from the media.John Bolton’s reported abuse of his authority to spy on and discredit UN officials who stood in the way of US policy
The Bush administration’s smear campaign against Joseph Wilson in retribution for his challenging Bush’s infamous claims about Iraq seeking uranium from Africa. (On October 28, 2005, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, has been indicted in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife.)
These incidents are the tip of a very big iceberg. From cherry-picked intelligence to a criminal lack of planning for the war’s aftermath; from no-bid contracts for reconstruction to character assassination for anyone who dares to question the premises of the war—the Bush administration has perpetrated what is now being called the most egregious foreign policy misstep in our history. A majority of the American people now believes that the president intentionally misled the country into a war that has now cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives. The only question that remains is: will he and his administration be held accountable?
INTERACTIVE DATABASE AND TIMELINE: https://odin.clark.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://downingstreetmemo.com/timeline/
Facts of the Memo: Minutes of the Secret Meeting July 23, 2002 VERSUS Public Statements/Lies of Bush and his Sycophants
MEMO VS Public Statementsof the Bush AdministrationLeading Up to War in Iraq
“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”“No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”
BUSH and CRONIES:
“We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.”- George W. Bush,Mar. 8, 2003 Radio Address“I think that that presumes there's some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable.”- George W. Bush,Aug. 10, 2002 while golfing
“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”[and don't forget...]“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD”
BUSH and CRONIES:“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.”- George W. Bush,Mar. 17, 2003,the War begins two days later"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," [...] "This war came to us, not the other way around."- Condoleeza RiceMay 15, 2005,Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq
MEMO:“The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record”"He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route."“I don't like war. [...] That's why I first went to the United Nations to begin with, on September the 12th, 2002, to address this issue as forthrightly as I knew how. That's why, months later, we went to the Security Council to get another resolution, called 1441...
BUSH and CRONIES:I've not made up our mind about military action. [sic] Hopefully, this can be done peacefully...”- George W. Bush,Mar. 6, 2003,White House Press Conference"America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations."- George W. Bush,Mar. 17, 2003,the War begins two days later
MEMO:“There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
BUSH and CRONIES:"Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq."- The White House,March 16, 2003, Statementof the Atlantic Summit"I can't imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years."-Paul WolfowitzFebruary 28, 2003House subcommittee on Iraq testimony"The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious.... [Without an 'overwhelming' effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq] the United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's own making."-Army War College report,February 2003,Postwar planning for Iraq 'ignored' "You are going to get serious resistance. This idea that everyone will join you is baloney. But it was dismissed."-Senior Defense Department officialFebruary 2003,Postwar planning for Iraq 'ignored'"Liberated people don't misbehave."- Former Secretary of ArmyThomas White,(on Cheney and Rumsfeld'spost-war views prior to invasion)July 7, 2003, War in Iraq'saftermath hits troops hard
MEMO:“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.”
BUSH and CRONIES:"The President has made no decisions about what the next step will be. Clearly, we will continue to talk to the United Nations about the inspection process."- Ari Fleischer,Oct. 10, 2002,White House press briefing"This is about disarmament and this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. If he chooses not to do so peacefully, then the United States is prepared to act, with our friends, to do so by force. And we will do so forcefully and swiftly and decisively, as the President has outlined. But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort."
PHASE II - THERE IS NO DOUBT IRAQ HAS ACQUIRED WMD
PHASE III - WE'VE GOT DETAILED AND SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT IRAQ'S WMD
PHASE IV - IRAQ IS AN IMMINENT THREAT TO ATTACK THE WORLD WITH WMD
PHASE V - WE WILL SOON REVEAL THE WMD
PHASE VI - WE WERE NEVER REALLY SURE WHERE THEY WERE, BUT WE HOPE SOON TO LOCATE WMD
PHASE VII - WE'VE FOUND WMD
PHASE VIII - WE CAN'T BE BLAMED FOR WHATEVER WE GOT WRONG ABOUT WMD
PHASE IX - OUR CRiTICS ARE BEING UNREASONABLE ABOUT WMD
PHASE X - WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE WHAT WE SAID ABOUT WMD?
-Phase I Iraq has not acquired WMD:
How the United States should react if Iraq acquired WMD
"These regimes are living on borrowed time, so there need be no sense of panic about them. The first line of defense... should be a clear and classical statement of deterrence—if they do acquire WMD, their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration."
Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor2/1/2000January/February 2000 issue of Foreign Affairs
"I think we ought to declare [the containment policy] a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in his box." He added [Saddam] "is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors" and that "he threatens not the United States."Colin Powell, Secretary of StateEnroute to Egypt2/23/2001Enroute to Egypt
"We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions—the fact that the sanctions exist—not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq..."Colin Powell, Secretary of StateFeb. 24, 2001Press conference, Cairo Egypt
"VICE PRES. CHENEY: There is--in the past, there have been some activities related to terrorism by Saddam Hussein. But at this stage, you know, the focus is over here on al-Qaida and the most recent events in New York. Saddam Hussein's bottled up [contained], at this point, but clearly, we continue to have a fairly tough policy where the Iraqis are concerned.
MR. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation [9/11]?VICE PRES. CHENEY: No."Dick Cheney, Vice PresidentSept., 2001Interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press
Phase II There is no doubt Iraq has acquired WMD:
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."Dick Cheney, Vice President8/26/2002Speech to VFW National Convention
"There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them. And adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary9/6/2002White House Press Briefing
"And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought—maybe six months from a crude nuclear device...The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor9/8/2002CNN Interview
-Phase III We’ve got detailed and specific information about Iraq’s WMD:
"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
George W. Bush, President9/12/2002Speech to UN General Assembly“...It [Iraq] is seeking nuclear weapons. [...]
The [Iraqi] regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. [...]And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons...."“Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."George W. Bush, President10/7/2002Remarks by the President on Iraq (Cincinnati)
"We estimate that once Iraq acquires fissile material -- whether from a foreign source or by securing the materials to build an indigenous fissile material capability—it could fabricate a nuclear weapon within one year. It has rebuilt its civilian chemical infrastructure and renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin, and VX. It actively maintains all key aspects of its offensive BW [biological weapons] program."John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control11/1/2002Second Global Conference on Nuclear, Bio/Chem Terrorism: Mitigation and Response
If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary12/2/2002White House Press Briefing
"The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary12/5/2002Response to Question From Press
"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary1/9/2003White House Press Briefing
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. [...]Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."George W. Bush1/28/2003State of the Union Address
Phase IV Iraq is an imminent threat to attack the world with WMD:
"There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling."Colin Powell, Secretary of State2/5/2003Addresses the U.N. Security Council
"Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that, based on intelligence, that [Saddam] has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it, and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."Dick Cheney, Vice President3/16/2003Meet The Press
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."George W. Bush3/17/2003Address to the Nation
"With each passing day, Saddam Hussein advances his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and could pass them along to terrorists. If he is allowed to do so, the result could be the deaths not of 3,000 people, as on September 11th, but of 30,000 or 300,000 or more innocent people."Donald Rumsfeld3/20/2003Remarks to American Troops, Defense Department
-Phase V We will soon reveal the WMD:
"We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so."George W. Bush3/3/2003Remarks to Reporters-Crawford, Texas
"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly... all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary3/21/2003White House Press Briefing
"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And... as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them."General Tommy Franks3/22/2003Press Briefing, Doha, Qatar
"I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction."Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board member3/23/2003Washington Post
"One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites."Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark3/22/2003Department of Defense News Briefing
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense3/30/2003ABC Interview
"I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found... But make no mistake—as I said earlier—we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary4/10/2003White House Press Briefing
Phase VI We were never really sure where they were, but we hope soon to locate WMD:
"We’re not going to find anything until we find people who tell us where the things are. And we have that very high on our priority list, to find the people who know. And when we do, then well learn precisely where things were and what was done."Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense4/13/2003Meet the Press
"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them."George W. Bush, President4/24/2003NBC Interview
"There are people who in large measure have information that we need... so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country."Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense4/25/2003Department of Defense Press Briefing
"We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense5/4/2003Fox News Interview
"I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program."George W. Bush5/12/2003Remarks to Reporters
"U.S. officials never expected that 'we were going to open garages and find' weapons of mass destruction."Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor5/12/2003Reuters Interview
-"I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago—I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden."Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne5/13/2003Press Briefing-Mosul, Iraq
"We said all along that we will never get to the bottom of the Iraqi WMD program simply by going and searching specific sites, that you'd have to be able to get people who know about the programs to talk to you."Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense5/13/2003Interview with Australian Broadcasting
"Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found."Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps5/21/2003New York Times interview
"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction [as justification for invading Iraq] because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense5/28/2003Vanity Fair interview
"It was a surprise to me then — it remains a surprise to me now — that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force5/30/2003USA Today interview
Phase VII We’ve found WMD:
"The President is indeed satisfied with the intelligence that he received. And I think that's borne out by the fact that, just as Secretary Powell described at the United Nations, we have found the bio trucks that can be used only for the purpose of producing biological weapons. That's proof-perfect that the intelligence in that regard was right on target."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary5/29/2003White House Press Briefing
"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."
George W. Bush, President5/29/2003Interview with TVP, Poland
"Q: The fact that there hasn't been substantial cache of weapons of mass destruction—is that an embarrassment?Wolfowitz: No. Is it an embarrassment to people on the other side that we've discovered these biological production vans, which the defector told us about?"Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense5/31/2003CNN Interview
"I would put before you Exhibit A, the mobile biological labs that we have found. People are saying, "Well, are they truly mobile biological labs?" Yes, they are. And the DCI, George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, stands behind that assessment."Colin Powell, Secretary of State6/8/2003Fox News Interview
Phase VIII We can’t be blamed for whatever we got wrong about WMD:"No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were, where they were stored."Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor6/8/2003Meet the Press
"The biological weapons labs that we believe strongly are biological weapons labs, we didn't find any biological weapons with those labs. But should that give us any comfort? Not at all. Those were labs that could produce biological weapons whenever Saddam Hussein might have wanted to have a biological weapons inventory."Colin Powell, Secretary of State6/12/2003Associated Press
"My personal view is that their intelligence has been, I'm sure, imperfect, but good. In other words, I think the intelligence was correct in general, and that you always will find out precisely what it was once you get on the ground and have a chance to talk to people and explore it, and I think that will happen."Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense6/18/2003Department of Defense Press Briefing
Phase IX Our critics are being unreasonable about WMD:
"I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary7/9/2003White House Press Briefing
If we had had that information and ignored it, if we'd been told, as we were, by the intelligence community that he was capable of producing a nuclear weapon within a year if he could acquire fissile material and ignored it... we would have been derelict in our duties and responsibilities."Vice President Dick Cheney10/3/2003Luncheon for Congressman Jim Gerlach, White House
Phase X What difference does it make what we said about WMD?
"Mr. McDonald. So what you are calling on Saddam Hussein to do is to let the inspectors back in----The President. Yes, of course. That's what he said he would do.Mr. McDonald. And that's the way he can avoid----The President. But this is not an issue of inspectors. This is an issue of him upholding his word that he would not develop weapons of mass destruction.
"Q: One way or the other?
"CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER: ...I have taken notice of the fact that His Excellency, the President, does think about all possible alternatives. But despite what people occasionally present here in rumors, there are no concrete military plans of attack on Iraq."Chancellor Schrodeder of Germany,May 23, 2002President Bush Meets with German Chancellor Schroeder
"PRESIDENT BUSH: ...Let me start with the Iraqi regime. The stated policy of my government is that we have a regime change. And as I told President Chirac, I have no war plans on my desk. And I will continue to consult closely with him. We do view Saddam Hussein as a serious, significant -- serious threat to stability and peace."George W. Bush, President,May 26, 2002President Bush Meets with French President Chirac
"Q: Mr. President, you've got a lot going on foreign policy wise right now, the Middle East meetings later this week, the continued efforts here. Is this all moving Iraq to the back burner?THE PRESIDENT: The war on terror is -- and my strong desire to protect our homeland is of paramount importance to me. [...]And one option, of course, is the military option. But as we've said repeatedly, I have no plans on my desk at this point in time." George W. Bush, President,June 4, 2002 Remarks by the President/NSA Operations Center
"Q: Do you think the American people are prepared for casualties in Iraq?THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that that presumes there's some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable."George W. Bush, President,August 10, 2002Remarks by the President before and after golf/Crawford, Texas
And I want to thank members of both parties in the United States Congress for working to develop a strong resolution and strong signal to the world that this nation is determined. We love peace. Military is not our first choice. But, nevertheless, we will not let the challenges that we face go unheeded. We understand the reality. We understand the nature of the man with which we deal. Everybody matters. Every life counts, including those who have been -- who have been tortured and killed and suppressed in Iraq.George W. Bush, President,September 24, 2002Remarks by the President at John Thune for Senate Reception
For the sake of peace, for the sake of peace not only in our -- in his neighborhood, but in ours, he must disarm. And if he does not, it's his choice to make. It's his and the United Nations' choice to make.George W. Bush, President,September 27, 2002Remarks by the President at Flagstaff, Arizona Welcome
There's no negotiations, by the way, for Mr. Saddam Hussein. There's nothing to discuss. He either gets rid of his weapons and the United Nations gets rid of his weapons -- (applause) -- he can either get rid of his weapons and the United States can act, or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm this man. (Applause.)I'm willing to give peace a chance to work. I want the United Nations to work. I want him to do what he said he would do. But for the sake of our future, now's the time, now's the time. For the sake of your children's future, we must make sure this madman never has the capacity to hurt us with a nuclear weapon, or to use the stockpiles of anthrax that we know he has, or V-X, the biological weapons which he possesses.George W. Bush, President,September 27, 2002Remarks by the President at Bob Beauprez for Congress Luncheon
THE PRESIDENT: ...All of us recognize military option is not the first choice.George W. Bush, President,October 1, 2002Remarks by the President After Meeting with Members of Congress
THE PRESIDENT: None of us here today desire to see military conflict, because we know the awful nature of war. Our country values life, and never seeks war unless it is essential to security and to justice.
The military option is my last choice, not my first. It's my last choice. But Saddam has got to understand, the United Nations must know, that the will of this country is strong.George W. Bush, President,October 3, 2002Remarks by the President to Hispanic Leaders
The United States does not desire military conflict, because we know the awful nature of war. Our country values life, and we will never seek war unless it is essential to security and justice. We hope that Iraq complies with the world's demands. If, however, the Iraqi regime persists in its defiance, the use of force may become unavoidable. Delay, indecision, and inaction are not options for America, because they could lead to massive and sudden horror.George W. Bush, President,October 5, 2002President: Iraqi Regime Danger to America is "Grave and Growing"
The use of our military is my last choice, not my first. I take my responsibilities very seriously as the Commander in Chief. The use of force is not my first choice, it's my last. But my first choice, as well, is not to allow the world's worst leader to blackmail, to harm America with the world's worst weapons.George W. Bush, President,October 5, 2002Remarks by the President at John Sununu for Senate Reception
Powell: War should never be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It should always be a deliberate act by people acting rationally, hopefully. And in this case, as the president said the other night, we are trying to see war as a last resort.Colin Powell, Secretary of StateOctober 9, 2002CNN/ Larry King
I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And military conflict could be difficult...There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait -- and that's an option. In my view, it's the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become...Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable...We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it.George W. Bush, President,October 11, 2002President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat
But I am very firm in my desire to make sure that Saddam is disarmed. Hopefully, we can do this peacefully. The use of the military is my last choice, is my last desire.George W. Bush, President,October 14, 2002Remarks by the President Upon Departure for Michigan
But for the sake of security of our country, their [U.N.] choice to make. I hope it's done peacefully. I hope we never use a military -- one military troop in Iraq.George W. Bush, President,October 14, 2002Remarks by the President in Michigan Welcome
Military option is my last choice. It's not my -- it's the last thing I want to do, is commit our military.George W. Bush, President,October 14, 2002Remarks by the President at Thaddeus McCotter for Congress Dinner
With this resolution, Congress has now authorized the use of force. I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary. [...]Like the members of Congress here today, I've carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us. If we go into battle, as a last resort, we will confront an enemy capable of irrational miscalculations, capable of terrible deeds.George W. Bush, President,October 16, 2002President Signs Iraq Resolution
It is for that reason that I sought an additional resolution of support from the Congress to use force against Iraq, should force become necessary.George W. Bush, President,October 16, 2002Statement by the President
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I have told the Prime Minister that my hope is, is that we could achieve a disarmament of the Iraqi regime peacefully. I haven't given up on the fact that we can achieve it peacefully. We have no plans to use our military until -- unless we need to. I explained to the Prime Minister, just like I explain to every citizen who is interested in this, the military is my last choice, not my first choice.George W. Bush, President,October 16, 2002President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Sharon to White House
Q Why you threaten military action against Iraq, but you believe that Korea's nuclear weapons program only merits diplomatic efforts?THE PRESIDENT: Saddam Hussein is unique, in this sense: he has thumbed his nose at the world for 11 years...We've tried diplomacy. We're trying it one more time. [...]Q If you can explain this in a way that they and the rest of us will understand. There is some hints over the weekend, the possibility that taking weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq is our goal, raising the possibility or the implication that he could somehow remain in power.THE PRESIDENT: The stated policy of the United States is regime change because, for 11 years, Saddam Hussein has ignored the United Nations and the free world...However, if he were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations, the conditions that I've described very clearly in terms that everybody can understand, that in itself will signal the regime has changed.George W. Bush, President,October 21, 2002Remarks by the President and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
Saddam Hussein has a choice to make. We've made it clear that nobody likes war, nobody likes what could happen during war. But for the sake of peace, Mr. Hussein, get rid of your weapons. You said you wouldn't have them, get rid of them.George W. Bush, President,October 31, 2002Remarks by the President at West Virginia Welcome
And war is not my first choice, don't -- it's my last choice. But nevertheless, it is a -- it is an option in order to make the world a more peaceful place. [...]I'm not willing to take those kind of risks. People understand that. I think a lot of people are saying, you know, gosh, we hope we don't have war. I feel the same way, I hope we don't have war. I hope this can be done peacefully. It's up to Saddam Hussein, however, to make that choice.George W. Bush, President,November 7, 2002President Outlines Priorities
The outcome of the current crisis is already determined: the full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how. The United States prefers that Iraq meet its obligations voluntarily, yet we are prepared for the alternative.George W. Bush, President,November 8, 2002President Pleased with U.N. Vote
MR. MCCLELLAN: . . .This is about disarmament and this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. If he chooses not to do so peacefully, then the United States is prepared to act, with our friends, to do so by force. And we will do so forcefully and swiftly and decisively, as the President has outlined. But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort.Scott McClellan, Press SecretaryNovember 12, 2002White House Press Briefing
And if, in fact, military action is needed, we'll consult with them and everybody will be able to make a decision that they're comfortable with. But I wouldn't preclude a peaceful settlement. I hope it happens peacefully.George W. Bush, President,November 18, 2002Interview of the President in European Print Roundtable
Q. You will certainly talk about Iraq. Will the United States, if it decides to go to war with Iraq, seek the support of NATO as an alliance?The President. Well, first, I hope we don't have to go to war with Iraq. I mean, my first choice is not to commit our troops to regime change.George W. Bush, President,November 18, 2002Interview With Czech Television
And my answer, as far as Iraq goes, is exactly what I've said previously: If the decision is made to use military force, we will consult with our friends, and we hope that our friends will join us.George W. Bush, President,November 20, 2002President Bush, President Havel Discuss Iraq, NATO
America's goal, the world's goal is more than the return of inspectors to Iraq. Our goal is to secure the peace through the comprehensive and verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Voluntary, or by force, that goal will be achieved.George W. Bush, President,November 20, 2002Remarks by the President to Prague Atlantic Student Summit
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, my expectation is, is that we can do this peacefully, if Saddam Hussein disarms. That's my expectation. This is -- Saddam Hussein has got a decision to make: Will he uphold the agreement that he has made. And if he chooses to do so by disarming peacefully, the world will be better off for it. If he chooses not to disarm, we will work with our close friends, the closest of which is Great Britain, and we will disarm him. But our first choice is not to use the military option. Our first choice is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. And that's where we'll be devoting a lot of our energies.George W. Bush, President,November 21, 2002President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Meet in Prague
Americans seek peace in this world. We're a peaceful nation. War is the last option for confronting threats.George W. Bush, President,December 2, 2002President Signs National Defense Authorization Act
MR. FLEISCHER: . . . The international community and many of these nations that we are working most closely with see it the same way the President does. They, too, don't want war. They believe war should be a last resort, and they hope that Saddam Hussein will disarm so it can be averted.Ari Fleisher, Press SecretaryDecember 5, 2002White House Press Briefing
Americans seek peace in the world. War is the last option for confronting threats. Yet the temporary peace of denial and looking away from danger would only be a prelude to a broader war and greater horror. America will confront gathering dangers early.George W. Bush, President,December 7, 2002Radio Address
Q Ari, on Iraq, as this build-up continues, the military build-up continues, Americans can only draw one conclusion, and that is, though it's the last resort, this country is very much readying itself for war. So why isn't it time to clarify for the American people why exactly we would take such action, what evidence the administration possesses to link Saddam Hussein with an imminent threat against the country?
THE PRESIDENT: First, let me echo the comments of my National Security Advisor, who the other day in commenting about this process said this is a matter of weeks, not months. In other words, for the sake of peace, this issue must be resolved. Hopefully, it can be done peacefully. Hopefully the pressure of the free world will convince Mr. Saddam Hussein to relinquish power. And should he choose to leave the country, along with a lot of the other henchmen who have tortured the Iraqi people, we would welcome that, of course.I will tell my friend, Silvio, that the use of military troops is my last choice, not my first. The commitment of young men and Americans into battle is a difficult decision, because I understand the cost of war.George W. Bush, President,January 30, 2003President Bush Meets with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
We face an outlaw regime in Iraq that hates our country. A regime that aids and harbors terrorists and is armed with weapons of mass murder. Before September the 11th, 2001, there's a lot of good folks who believe that Saddam Hussein can be contained. Before September the 11th, 2001, we thought oceans would protect us forever; that if we saw a gathering threat somewhere else in the world, we could respond to it if we chose -- so chose to do so. But that all changed on that fateful day. Chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Secretly, without fingerprints, Saddam Hussein could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. Saddam Hussein is a threat. He's a threat to the United States of America. He's a threat to some of our closest friends and allies. We don't accept this threat. (Applause.)As a matter of fact, the world saw this as a threat 12 years ago. Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein was told to disarm -- for a reason: he's a dangerous man. And he hadn't disarmed. We've tried economic sanctions; he hasn't changed. Over the years, we've tried limited strikes against military facilities. It didn't work. We've offered Iraq the path of voluntary disarmament and inspections. The Iraqi regime is rejecting it.Saddam Hussein has broken every promise to disarm. He has shown complete contempt for the international community. Last fall the international community spoke, with united voice. It said: this is your last chance, Mr. Saddam Hussein, to do what you said you would do, which is, in the name of peace, disarm; destroy your weapons of mass destruction. The role of the inspectors is not to play hide-and-seek, in a country the size of California, with 104 people. The role of inspectors is to verify whether or not Mr. Saddam Hussein is keeping his word; whether or not he's showing up with his weapons and destroying them. The weapons, by the way, he says he doesn't have. My attitude is that we owe it to future generations of Americans and citizens in freedom-loving countries to see to it that Mr. Saddam Hussein is disarmed. (Applause.) It's his choice to make as to how he will be disarmed. He can either do so -- which it doesn't look like he's going to -- for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition of willing countries and disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) If war is forced upon us -- and I say "forced upon us," because use of the military is not my first choice. I hug the mothers and the widows of those who may have lost their life in the name of peace and freedom. I take my responsibilities incredibly seriously about the commitment of troops. But should we need to use troops, for the sake of future generations of Americans, American troops will act in the honorable traditions of our military and in the highest moral traditions of our country.We will try in every way we can to spare innocent life. The people of Iraq are not our enemies. (Applause.)George W. Bush, President,February 10, 2003President's Remarks at Religious Broadcasters' Convention
Q Mr. President, there are many Australians -- there are many Australians and others who are still not convinced that they should be going with you to war. At this late stage what's your personal message to them?
MR. FLEISCHER: . . . I think there is universal agreement that force is a last resort. That is absolutely valid for the United States. And the President remains hopeful that Iraq will, indeed, disarm and therefore avert the need for force to be used to disarm him.
Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life, as a soldier and as a diplomat, but it must be a resort. We cannot allow this process to be endlessly strung out as Iraq is trying to do right now-- string it out long enough and the world will start looking in other directions, the Security Council will move on, we'll get away with it again.Colin Powell, Secretary of StateFebruary 14, 2003Remarks to the United Nations Security Council
Q Ari, on that point, about this humanitarian relief. If the administration is interested in going through the steps of what relief will be offered, why isn't the President giving the American people more information about what an American-led occupation of Iraq would look like, would entail, the sort of sacrifice, the potential danger? Don't we have, as a society, the right to have that conversation before military action begins, if it begins?
If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction. [...]
The attacks of September the 11, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terror states could do with weapons of mass destruction. We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise. And, as a last resort, we must be willing to use military force. We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.George W. Bush, PresidentMarch 8, 2003Radio Address
Q So there might be a need to go back to the U.N. because you still don't have the necessary nine votes, and the French veto threat still stands?
The United States, Great Britain and Spain continue to work with fellow members of the U.N. Security Council to confront this common danger...And we must recognize that some threats are so grave -- and their potential consequences so terrible -- that they must be removed, even if it requires military force.As diplomatic efforts continue, we must never lose sight of the basic facts about the regime of Baghdad....If force is required to disarm him, the American people can know that our armed forces have been given every tool and every resource to achieve victory.George W. Bush, PresidentMarch 15, 2003Radio Address
“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”
“No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”
“We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.”- George W. Bush,Mar. 8, 2003 Radio Address
“I think that that presumes there's some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable.”- George W. Bush,Aug. 10, 2002 while golfing
“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”[and don't forget...]“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD”
“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.”- George W. Bush,Mar. 17, 2003,the War begins two days later
"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," [...] "This war came to us, not the other way around."- Condoleeza RiceMay 15, 2005,Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq
“The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record”"He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route."
“I don't like war. [...] That's why I first went to the United Nations to begin with, on September the 12th, 2002, to address this issue as forthrightly as I knew how. That's why, months later, we went to the Security Council to get another resolution, called 1441...I've not made up our mind about military action. [sic] Hopefully, this can be done peacefully...”- George W. Bush,Mar. 6, 2003,White House Press Conference
"America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations."- George W. Bush,Mar. 17, 2003,the War begins two days later
“There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
"Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq."- The White House,March 16, 2003, Statementof the Atlantic Summit
-"I can't imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years."-Paul WolfowitzFebruary 28, 2003House subcommittee on Iraq testimony
"The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious.... [Without an 'overwhelming' effort to prepare for the U.S. occupation of Iraq] the United States may find itself in a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's own making."-Army War College report,February 2003,Postwar planning for Iraq 'ignored'
"You are going to get serious resistance. This idea that everyone will join you is baloney. But it was dismissed."-Senior Defense Department officialFebruary 2003,Postwar planning for Iraq 'ignored'
"Liberated people don't misbehave."- Former Secretary of ArmyThomas White,(on Cheney and Rumsfeld'spost-war viewsprior to invasion)July 7, 2003, War in Iraq'saftermath hits troops hard
“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.”
"The President has made no decisions about what the next step will be. Clearly, we will continue to talk to the United Nations about the inspection process."- Ari Fleischer,Oct. 10, 2002,White House press briefing
"This is about disarmament and this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. If he chooses not to do so peacefully, then the United States is prepared to act, with our friends, to do so by force. And we will do so forcefully and swiftly and decisively, as the President has outlined. But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort."- Scott McClellan,Nov. 12, 2002,White House press briefing
"And now they must demonstrate that commitment to peace and security is the only effective way, by supporting the immediate and unconditional disarmament of Saddam Hussein.The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations. He is a danger to his neighbors. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He's an obstacle to progress in the Middle East."- George W. Bush,Mar. 16, 2003, in the Azores
"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region..."- George W. Bush,Jul. 14, 2003,White House press conference[emphasis added]
Go to the News & Media page to see theWhite House response to the Downing Street Memos