"We think in generalities, we live in details"
RE: virus: The White House memo
« on: 2006-02-02 17:16:36 »
[Blunderov] There was a time when I would have thought that news like this
would sink the Bush regime without trace, and right eftsoons too.
I harbour no such hope these days. Babies and drunks fall softly so they
The White House memo
Published: 2 Feb 2006
By: Gary Gibbon
Channel 4 News tonight reveals extraordinary details of George Bush and Tony
Blair's pre-war meeting in January 2003 at which they discussed plans to
begin military action on March 10th 2003, irrespective of whether the United
Nations had passed a new resolution authorising the use of force.
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.
President Bush said that:
"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.''
Prime Minister Blair responded that he was: "solidly with the President and
ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam."
But Mr Blair said that: "a second Security Council resolution would provide
an insurance policy against the unexpected, and international cover,
including with the Arabs."
Mr Sands' book says that the meeting focused on the need to identify
evidence that Saddam had committed a material breach of his obligations
under the existing UN Resolution 1441. There was concern that insufficient
evidence had been unearthed by the UN inspection team, led by Dr Hans Blix.
Other options were considered.
President 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 went on: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who
would give a public presentation about Saddams WMD, and there was also a
small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated."
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Mr Sands said:
"I think no one would be surprised at the idea that the use of spy-planes
to review what is going on would be considered. What is surprising is the
idea that they would be used painted in the colours of the United Nations in
order to provoke an attack which could then be used to justify material
breach. Now that plainly looks as if it is deception, and it raises some
fundamental questions of legality, both in terms of domestic law and
Also present at the meeting were President Bush's National Security
Adviser, Condoleeza Rice and her deputy Dan Fried, and the Presidents Chief
of Staff, Andrew Card. The Prime Minister took with him his then security
adviser Sir David Manning, his Foreign Policy aide Matthew Rycroft, and and
his chief of staff, Jonathan Powell.
Those present, as documented in Mr Sands' book, also discussed what might
happen in Iraq after liberation.
President Bush said that he: "thought it unlikely that there would be
internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."
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