Friday, February 03, 2006

Forcing Saddam’s Hand

[[W A R]] * In what the Gallup Organization says is a reverse of its findings from just a year ago, the majority of respondents to a new Gallup poll--53 percent--said that the Bush administration “deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” A meager 46 percent disagreed with that sad assessment.

Coincidentally, these findings make their way into the press on the very same day that Britain’s The Guardian newspaper publishes an explosive story, based on a newly updated book written by human rights lawyer Phillipe Sands, that says George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided in January 2003--two months before the United States launched the Iraq war--that they’d invade Saddam Hussein’s homeland regardless of whether the United Nations issued a second resolution calling for Saddam’s acquiescence, “and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.” As The Guardian explains, the minutes of a two-hour meeting between Bush and Blair on January 31, 2003, also reveal that the prez had a few ideas on how to force Saddam into providing justification for an international offensive. The UK’s Channel 4 quotes from those minutes:
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 ...”

Bush: “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.”

Blair responds that he is: “solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam.”
If all of this is true, Bush has got some ’splainin’ to do. Though, even if he could discover some humility and candor in his soul, there seems little hope of his ever regaining the confidence of Americans--on this, or any other issue.

READ MORE:A New, Explosive Memo,” by Greg Sargent (The American Prospect).

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