Monday, March 27, 2006

NY Times Confirms Bush-Blair Iraq War Memo

From private talks between George Bush and UK PM Tony Blair, the memo makes it clear the US was determined to go to war whether or not he had UN backing.

He is quoted discussing ways to provoke Saddam Hussein into a confrontation...

The five-page memo, dated 31 January 2003, was written by Mr Blair's then chief foreign adviser, David Manning, the New York Times says.

Summarising the two-hour White House meeting, the memo says: "Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning."

"Twist Arms"

..."The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would twist arms and even threaten," Mr Bush is paraphrased as saying.

"But he had to say that if we ultimately failed, military action would follow anyway."

...The memo indicates both leaders acknowledged it was possible no unconventional weapons would be found in Iraq before the invasion, the New York Times says.

Provoke or "Assasinate"

The note cites Mr Bush suggesting three ways in which Iraq could be provoked into confrontation.

The US "was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours", Mr Bush said.

If Saddam fired on them, the Iraqis would be in breach of UN resolutions, he suggested.

He also indicated the US "might be able to bring out a defector" to talk about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and mentioned a proposal to assassinate the Iraqi leader.

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