A couple of days ago I passed by the blog of Juan Cole and found this post, in which he has seletced passages from the translated secret Bush-Aznar Memo regarding Iraq in the run up to the war. Juan has selected parts of the transcript and spun them in a way to meet his agenda, which is dishonest and disgusting. Having the entire Memo translated by PJM's Jose Guardia, it's easy to see how much of a spin mesiter Juan Cole is, and we are awarded a glimpse of what went down in the run-up to the war in Bush's head, which I suspect is not what many people suspect at all. For example:
Bush: Saddam won’t change and will keep playing
games. The moment of getting rid of him has arrived. That’s it. As for
me, from now on, I’ll try to use the most subtle rhetoric I can, while
we look for the resolution to be approved. If some country vetoes [the
resolution] we’ll go in. Saddam is not disarming. We must catch him
right now. We have shown an incredible amount of patience until now. We
have two weeks. In two weeks, our military will be ready. I think we’ll
achieve a second resolution. In the Security Council, we have three
African countries [Cameroon, Angola, Guinea], the Chileans, the
Mexicans. I’ll talk with all of them, also with Putin, naturally. We’ll
be in Baghdad at the end of March. There’s a 15% chance that Saddam
will be dead by then or will have flown. But these possibilities won’t
be there until we have shown our resolution. The Egyptians are talking
with Saddam Hussein. It seems he has hinted he’d be willing to leave if
he’s allowed to take 1 billion dollars and all the information on WMDs.
Ghadaffi told Berlusconi that Saddam wants to leave. Mubarak tells us
that in these circumstances there is a big chance that he’ll get killed.
We would like to act with the mandate of the UN. If we act
militarily, we’ll do it with great precision and focus on our targets
to as high a degree as possible. We’ll decimate the loyal troops, and
the regular army will quickly know what it’s all about. We sent a very
clear message to Saddam Hussein’s generals: we will treat them as war
criminals. We know they have stocked big amounts of dynamite to blow up
the bridges and other infrastructure, and the oil wells. We are
planning to take control of those wells very soon. Also, the Saudis
will help us by putting as much oil as necessary on the market. We are
developing a very strong aid package. We can win without destruction.
We are already working on the post-Saddam Iraq, and I think there’s a
basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a relatively
strong civil society. It could be organized as a federation. Meanwhile
we’re doing all we can to fulfill the political needs of our friends
Aznar: It’s very important to have that second
resolution. It will be very different to act with or without it. It
will be very advisable to have a sufficient majority in the Security
Council backing that resolution. In fact, having that majority is more
important than whether some country vetoes. We think that the
resolution should, among other things, clearly state that Saddam
Hussein has squandered his opportunity.
Bush: Yes, of course. That would be better to mention than “the necessary means.”
Aznar: Saddam Hussein hasn’t cooperated, hasn’t
disarmed – we should summarize all his non-compliance and make a more
elaborate message. That, for example, would allow Mexico to change [its
Bush: The resolution will be made in a way that can help you. I don’t care much about the actual content.
Aznar: We’ll send you some text.
Bush: We don’t have any text. We only have one
goal: that Saddam must disarm. We can’t allow Saddam to drag his heels
until the summer. After all, he has had four months in this last stage,
and that’s more than enough time to disarm.
Hmmm… It gets better. Check out what they said about Chirac.
Aznar: I’m meeting Chirac next Wednesday [February 16]. The resolution will be circulating by now.
Bush: I think this is a great idea. Chirac knows
the situation perfectly. His intelligence services have explained it
all to him. The Arabs are sending Chirac a very clear message: Saddam
Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac thinks he is “Mister Arab,”
and the truth is that he’s making their lives impossible. But I don’t
want any rivalry with Chirac. We certainly have different points of
view, but I’d like that to be all. Give him my best regards. True! The
less rivalry he feels there is between us, the better it’ll be for us
So Bush didn't want rivalry with Chirac. Ok! That doesn;t sound like the Bush we know from the Media. But surely he is very pro-war, right?
Aznar: Is it true that there’s a chance that Saddam will go into exile?
Bush: Yes, there is. There’s even a chance that he’ll be assassinated.
Aznar: An exile with some kind of guarantees?
Bush: No guarantees. He’s a thief, a terrorist, a
war criminal. Compared to Saddam, Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa.
When we go in, we are going to discover many more crimes, and we’ll
take him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Saddam
Hussein believes he has escaped. He thinks that France and Germany have
stopped the process of his prosecution. He also thinks that last week’s
anti-war demonstrations [Saturday, February 15] protect him. And he
believes I’m weakened. But people around him know that things are
totally different. They know their future is in exile or in a coffin.
This is why it’s so important to keep the pressure up. Ghaddafi is
indirectly telling us that this is the only thing that can finish him.
Saddam’s only strategy is delay, delay, delay.
Aznar: Actually, the best success would be to win the game without firing a single shot when entering Baghdad.
Bush: To me, it would be the best outcome. I don’t
want war. I know what war is like. I know the death and destruction
they bring. I am the one who has to comfort the mothers and wives of
the dead. Of course, for us [a diplomatic solution] would be the best
one. Also, it would save 50 billion dollars.
Bush didn't want war?? WHAT???
Aznar: What we are doing is a very profound change
for Spain and the Spanish citizens. We are changing the last 200 years
of the country’s politics.
Bush: I’m guided by a historical sense of
responsibility, as you are. When history judges us in a few years, I
don’t want people wondering why Bush, Aznar, or Blair didn’t confront
their responsibilities. At the end of the day, what people want is to
enjoy freedom. A short time ago, in Romania, I was reminded of
Ceaucescu’s example: it only took a woman to call him a liar for the
whole regime to come crumbling down. It’s the irrepressible power of
freedom. I’m convinced I’ll achieve the resolution.
Aznar: That’s better than good.
Bush: I made the decision of going to the Security
Council. In spite of some internal disagreements within my
administration, I told my people that we needed to work with our
friends. It will be great to have a second resolution.
Aznar: The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism.
Bush: I’m optimistic because I believe I’m doing
the right thing. I am at peace with myself. We have the responsibility
of facing a serious threat to peace. It irks me tremendously to
contemplate the insensitivity of Europeans toward the suffering that
Saddam inflicts on the Iraqis. Maybe because he’s dark-skinned,
distant, and Muslim, many Europeans think that all this doesn’t matter.
I will never forget what Solana [European High Representative of the
Common Foreign and Security Policy] asked me once: why do Americans
think that Europeans are anti-Semitic and unable to confront their
responsibilities? That defensive attitude is terrible.
Ok, so let's recap. Bush wanted to work with and through the UN, he didn't want to fight with Chirac, who knew that Saddam had the weapons and had the encouragment from the arab states to support the war, but didn't because he thought he knew better? And not only that, Bush didn't even want to go to war, but wouldn't allow Saddam to loot the country and get away with his crimes, which he believed should be tried for in the International Court of Justice?
Ok, well, all of that sounds great and reasonable. One question though: How did we get here from there?
This War will give Historians headaches for decades to come I fear!