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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Game Over 

Via Zemblan patriot J.M.: You will recall that an Ipsos poll taken last October showed that Americans, by a 50 to 44 percent margin, would favor the impeachment of President George W. Bush "if [he] did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq." Well, there is no point in dissembling any further; we now know definitively that President George W. Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq:
A memo of a two-hour meeting between [Bush and Blair] 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 resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme . . . .

The disclosures come in a new edition of Lawless World, by Phillipe Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College, London. Professor Sands last year exposed the doubts shared by Foreign Office lawyers about the legality of the invasion in disclosures which eventually forced the prime minister to publish the full legal advice given to him by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

The memo seen by Prof Sands reveals:
  • Mr Bush told the 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 even expressed the hope that a defector would be extracted from Iraq and give a "public presentation about Saddam's WMD". He is also said to have referred Mr Blair to a "small possibility" that Saddam would be "assassinated".

  • Mr Blair told the US president that a second UN resolution would be an "insurance policy", providing "international cover, including with the Arabs" if anything went wrong with the military campaign, or if Saddam increased the stakes by burning oil wells, killing children, or fomenting internal divisions within Iraq.

  • 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, according to the book . . . .
The meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Blair, attended by six close aides, came at a time of growing concern about the failure of any hard intelligence to back up claims that Saddam was producing weapons of mass destruction in breach of UN disarmament obligations. It took place a few days before the then US secretary Colin Powell made claims - since discredited - in a dramatic presentation at the UN about Iraq's weapons programme.
The Ipsos poll mentioned above is not to be confused with the mid-January Zogby poll in which "By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want[ed] Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval."

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