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Laura Bush said last night:

No American president ever wants to go to war. Abraham Lincoln didn't want to go to war, but he knew saving the union required it. Franklin Roosevelt didn't want to go to war, but he knew defeating tyranny demanded it. And my husband didn't want to go to war, but he knew the safety and security of America and the world depended on it.

This is the big lie. The shameful truth is that for most of 2002 and the winter of 2003, George W. Bush could not wait to send US soldiers to their deaths in Iraq, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the US or any other nation.

Sunday, May. 05, 2002
Two months ago, a group of Republican and Democratic Senators went to the White House to meet with Condoleezza Rice, the President's National Security Adviser. Bush was not scheduled to attend but poked his head in anyway — and soon turned the discussion to Iraq. The President has strong feelings about Saddam Hussein (you might too if the man had tried to assassinate your father, which Saddam attempted to do when former President George Bush visited Kuwait in 1993) and did not try to hide them. He showed little interest in debating what to do about Saddam. Instead, he became notably animated, according to one person in the room, used a vulgar epithet to refer to Saddam and concluded with four words that left no one in doubt about Bush's intentions: "We're taking him out.",8599,235395,00.html

So by March of 2002, Bush, influenced by his neocon cabal, had made up mind to invade Iraq. He never wavered from that conclusion. From that point on the challenge that he faced was removing the obstacles to war one by one.

He had to convince Colin Powell and Tony Blair to go along. They both said he had to get the UN to agree, so on September 12, 2002, Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Invoking 9/11 ("We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack"), he conjured the horrifying vision of a nuclear Iraq:

Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program -- weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.

Of course the actual nuclear threat was non-existent, but it suited Bush's purpose to invade Iraq.

Bush concluded:

My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Note the broad hint at the end that the US would end Saddam's regime one way or another.

Meanwhile the Bush Adminstration fanned the flames of war in the US Congress. In October 2002 a hawkish Republican majority abetted by the cowed Democrats overwhelmingly gave Bush the power to go to war with Iraq at his pleasure.

Back at the UN: Bush aides say they would like to see the issue play out in a six- to eight-week period: First, a new U.N. resolution, followed by the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq -- with the clear understanding that any interference would justify military action.

The Bush Adminstration presented a resolution to the UN Security Council that was so draconian that everyone knew that Iraq could never meet the stated demands. Which was exactly what Bush wanted.

Under the threat of a French veto, the UNSC modified the resolution to the point that Iraq might agree to the demands.

The Iraqi Assembly denounced the resolution and vowed to resist its demands. But that was just show, Saddam and his sons moved swiftly to abide by the resolution. To Bush's dismay, Iraq began to meet the points in Res 1441 one after another:

November 15: Iraq must confirm its intention to comply with the resolution.
December 8: Iraq must provide a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration" of any weapons of mass destruction program.
December 23: Weapons inspections must resume.
February 21: Inspectors must report back to the Security Council.

Saddam sent out orders that everyone must cooperate with Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC inspectors to the utmost. His orders were obeyed.

All during the fall of 2002, Bush and Rumsfeld moved hundreds of thousands of troops to the Iraqi theatre, until it was obvious they would never bring these troops home without using them.

Despite Iraq's frantic cooperation, the US wanted to go to war in cool weather, so in February 2003, Powell went back to the UNSC demanding a resolution authorizing war.

This time the US could not even secure a simple majority on their side. There was a major question whether Tony Blair would dare to wage war against Iraq without an authorizing UN resolution, but, in the end, his personal loyalty to George Bush won out.

Time was running out for Bush and the neocons. Soon the inspectors would complete their work, and the world could see that Iraq was actually in compliance with the UN resolutions. Also the weather in Iraq was growing hotter. The time for war had come.

Meanwhile the UN told Iraq that their Al Samoud missiles exceeded the maximum allowed 93-mile range by some 20 to 30 miles. Iraq complained that this was only because the rockets were tested without warheads or guidance systems, which made them lighter.

Nevertheless, Blix insisted that the rockets must be destroyed and Iraq preceeded to do so. As they methodically crushed their rockets, Bush got his wish and launched the Iraq War on March 20, 2003.

George Walker Bush had triumphed against great odds, overcoming every obstacle that stood in the way of the United States invasion of Iraq.

If Bush had made the right decision about the Iraq War, the history books might laud him for this absolute confidence in his personal judgement. Since he made precisely the wrong decision, trapping the core of the US Army in an unwinnable occupation of Iraq while Iran and North Korea proceeded to develop real nuclear weapons, historians will question his sanity.


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