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Trent Lott Spills Beans on Meet the Press
Trent Lott on Meet the Press today.
MR. GREGORY: Let me turn to something that you wrote in your book
about Iraq and put it on the screen: "In the summer of 2002...the
president began lobbying for an open-ended resolution empowering him
to wage war on Iraq.... Bush had made clear his intentions to wage war
on Iraq in several of our private meetings."
What are you speaking about precisely, Senator?
SEN. LOTT: Well, beginning in August that year and into the fall--in
fact, beginning not too long after 9/11--as we had leadership meetings
at breakfast with the president, he would go around the world and talk
about what was going on, where the threats were, where the dangers
were, and even in private discussions, it was clear to me that he
thought Iraq was a destabilizing force, was a danger and a growing
danger, and that we were going to have to deal with that problem.
MR. GREGORY: He has described going to war in Iraq as the last resort
that was a war of necessity. Are you suggesting here that, in fact,
before much of the diplomacy had begun, that the president thought or
believed in his mind that war was an inevitability?
SEN. LOTT: How can I say what was in his mind? But I..
MR. GREGORY: Based on your conversations.
SEN. LOTT: I think he was very much concerned about Saddam Hussein
and the--what he was doing to his people and to his neighbors and the
threat of, you know, weapons of mass destruction. And, by the way,
the intelligence that he was getting, I was getting much of the same.
So if there were errors there, we should look to the--you know, where
that intelligence came from. But I--but the short answer to your
question--I think that he felt like we were going to have to deal with
the problem before some of the diplomatic efforts occurred, and I
don't mean that critically. But it was my impression.