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Downing Street Minutes Agree With Other Evidence
More Proof Iraq War Was Pre-Determined
By David Sirota
The newly-released Downing Street Memo showing President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to go to war with Iraq in 2002 has once again raised the question of why the Bush administration lied to America in the lead up to the conflict.
And amazingly, it is not the only piece of hard evidence proving that - well before the war (and during the supposed "diplomatic" phase) - the Bush administration had already decided to go to war in Iraq - no matter whether Iraq was really an "imminent threat" or not.
The background: Throughout 2002 and early 2003, the administration repeatedly insisted that they sought a peaceful solution to the Iraq question and that war was only a last resort. In October of 2002, for instance, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said said, "We're going to seek a peaceful solution to this. We think that one is possible" [Source: CBS, 10/20/02]. Then in November of 2002, she said, "We all want very much to see this resolved in a peaceful way" [Source: White House Briefing, 11/21/02]. In March of 2003, she claimed "we are still in a diplomatic phase here" [Source: ABC News, 3/9/03].
We know now, however, that was a complete lie, and that U.S. plans for war were being pushed before 2003, and even before 2002. It was a pre-determined strategy. Not only do we have the newly-released Downing Street memo, but we have other evidence as well:
TOP BUSH OFFICIAL SAYS IRAQ WAR PLAN BEGAN IN EARLY 2001: According to CBS 60 Minutes, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O�Neill admits that "From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go. He said that "going after Saddam was topic '10' days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11." [Source: CBS 60 Minutes, 1/11/04]
CBS REPORTS IRAQ WAR PLANS ACCELERATED IMMEDIATELY AFTER 9/11: According to CBS News, "barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq � even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks." [Source: CBS News, 9/4/02]
TOP AMBASSADOR SAYS BUSH-BLAIR DEAL WORKED OUT IMMEDIATELY AFTER 9/11: According to the UK Observer, British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Christopher Meyer admitted that "President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001." [London Observer, 4/4/04]
RICE INDICATED TO STATE DEPARTMENT IN 2002 THAT IRAQ DECISION HAD ALREADY BEEN MADE: The New Yorker reported that Bush State Department official Richard Haass said he met with then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in July of 2002. At the meeting, he said, "I raised this issue about were we really sure that we wanted to put Iraq front and center at this point, given the war on terrorism and other issues. And she said, essentially, that that decision's been made, don't waste your breath." [Source: New Yorker, 3/31/03]
BUSH SHIFTED KEY TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN TO IRAQ IN 2002: According to USA Today, "in 2002, troops from the 5th Special Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq." [Source: USA Today, 3/28/04]