Ekstra Bladet october 26 2003, 1. section, page 7
By Bo Elkj�r
Minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller was told about US plans for war against Saddam Hussein in july last year
Saddam Hussein had to go. The cost and the means didn't matter, but the target was completely in the clear - and the danish minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller (Conservative Party) was personally informed about the target on july 3 last year.
Saddam�s regime was to be removed by either diplomatic, economical or military means.
The Americans were concidering both 'secret operations and an open confrontation'.
This is described in a new book 'Ahead of Europe' by the journalists Michael Ulveman and Thomas Lauritzen. The book covers the danish EU-presidency in the last half of 2002.
It was because of the presidency that minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller was informed of the american plans. It happened at a personal meeting between Colin Powell and Per Stig Moeller.
The informal and warm meeting between Colin Powell and Per Stig Moeller took place in the captains saloon on board the danish training ship 'Skoleskibet Danmark', which was in USA during the danish governments official visit in 2002.
Colin Powell underscored that there should be no doubts about president Bushs intentions to remove Saddam Hussein.
'This is a matter of strong emotions for the american president', Colin Powell is quoted to have said at the meeting.
At the meeting Colin Powell cleared away any doubts of how far the US would go to remove Saddam Hussein.
The new information in the book drives yet another set of deep political scratches into minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller and the danish government in the scandal over the Iraq war.
Firstly it is evident that the danish government knew beyond doubt that US plans for war was not centered on removing weapons of mass destruction, but on removing Saddam Hussein.
No less than 111 times form november 2002 until april 2003 Per Stig Moeller and primeminister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Liberal Party), stated in parliament that the conflict was about disarming Iraq.
But it wasn't.
Secondly, it is now clear that the government in july 2002 knew beyond doubt that the war was close to unavoidable.
In spite of this knowledge, both minister of foreign affairs Per Stig Moeller and primeminister Anders Fogh Rasmussen maintained up until the last days before the war, that it was 'hypothetical' and 'possible'.
On november 14 2002 - more than four months after the meeting with Colin Powell - Per Stig Moeller said in parliament: 'At present time it is too soon to say whether use of force will be necessary and in that case in what shape and extend this use of force will take form'.
In the same speech Per Stig Moeller said that all worries over danish participation in the war was 'speculative' and he several times spoke of the coming war as a 'hypothetical situation'.
But it wasn't.
And Per Stig Moeller knew.