Did Bush Administration troop deployment patterns suggest a President who was content to give peace a chance? Or did they suggest a President bent on war regardless of Saddam Hussein's degree of cooperation, and the findings of the UN weapons inspectors?
As far as I'm concerned, it's the latter. And if the latter is true, then the Downing Street memos are tantamount to a smoking gun.
Think about it. George Bush and Tony Blair contend that when they went to the UN, they went in order to give Saddam Hussein one last chance to cooperate. Yet, if you follow the troop deployment patterns of both the United States and Great Britain - and the fashion in which both nations were stranding several hundred thousand troops in Qatar and Kuwait, at states of high readiness - the only conclusion that I can draw is that Bush and Blair were planning to go to war regardless of Saddam’s degree of cooperation with the UN inspectors. By going to the UN, Bush and Blair were only looking for political cover.
On the other hand, if Bush’s and Blair’s real intention was coercion diplomacy, then a significantly smaller force of British and American troops would have been sufficient to send the message that this time the UN was serious. And with fewer troops in the region, it would have been much more feasible to wait another six months or even a year for a peaceful resolution to emerge, and to rotate troops in/out.
But with virtually the entire available United States military fighting force either in the region, or headed there, by early 2003, President Bush had little choice but to use those troops sooner rather than later.
In my view, the evidence suggests that an invasion was always the intention of Bush and Blair – and hence, George Bush was not being straight with either the United States Congress, or the American people, when he stated in September 2002 that a Congressional Resolution authorizing force did not mean that war was inevitable or unavoidable.
If a President who lies in a civil suit about infidelity can be impeached, what fate does a President deserve when he lies about whether the nation is going to war?