Can anyone tell me why this article should have been on the front page of the New York Times today? "Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says" is the headline.
News flash: While Bush was presenting Saddam Hussein with the choice of disarming or facing war, he was actually preparing for war, convinced it was inevitable.
LONDON — In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.Apparently, the Times thinks Bush should have engaged in diplomacy, threatening war if diplomacy failed, without actually getting ready for war. "If you don't disarm, I'll threaten war, and if you still don't disarm, I'll threaten war again." Bill Clinton, anyone?
But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.
"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.
"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."