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To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq By Robert Draper

"Compliance with the resolutions will instantly stop the bloodshed. And there's another way for the bloodshed to stop, and that is for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside, and then comply with the United Nations resolutions and rejoin the family of peace-loving nations. We have no argument with the people of Iraq. Our differences are with that brutal dictator in Baghdad." George H. W. Bush, “Remarks to Raytheon Missile Systems Plant Employees in Andover, Massachusetts,” February 15, 1991

"In my own view, I've always said that it would be -- that the Iraqi people should put him aside and that would facilitate the resolution of all these problems that exist, and certainly would facilitate the acceptance of Iraq back into the family of peace-loving nations." George H. W. Bush, press conference, White House, March 1, 1991

"President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate Paul Wolfowitz, dean of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), as deputy secretary of Defense. Wolfowitz has served as the dean of SAIS since 01/1994." School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, “President Bush Nominates SAIS Dean Paul Wolfowitz as Deputy Secretary of Defense,” press release, February 4, 2001

"In spite of the setting, it didn't take long for the meeting to turn ugly, with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz pushing hard to invade Iraq, and Colin Powell and I countering that we should go after bin Laden at this time.

At one of the breaks, President Bush pulled me aside and asked, "What am I missing here, Hugh?"

You've got it exactly right, Mr. President," I told him. "I have neither seen nor heard anything from either the CIA or the FBI that indicates any linkage whatsoever to Iraq. Stand firm, because it will destroy us in the eyes of the Arab world if we go after Iraq under the guise of Saddam somehow being tied to this when the facts show otherwise. What you'll have is the extremists and the fundamentalists painting it as the Americans are going after their Arab brothers just because they want to.

Earlier, both Colin and I had reiterated that there was not one shred of evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/1 1 attacks — they had all the earmarks of bin Laden but no link whatsoever to Saddam. By the time I was finished stating my case, the President seemed to have made his decision. "We're going to get that guy [Saddam], but we're going to get him at a time and place of our own choosing," he said, nailing the lid on any further discussions about Iraq for the moment." Hugh Shelton, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010) Page 444 

According to Rice,the issue of what,if anything, to do about Iraq was really engaged at Camp David. Briefing papers on Iraq, along with many others, were in briefing materials for the participants. Rice told us the administration was concerned that Iraq would take advantage of the 9/11 attacks. She recalled that in the first Camp David session chaired by the President, Rumsfeld asked what the administration should do about Iraq. Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz made the case for striking Iraq during “this round” of the war on terrorism.

A Defense Department paper for the Camp David briefing book on the strategic concept for the war on terrorism specified three priority targets for initial action: al Qaeda,the Taliban,and Iraq. It argued that of the three,al Qaeda and Iraq posed a strategic threat to the United States. Iraq’s long-standing involvement in terrorism was cited, along with its interest in weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary Powell recalled that Wolfowitz—not Rumsfeld—argued that Iraq was ultimately the source of the terrorist problem and should therefore be attacked. Powell said that Wolfowitz was not able to justify his belief that Iraq was behind 9/11.“Paul was always of the view that Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with,” Powell told us.“And he saw this as one way of using this event as a way to deal with the Iraq problem.” Powell said that President Bush

did not give Wolfowitz’s argument “much weight.” Though continuing to worry about Iraq in the following week, Powell said, President Bush saw Afghanistan as the priority. 

President Bush told Bob Woodward that the decision not to invade Iraq was made at the morning session on September 15. Iraq was not even on the table during the September 15 afternoon session, which dealt solely with Afghanistan. Rice said that when President Bush called her on Sunday, September 16,he said the focus would be on Afghanistan, although he still wanted plans for Iraq should the country take some action or the administration eventually determine that it had been involved in the 9/11 attacks. At the September 17 NSC meeting, there was some further discussion of “phase two” of the war on terrorism. President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to deal with Iraq if Baghdad acted against U.S. interests, with plans to include possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields." Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (“The 9/11 Commission Report”), (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004) Page 335

"If one looked at the declarations that we got under resolution 687 from the Iraqis--the initial ones were laugh-out-loud funny. As a matter of fact, we laughed out loud when we looked at them: the nuclear program was entirely peaceful; the chemical declaration was actually quite extensive, if not complete; there was no biological weapons program; and we always thought that the ballistic missile program declaration was incomplete. We knew that these declarations were not right" Robert Gallucci, address at “Understanding the Lessons of Nuclear Inspections and Monitoring in Iraq: A Ten-Year Review,” Institute for Science and International Security, June 14, 2001 transcript

"Now, the United Nations believes that he still has very large quantities of VX. VX is a substance, a nerve agent, which is so deadly that a single drop can kill you within a couple of minutes. Anthrax is a biological agent that kills people within five to seven hours -- seven days, rather, after they breathe an amount the size of a single dust particle. If you were to take a five-pound bag of anthrax, properly dispersed, it would kill half the population of Columbus, Ohio."Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, and National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger Remarks at Town Hall Meeting, Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio, February 18, l998 As released by the Office of the Spokesman, February 20, 1998 U.S. Department of State (William Cohen)

"So got on the plane, and we had a chance to talk, and there was a point where Doug and I were talking and we both agreed that it was probably some sort of a jihadist group. I can’t remember what the exact words that we used.  And my staff was around me, and his staff was around him.  I think we were actually on the airplane.  And he said, “I think that the Iraqis are involved in this.”  And I said, “No.  No way.  The Iraqis aren’t involved in this.  “The Iraqis don’t support al Qaeda.  They don’t support Islamist groups, and they wouldn’t do anything as reckless as this.  I just don’t buy it.”


What was he basing—it was Feith saying this to you—what was he basing his supposition on?

John Abizaid

Well, with this Administration that had just come in, they were always talking about Saddam Hussein and Iraq all the time.  And they regarded him as a clear if not present danger they regarded him as a danger.  I think there was a belief that they would do whatever they needed to do to break out of these sanctions. And there was a certain amount of intelligence that suggested it although I thought it was very weak.  In retrospect, I still think it was actually weaker than I thought  that suggested that there was some conniving between the Iraqi intelligence services and some of al Qaeda.  But you know there’s always conniving going on in the Middle East with all sorts of different people at all sorts of different levels.  But it wasn’t it just didn’t make any sense to me that there was a connection there, and I told him so.  And we had a pretty heated debate about it." John Abizaid, “Preparing for War After 9/11,” West Point Center for Oral History, April 9, 2012, transcript

"After Mr. Cheney and King Abdullah met this evening, Jordanian authorities said in a statement that the monarch had expressed concern about ''the repercussions of any possible strike on Iraq and the dangers of that on the stability and security of the region.''

Instead of backing tough action against Baghdad, King Abdullah urged that the Bush administration's disputes with Iraq be resolved ''through dialogue and peaceful means,'' according to the statement…

In Jordan, however, the situation is the reverse. The Jordanians are saying publicly that the danger of instability in the region does not arise from Iraq but from the American plans to take action against the Baghdad regime." Michael R. Gordon, “Middle East Turmoil: Diplomacy; Cheney, in Jordan, Meets Opposition to Military Move in Iraq,” New York Times, March 13, 2002

"WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition. The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

The fact that Mr. Libi recanted after the American invasion of Iraq and that intelligence based on his remarks was withdrawn by the C.I.A. in March 2004 has been public for more than a year. But American officials had not previously acknowledged either that Mr. Libi made the false statements in foreign custody or that Mr. Libi contended that his statements had been coerced." Douglas Jehl, “Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S.Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim,” New York Times, December 9, 2005

"We spent a long time at dinner on IRAQ. It is clear that Bush is grateful for your support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States. And you would not budge either in your insistence that, if we pursued regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result. Failure was not an option.

Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed. But there were some signs, since we last spoke, of greater awareness of the practical difficulties and political risks…

From what she said, Bush has yet to find the answers to the big questions: 

- how to persuade international opinion that military action against 

Iraq is necessary and justified; 

- what value to put on the exiled Iraqi opposition; 

- how to coordinate a US/allied military…

He also wants your support. He is still smarting from the comments by other European leaders on his Iraq policy." David Manning to Tony Blair, “Your Trip to the U.S.,” memo, March 14, 2002

"On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with Rice last week. We backed regime change, but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option. It.would be a tough sell for us domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in Europe. The US could go it alone if it wanted to. But if it wanted to act with partners there had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam…

Wolfowitz said that he fully agreed. He took a slightly different position from others in the Administration, who were focussed on Saddam's capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction. The WMD danger was of course crucial to the public case against Saddam, particularly the potential linkage to terrorism. But Wolfowitz thought it indispensable to spell out in detail Saddam's barbarism. This was well documented from what he had done during the occupation of Kuwait, the incursion into Kurdish territory, the assault on the Marsh Arabs and to his own people. A lot of work had been done on this towards the end of 

the first Bush administration. Wolfowitz thought that this would go a long way 

to destroying any notion of moral equivalence between Iraq and Israel." Christopher Meyer to David Manning, “Iraq and Afghanistan: Conversation with Wolfowitz,” memo, March 18, 2001 Document 6

“There is a real willingness in the Middle East to get Saddam out but a total opposition to mixing this up with the current operation. . . . The uncertainty caused by Phase 2 seeming to extend to Iraq, Syria etc. is really hurting [Arab leaders] because it seems to confirm the UBL propaganda that this is West vs. Arab. I have no doubt we need to deal with Saddam. But if we hit Iraq now, we would lose the Arab world, Russia, probably half the EU and my fear is the impact of all that on Pakistan. However, I am sure we can devise a strategy

for Saddam deliverable at a later date." Blair to Bush, October 11, 2001

“In objective terms, Iran may be the greater problem for the UK. . . . Ironically, we have Saddam Hussein bound into an established control mechanism… . . We also have to answer the big question —what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than

on anything. Most of the assessments from the US have assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq’s WMD threat. But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. Iraq has had no history of democracy so no-one has this habit or experience." Minute Hoon to Prime Minister, 22 March 2002, ‘Iraq’ Page 4-  Hoon to Blair, memo, March 22, 2002 - Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons dated 6 July 2016 for The Report Of The Iraq Inquiry Page 87

“By linking these countries together in his ‘axis of evil’ speech, President Bush 

implied an identity between them not only in terms of their threat, but also in terms of 

the action necessary to deal with the threat. A lot of work will now need to be done to delink the three, and to show why military action against Iraq is so much more justified than against Iran and North Korea" Minute Straw to Prime Minister, 25 March 2002, ‘Crawford/Iraq’ Page 2

"I think that when it became clear to him that the United States was thinking of moving its policy forward towards regime change, he wanted to try and influence the United States and get it to stay in the UN, to go to the UN route, which is what we spent the rest of the year trying to do, but he was willing to signal that he accepted that disarmament might not be achieved through the UN route" Monday, 30 November 2009 Subject: UK policy towards Iraq 2001 - 2003 Witnesses: David Manning Page 75-75

"I repeated that it was impossible for the United Kingdom to take part in action against Iraq unless it were through the United Nations. This was our preference, but it was also the political reality. We had no doubt that the United States could take action against Iraq if it wished to do so, but if it wished to do so with us, and if it wished to do so in an international coalition, it would have to go back to the United Nations" Monday, 30 November 2009 Subject: UK policy towards Iraq 2001 - 2003 Witnesses: David Manning Page 19 (Not in book, but similar discussions)

"I expected. I think the basic problem was that they genuinely didn’t understand anti-Americanism. They couldn’t see how, given that in this instance they had been the victim, and given all the help they had tried to administer around the world, they were not more popular. So it made them more insular, and a lot of their ideas were actually about things that would simply strengthen their standing at home but do nothing for them overseas necessarily." The Alastair Campbell diaries. Volume 4, The burden of power : countdown to Iraq Page 64

"Concerning the Iraqi issue, His Majesty warned, during his meetings with the three leaders, that attacking Iraq will form a catastrophe for the region at large and will increase instability and chaos. His Majesty pointed out that dialogue is the sole means to tackle the Iraqi issue and solve all disputed issues between Iraq and the UN… His Majesty pointed out that focusing on the Iraqi issue without any positive move towards the Palestinian issue and the Arab Israeli conflict raises disapproval." “King and Queen Return Home,” King Abdullah II official website, August 4, 2002

"Attached is a quote from the Washington Post, Wednesday, October 17, 2001, 

quoting Rich Armitage saying, “If the coalition felt it was necessary to go after 

terrorist groups in other countries, this would be a matter for the coalition to 

discuss among themselves.” 

First, I should say I have no idea what Armitage actually said. But if he said it, I 

have this thought: I think we have all agreed that there is not a single coalition, 

and that the mission will determine the coalition—not that the coalition would 

determine the mission. 

The President is on record, repeatedly, as saying we will be going after other 

terrorist networks and other states that harbor terrorists. I think we ought to try to 

all get our positions calibrated so we are all on the same sheet of music." Donald Rumsfeld to Colin Powell, “Coalitions,” memo, October 18, 2001

“More surprising: An Iraqi ex-intelligence officer who has told the Iraqi National Congress of specific sightings of "Islamicists" training on a Boeing 707 parked in Salman Pak as recently as September 2000 says he was treated dismissively by CIA officers in Ankara this week. They reportedly showed no interest in pursuing a possible Iraqconnection to Sept. 11" Jim Hoagland, “What About Iraq?,” Washington Post, October 12, 2001

"The Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) directed that Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship be published on June 21, 2002, although it did not reflect the

NESA's views. CTC's explanation of its approach to this study and the analysts' differing viewswere contained in the paper's Scope Note, which stated:

(U) This intelligence assessment responds to senior policymaker interest in a

comprehensive assessment of Iraqi regime links to al-Qa'ida. Our approach is

purposefully aggressive in seeking to draw connections, on the assumption that

any indication of a relationship between these two hostile elements could carry

"Some analysts concur with the assessment that intelligence reporting provides “no conclusive evidence of cooperation on specific terrorist operations,” but believe that the available signs support a conclusion that Iraq has had sporadic, wary contacts with al-Qaida since the mid-1990s, rather than a relationship with al-Qaida that has developed over time. These analysts would contend that mistrust and conflicting ideologies and goals probably tempered these contacts and severely limited the opportunities for cooperation. These analysts do not rule out that Baghdad sought and obtained a nonaggression agreement or made limited offers of cooperation, training, or even safehaven (ultimately uncorroborated or withdrawn) in an effort to manipulate, penetrate, or otherwise keep tabs on al-Qaida or selected operatives." Central Intelligence Agency, “Iraq and al-Qa’ida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship” (the “Murky Paper”), June 21, 2002 Page 306

"Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qa’ida is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. . . . We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa’ida going back a decade. . . . We have credible reporting that al-Qa’ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa’ida members in the areas of poisons and gasses and making conventional bombs. . . Iraq’s increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing.indications of a relationship with al-Qa’ida, suggest that Baghdad’slinks to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action" AUTHORIZATION OF THE USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AGAINST IRAQ [Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 132 (Wednesday, October 9, 2002)][Senate] (CIA Director George Tenet)

"Mr Bush said in his ITV interview that they would discuss "all options" over action on Iraq but there were "no immediate plans" for action.

He said: "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go. That's about all I'm willing to share with you."" “Blair Flies In with Ceasefire Agenda,” BBC News, April 6, 2002

"And as I have said repeatedly, Saddam Hussein would like nothing more than to use a terrorist network to attack and to kill and leave no fingerprints behind. Colin Powell will continue making that case to the American people and the world at the United Nations." White House, “President Bush Meets with Prime Minister Blair,” news release transcript, January 31, 2003

"King Abdullah of Jordan was just here again. He's obviously intensely concerned, because Jordan has a majority population of Palestinians. And to attack Iraq, while the Middle East is in the terror that it is right now, and America appears not to be dealing with something which, to every Muslim, is a real problem, but instead go over here, I think, could turn the whole region into a cauldron and, thus, destroy the war on terrorism." Brent Scowcroft, Face the Nation, CBS, August 4, 2002

"David's strong sense was that though they might go it alone, they didn’t want to. They valued TB’s advice. They needed to be persuaded on UN/ultimatum and on the need to do more re the Middle East. Bush felt that it was possible to see a quick collapse of the Iraqis. He had also talked up evidence of links with al-Qaeda, which our and US intelligence were not convinced of. We were pushing the idea of a tough, time-bound ultimatum. Bush had said he was ‘evangelical’ re getting rid of Saddam and was a ‘good vs evil guy’. He felt equally strongly about Korea. But David felt it was not a lost cause to push him down the UN ultimatum route. TB’s note had made clear our basic support but also said we had to be blunt about the difficulties. His note went through the need for an agreed strategy on six fronts — UN ultimatum route/evidence/MEPP/post-Saddam/Arab Muslim worlds/ Afghanistan" The Alastair Campbell diaries. Volume 4, The burden of power : countdown to Iraq Page 285

"I will be with you, whatever. But this is the moment to assess bluntly the 

difficulties. The planning on this and the strategy are the toughest yet. This is 

not Kosovo. This is not Afghanistan. It is not even the Gulf War." Tony Blair to George W. Bush, “Note on Iraq,” letter, July 28, 2002 Page 1

"And - and here is my real point - public opinion is public opinion. And opinion 

in the US is quite simply on a different planet from opinion here, in Europe or in 

the Arab world. 

In Britain, right now I couldn't be sure of support from Parliament, Party, public or even some of the Cabinet. And this is Britain. In Europe generally, people just don’t have the same sense of urgency post 9/11 as people in the US; they suspect - and are told by populist politicians ~ that it’s all to do with 43 settling the score with the enemy of 41; and various other extraneous issues like steel etc have soured the atmosphere a little." Tony Blair to George W. Bush, “Note on Iraq,” letter, July 28, 2002 Page 3 (Quote not in book but similar theme)

"When TB (Tony Blair) came back in, GWB (George W Bush) said he’d decided to go to the UN and put down a new UNSCR, challenge the UN to deal with the problems for its own sake. He could not stand by. He would say OK, what will you do? Earlier, not too convincingly, Karen had claimed GWB was always going to go down the UN route. Cheney looked very sour throughout, and after dinner, when TB and Bush walked alone to the chopper, Bush was open with him that Cheney was in a different position. Earlier, when we had said that the international community was pressing for some direction but that in the US there would be people saying ‘Why are you going to the UN, why aren’t you doing it now?’ Cheney smiled across the table, making it pretty clear that was where he was. The mood was good. As we left, Bush joked to me ‘I suppose you can tell the story of how Tony flew in and pulled the crazed unilateralist back from the brink.’ He said he was going to make clear that if the UN didn’t deal with it — no hesitation. He said he didn’t commit troops lightly, nobody would. Said TB totally understands link between WMD/Iraq and terrorism. Condi said the Cold War was about our values winning and we should push that. I said it was important they didn’t come over as ideologues.

DM said the TB/GWB/Cheney meeting was quite extraordinary, a US president using a UK prime minister to persuade an American vice president. Cheney had not looked happy but it was clear Bush had made his mind up. He was very clear on the threat, and the need of the UN to deal with it." The Alastair Campbell diaries. Volume 4, The burden of power : countdown to Iraq Page 296

"In the middle of these preparations we learned that Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, a terrorist affiliated with al Qaeda, was operating a lab in the Zagros Mountains in northern Iraq. Zarqawi and his affiliates joined ranks with Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish terrorist organization seeking to produce WMD. The briefing read, “Al-Zarqawi has been directing efforts to smuggle an unspecified chemical material originating in northern Iraq into the United States.” There was some concern that Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam were conducting unconventional weapons work, testing cyanide gas and toxic poisons on animals and even their own associates.

The President’s advisors were split on what to do. The Vice President and Don favored military action, perhaps air strikes followed by “ex- ploitation,” meaning gathering up evidence at the site after the strike. Colin believed that military action would destroy any chance of build- ing an international coalition to confront Saddam. After one key meet- ing in mid-June, I followed the President into the Oval Office and told him that I agreed with Colin. I also asked him if he was comfortable with the military option that had been presented to him. Were we really going to put “boots on the ground” after.a strike to “exploit” territory inside Iraq—even Kurdish-controlled territory? What would the Turks think? I was relieved to learn that the President had the same reserva- tions. He decided to wait and let the larger Iraq strategy play out over the following months" Condoleezza Rice, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington Page 177-178

"Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold of the Marine Corps, who retired in late 2002, has said he regarded the American invasion of Iraq unnecessary. He issued his call for replacing Mr. Rumsfeld in an essay in the current edition of Time magazine. General Newbold said he regretted not opposing the invasion of Iraq more vigorously, and called the invasion peripheral to the job of defeating Al Qaeda." More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation By David S. Cloud and Eric Schmitt April 14, 2006 NYT (Not in book but similar theme)

"In his memoir, CIA Director George Tenet writes that, as early as the fall of 2002, CIA officers suggested to Defense officials that they “scrap the idea of a fighting force of Iraqi exiles.” Some CIA personnel objected in general to a training program that would be overt and run by the military —rather than covert and run by them. But the main argument that State and CIA officials made against the program was simply that it was a mistake to work so closely with the externals.

But then came the news stories, citing State and CIA sources, that depicted the training program as a stalking horse for Chalabi—echoing the widely touted allegations that Rumsfeld and his team were intent on anointing Chalabi as Iraq’s leader after Saddam. Rumsfeld resented those allegations, which were untrue and came with no supporting evidence. But the criticism may have made him reluctant to push Franks on the issue of opposition training: Rumsfeld went out of his way to avoid even appearing to help Chalabi, much less favoring him over other externals.

In the fall, Rumsfeld asked me to update Franks on the training program, which I did at one of the war plan review sessions in Rumsfeld’s office. Luti was with me. Franks listened and appeared to accept our analy-sis. Then, when the meeting broke up and Rumsfeld had walked away from the conference table, Franks walked around to where Luti and I were standing. He leaned over me LBJ-style and delivered into my face the unforgettable remark: “Doug, I don’t have time for this fucking bullshit.” I answered that it would have been better if Franks had shared his thoughts with the Secretary." Douglas Feith, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism Page 383

"The meeting on Saturday morning, September 7, sparked considerable debate about the wisdom of trying to revive a UN inspection regime. Colin Powell was firmly on the side of going the extra mile with the UN, while the vice president argued just as forcefully that doing so would only get us mired in a bureaucratic tangle with nothing to show for it other than time lost off a ticking clock. The president let Powell and Cheney pretty much duke it out. To me, the president still appeared less inclined to go to war than many of his senior aides.

A week later, on Saturday, September 14, Steve Hadley convened another meeting in the White House Situation Room, attended by second-echelon officials from the NSC, State Department, DOD, and CIA. The agenda was titled, “Why Iraq Now?” Bob Walpole, the national intelligence officer for strategic programs, was among those present. He recalls telling Hadley that he would not use WMD to justify a war with Iraq. Someone, whom he did not know at the time but now recognizes as Scooter Libby, leaned over to another participant in the meeting and asked, “Who is this guy?”

Walpole explained to Hadley that the North Koreans were ahead of Iraq in virtually every category of WMD. Bob knew that we had recently discovered Pyongyang’s covert program to produce highly enriched uranium, and he correctly assumed this would become public knowledge soon. “When that gets out, you guys will have a devil of a time explaining why you are more worried about a country that might be working on nuclear weapons rather than one that probably already has them and the wherewithal to deliver them to the U.S.,” he told the group.

Someone suggested that the confluence with terrorism made Iraq a bigger threat. Two other CIA analysts present spoke up, saying that a much stronger case could be made for Iran’s backing of international terrrorism than could be made for Iraq’s. They recall Doug Feith saying that their objections were just “persnickety" At the center of the storm : my years at the CIA by George Tenet Page 485-486 (Extended Quote from book)

"TO: Gen. Myers  

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld


Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD. It is big."

"* We assess Iraq is making significant progress in WMD programs 

* Our assessments rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence 

* The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs 

* Concerted Iraqi CCD&D have effectively negated our view into large parts of their WMD program 

We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know" Glen Shaffer to Donald Rumsfeld, “Iraq: Status of WMD Programs,” DOD memo, September 5, 2002 Page 4

"* We know Iraq has the knowledge needed to build a nuclear weapon without external expertise 

* We are certain many of the processes required to produce a weapon are in place 

— We think they possess a viable weapon design — We do not know the status of enrichment capabilities — We think a centrifuge enrichment program is under development but not yet operational 

* We do not know if they have purchased, or attempted to purchase, a nuclear weapon 

* We do not know with confidence the location of any nuclear weapon-related facilities 

Our knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program is based largely — perhaps 90% -- on analysis of imprecise intelligence" Glen Shaffer to Donald Rumsfeld, “Iraq: Status of WMD Programs,” DOD memo, September 5, 2002 Page 5

We know Iraq has the knowledge needed to build biological weapons without external expertise We are certain all of the processes required to produce biological weapons are in place 

— We know they have produced anthrax, ricin toxin, botulinum toxin and gas gangrene 

* We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi facilities that produce, test, fill, or store biological weapons 

— A large number of suspect facilities have been identified that could support R&D/production 

— We believe Iraq has 7 mobile BW agent production plants but cannot locate them 

Our knowledge of what biological weapons the Iraqis are able to produce is nearly complete...our knowledge of how and where they are produced is probably up to 90% incomplete" Glen Shaffer to Donald Rumsfeld, “Iraq: Status of WMD Programs,” DOD memo, September 5, 2002 Page 6

"* We know Iraq has the knowledge needed to build chemical weapons without external expertise * We do not know if all the processes required to produce a weapon are in place 

— Demonstrated capability to produce mustard & nerve agents — Lack the precursors for sustained nerve agent production We can confirm the identity of facilities producing feedstock chemicals suitable for CW precursors We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi sites that produce final chemical agent 

Our overall knowledge of the Iraqi CW [program is primarily limited to infrastructure & doctrine. The specific agent and facility knowledge is 60-70 percent incomplete." Glen Shaffer to Donald Rumsfeld, “Iraq: Status of WMD Programs,” DOD memo, September 5, 2002 Page 7

"* We know Iraq has the knowledge needed to build ballistic missiles without external expertise 

* We are certain many of the processes required to produce ballistic missiles are in place — We know they can produce short range ballistic missiles (Al Samoud and Ababil-100) 

— We doubt all processes are in place to produce longer range missiles 

We can confirm the identity of most facilities that contribute to ballistic missile production or RDT&E We have good information on general storage at production/assembly sites, but little missile-specific data 

Our knowledge of the Iraqi ballistic missile program is about half complete for the production process but significantly lacking — less than 25 percent — for staging and storage sites" Glen Shaffer to Donald Rumsfeld, “Iraq: Status of WMD Programs,” DOD memo, September 5, 2002 Page 8

“They have an appetite for weapons of mass destruction. They have been, every period since they’ve been able to get the inspectors out of there, working diligently to increase their capabilities in every aspect of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology. And as they get somewhat stronger, the problem gets somewhat greater" Donald Rumsfeld, interview, Fox News Sunday, September 9, 2001 Page 1722 (2002?)


"Speaking on BBC One's Fern Britton Meets programme, Tony Blair was asked whether he would still have gone on with plans to join the US-led invasion had he known at the time that there were no WMD. He said: "I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat."

It is within the power of the Director of the CIA, George Tenet, to order a national intelligence estimate, known as an NIE. National intelligence estimates bring together all the agencies of the Federal Government involved in intelligence, sits them down, and collects and coordinate all of their information to reach the best possible conclusion he can come up with. I was stunned to learn last week that we have not produced a national intelligence estimate showing the current state of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is incredible, with all of the statements made by members of this administration about those weapons, is the fact that the intelligence community has not been brought together… It is time for the administration to rise to the occasion, to produce this evidence, as has been asked for and been produced so many times in the past when America’s national security was at risk. We cannot accept anything less than that before any member of the House or the Senate is asked to vote on this critical question of going to war" Senator Dick Durbin Senate, Congressional Record, September 10 Pages S8428-9 (Worth reading his whole statement)

"Although we have little specific information on Iraq’s CW stockpile, Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents—much of it added in the last year" Central Intelligence Agency, “Key Judgments,” Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, National Intelligence Estimate, October 2002 Page 10

"Baghdad has mobile facilities for producing bacterial and toxin BW agents; these facilities can evade detection and are highly survivable. Within three to six months these units probably could produce an amount of agent equal to the total that Iraq produced in the years prior to the Gulf war." Central Intelligence Agency, “Key Judgments,” Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, National Intelligence Estimate, October 2002 Page 2

"CHENEY: What we said, Wolf, if you go back and look at the record is, the issue's not inspectors. The issue is that he has chemical weapons and he's used them. The issue is that he's developing and has biological weapons. The issue is that he's pursuing nuclear weapons." Richard Cheney, interview with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, March 24, 2002 

In the foreword to the dossier the Prime Minister said:  “What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam… continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons.”

The executive summary states that: 

“As a result of the intelligence, we judge that Iraq has…. sought significant

quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear programme

that could require it,”

while the main body of the text stated that: 

“… there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Intelligence and Security Committee Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction – Intelligence and Assessments September 2003 Page 27-28 Reference Niger Uranium The 24 September 2002 Dossier

"A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to  send several tons of “pure uranium” (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 

"By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction… Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem… Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" White House, “President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat,” news release transcript, October 7, 2002

"We need to step back," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). "We're grieving. We need to step back and think about this so that it doesn't spiral out of control. We have to make sure we don't make any mistakes." She was walking down a hallway in the Cannon House Office Building. A plainclothes police officer hovered a few steps away, looking very serious. The Capitol Police began guarding Lee on Saturday because of death threats she received after voting against a resolution authorizing President Bush to use military force against anyone associated with last week's terrorist attacks. The resolution passed 98-0 in the Senate and 420-1 in the House. Lee's was the sole dissenting vote.

"In times like this," she said, "you have to have some members saying, 'Let's show some restraint.' " Peter Carlson, “The Solitary Vote of Barbara Lee,” Washington Post, September 19, 2001

"there is still a group of people out there, nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers, by the way, that hate America. And they hate us because we love freedom. I want you to tell your kids that the reason there is an enemy that wants to strike America is because this great country, this great land loves freedom. We love the fact that people can worship freely in America. We love the fact that people can speak their mind. We love a free press, we love everything that freedom offers, and we're willing to defend it at all costs. The more we love freedom, the more the enemy hates us. And that's why we've got to protect the homeland" George W. Bush, “Remarks by the President at Chris Chocola for Congress, and Indiana Victory Finance Dinner 2002,” South Bend, Indiana, September 5, 2002

"Were we to pick up where we left off a decade ago and head to Baghdad, the tormented people of Iraq would be sure to erupt in joy. If we liberate them, they may (if only for a while) forgive America the multitude of its sins. They may take our gift and do the easiest of things: construct a better Iraq than the one that the Tikriti killers have put in place" Fouad Ajami, “Iraq and the Thief of Baghdad,” New York Times, May 19, 2002

"Overemphasis on and underperformance in daily intelligence products. As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community’s biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time—in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE. It was not that the intelligence was markedly different. Rather, it was that the PDBs and SEIBs, with their attention-grabbing headlines and drumbeat of repetition, left an impression of many corroborating reports where in fact there were very few sources. And in other instances, intelligence suggesting the existence of weapons programs was conveyed to senior policymakers, but later information casting doubt upon the validity of that

intelligence was not. In ways both subtle and not so subtle, the daily reports seemed to be “selling” intelligence—in order to keep its customers, or at least the First Customer, interested." Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, Report to the President of the United States (“The WMD Commission Report”), March 31, 2005 Page 14

"I wasn't so sure about the al Qaeda connection. But I had heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought. I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason." Mary McGrory, “I’m Persuaded,” Washington Post, February 6, 2003

"Having identified and articulated those enormous stakes, can Bush and Blair leave the decision about Iraq's fate solely in the hands of Hans Blix, a studious, by-the-book Swedish treaty lawyer who failed to detect Saddam Hussein's nuclear program the first time around? Did George W. Bush become president to have that happen? The prospect boggles the mind and chills the blood." Jim Hoagi Hurdles in the Hunt for Weapons,” Washington Post, November 28, 2002

"Mr Russert: There's an article in The New Yorker magazine by Jeffrey Goldberg which connects Iraq and Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida. What can you tell me about it?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: I've read the article. It's a devastating article I thought. Specifically, its description of what happened in 1988 when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds in northern Iraq, against some his own people… With respect to the connections to al-Qaida, we haven't been able to pin down any connection there. I read this report with interest after our interview last fall. We discovered, and it's since been public, the allegation that one of the lead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague, but we've not been able yet from our perspective to nail down a close tie between the al-Qaida organization and Saddam Hussein. We'll continue to look for it." Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC, March 24, 2002

"Iraqi dissidents agree that Iraq’s programs to build weapons of mass destruction are focussed on Israel. “Israel is the whole game,” Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, told me. “Saddam is always saying publicly, ‘Who is going to fire the fortieth missile?’ “—a reference to the thirty-nine Scud missiles he fired at Israel during the Gulf War. “He thinks he can kill one hundred thousand Israelis in a day with biological weapons.” Chalabi added" The Great Terror,” New Yorker, March 17, 2002

"Bush has failed to present the current war and its impending new Iraqi front in terms of a democratic struggle against totalitarianism. He has failed to discuss in any serious way the moral aspect of the war, has failed to present the war as an act of solidarity with horribly oppressed Iraqis and other victims of Muslim fascism, has failed to show the humanitarian aspect of the war, has failed to present the war in the light of the long history of anti-totalitarianism." Paul Berman, “Why Germany Isn’t Convinced,” Slate, February 14, 2003

"Sen. CARL LEVIN (D), Michigan: General Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army's force requirement for an occupation of Iraq, following a successful completion of the war?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI, Army Chief of Staff, '98-'03: In specific numbers, I would have to rely on combatant commander's exact requirements. But I think--

Sen. CARL LEVIN: How about a range?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI: I would say that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers, are probably, a-- you know, figure that would be required. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes significant ground force presence" The Invasion of Iraq,” PBS Frontline, May 9, 2004, transcript

If I might digress for a moment, Mr. Chairman, from my prepared testimony, because there has been a good deal of comment--some of it quit outlandish--about what our postwar requirements might be in Iraq. That great Yankee catcher and occasional philosopher, Yogi Berra, once observed that it is dangerous to make predictions, especially about the future.

That piece of wise advice certainly applies to predictions about wars and their aftermath, and I am reluctant to try to predict anything about what the cost of a possible conflict in Iraq would be--what the possible cost of reconstructing and stabilizing that country afterwards might be. But some of the higher-end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such 

as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark." Paul Wolfowitz, testimony, Hearing Before the Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives, February 27, 2003

"On the other side, we can't be sure that the Iraqi people will welcome us as liberators, although based on what Iraqi-Americans told me in Detroit a week ago, many of them, most of them with families in Iraq, I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down" Paul Wolfowitz, testimony, Hearing Before the Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives, February 27, 2003

"You know, in the very week that we negotiated with Turkey, the administration also told the Governors there wasn't any more money for education and health care… So I would recommend to the Governors that they may want to hire the person that has been negotiating for Turkey on their behalf, because he has done a very good job." Paul Wolfowitz, testimony, Hearing Before the Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives, February 27, 2003

"But Saddam Hussein is -- he's treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make. He's the person who gets to decide war and peace." George W. Bush, “President Bush: This Is a Defining Moment for the UN Security Council,” White House, February 7, 2003

"The inspections are not working. Dribbling out of a warhead here, a missile there, may give the appearance of disarmament, but it is not reducing Saddam's capabilities." White House, “Global Message on Iraq,” statement, March 6, 2003

"He's a master at deception. He has no intention of disarming -- otherwise, we would have known. There's a lot of talk about inspectors. It really would have taken a handful of inspectors to determine whether he was disarming -- they could have showed up at a parking lot and he could have brought his weapons and destroyed them. That's not what he chose to do." White House, “President George Bush Discusses Iraq in National Press Conference,” news release transcript, March 6, 2003

"But the reported remarks of one of his ministers last week comparing President Bush's tactics with those of Hitler turned annoyance to outrage. It is no exaggeration to say that relations between the Germany and the US are at their lowest ebb since the foundation of the federal republic after the second world war.

The president, who conceives of diplomacy in a very personal way, is understood to be furious. He pointedly omitted to congratulate Schröder on his victory and his security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, has said that relations between the two countries have been "poisoned"" John Hooper, “U.S.-German Relations Strained over Iraq,” Guardian, September 24, 2002

"The survey results also show that an overwhelming 81% of British voters now agree with the international development secretary, Clare Short, that a fresh United Nations mandate is essential before a military attack is launched on Saddam Hussein." Alan Travis, “Support for War Falls to New Low,” Guardian, January 21, 2003

"The most recently published opinion poll on attitudes to war, by the state's own official pollsters, showed 91% opposition" Giles Tremlett and Sophie Arie, “Aznar Faces 91% Opposition to War,” Guardian, March 28, 2003

"Saddam Hussein can leave the country, if he's interested in peace. You see, the decision is his to make. And it's been his to make all along as to whether or not there's the use of the military. He got to decide whether he was going to disarm, and he didn't. He can decide whether he wants to leave the country. These are his decisions to make. And thus far he has made bad decisions." White House, “President Bush: Monday ‘Moment of Truth’ for World on Iraq,” news release transcript, March 16, 2003

"my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country." White House, “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended,” news release transcript, May 1, 2003

"Q But, still, those countries who didn't support the Iraqi Freedom operation use the same argument, weapons of mass destruction haven't been found. So what argument will you use now to justify this war?

THE PRESIDENT: We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." White House, “Interview of the President by TVP, Poland,” news release transcript, May 29, 2003

"But the orders had a psychological impact I did not foresee. Many Sunnis took them as a signal they would have no place in Iraq's future. This was especially dangerous in the case of the army. Thousands of armed men had just been told they were not wanted. Instead of sign- ing up for the new military, many joined the insurgency. In retrospect, I should have insisted on more debate on Jerry’s orders, especially on what message disbanding the army would send and how many Sunnis the de-Baathification would affect. Overseen by longtime exile Ahmed [sic] Chalabi, the de-Baathification program turned out to cut much deeper than we expected, including mid-level party members like teachers.” George W. Bush, Decision Points (New York: Crown, 2010) Page 259

"Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

Sen. [Edward] Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction. I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war -- certainly, the French president, [Jacques] Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq's possession of WMD. The Germans certainly -- the intelligence service believed that there were WMD. It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing" David Kay, statement at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, January 28, 2004 CNN Transcript: David Kay at Senate hearing 

"These assessments were all wrong.

This became clear as U.S. forces searched without success for the WMD that the Intelligence Community had predicted. Extensive post-war investigations were carried out by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG). The ISG found no evidence that Iraq had tried to reconstitute its capability to produce nuclear weapons after 1991; no evidence of BW agent stockpiles or of mobile biological weapons production facilities; and no substantial chemical warfare (CW) stockpiles or credible indications that Baghdad had resumed production of CW after 1991. Just about the only thing that the Intelligence Community got right was its pre-war conclusion that Iraq had deployed missiles with ranges exceeding United Nations limitations" REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT, MARCH 31, 2005 (Similar to references in book)

"In the summer and fall of 2003, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) investigated whether Iraq had a mobile biological weapons program as part of its overall investigation into Iraq’s WMD capabilities. The primary focus was investigating sites and individuals identified by CURVE BALL and later, CURVE BALL himself. The ISG located and debriefed over sixty individuals who could have been involved in a mobile program, were linked to suspect sites, or to 

CURVE BALL. Many of the individuals corroborated some of the reporting on 

personnel and some legitimate activities CURVE BALL claimed were cover activities, but none provided evidence to substantiate the claim of a mobile BW 

program. Inspections of the facilities CURVE BALL had described also did not 

support his story. A CIA assessment dated May 26, 2004 states that “investigations since the war in Iraq and debriefings of the key source indicate he lied about his access to a mobile BW production project. The CIA and DIA jointly issued a congressional notification in June 2004 noting that CURVE BALL was assessed to have fabricated his claimed access to a mobile BW production project and that his reporting had been recalled." Senate Committee on Intelligence, Use by the Intelligence Committee of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress, S. Rep. 109-330, September 8, 2006 Page 106-107 (Similar theme in book)

Unverified Sources

“liberate ourselves, our friends

and allies in the region, and the Iraqi people themselves, from the menace

of Saddam Hussein." Paul Wolfowitz, statement at House National Security Committee Hearings on Iraq, September

16, 1998

“Why is it that terrorists want to go after

Americans? Because we are always dropping bombs on people and telling

people what to do; because we are the policemen. We pretend to be the

arbitrator of every argument in the world, even those that have existed for 1,000 years. It is a failed, flawed policy" Ron Paul, remarks in the House, Congressional Record, October 5, 1998, H9489

Carl Ford to Richard 

Armitage,“Niger—Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely,” State Department INR memo, March 1, 2002

Nigerian Denial of Uranium Yellowcake Sales to Rogue States,” CIA cable, March

8, 2002

Central Intelligence Agency, “Key Mobile BW Source Deemed Unreliable,” redacted memo, May 26, 2004


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