Bush Said He Would 'Take Saddam Out' in May 2000
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Prof. Juan Cole has been one of the most thorough de-bunkers of Bush's Iraq lies for the past four years. In a new article for Salon, Cole traces Bush's decision to "take Saddam out" back as far as May 2000.
The lies that led to war
A leaked British memo, and other documents, make it clear that Bush intended all along to invade Iraq -- and lied about it to the American people. The full gravity of his offense has not yet sunk in.
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By Juan Cole
... The British memo is only the most decisive in a long list of documents that make it inescapably clear that Bush had decided to go to war long before. Indeed, Bush had decided as early as his presidential campaign in the year 2000 that he would find a way to fight an Iraq war to unseat Saddam. I was in the studio with Arab-American journalist Osama Siblani on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" program on March 11, 2005, when Siblani reported a May 2000 encounter he had with then-candidate Bush in a hotel in Troy, Mich. "He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 Republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq." According to Siblani, Bush added that "he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States." Siblani points out that Bush at that point was privy to no classified intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs and had already made up his mind on the issue.
Cole doesn't mention this, but Bush's primitive language in May 2000 is identical to the language he used in March 2002, according to Time:
First Stop, Iraq
How did the U.S. end up taking on Saddam? The inside story of how Iraq jumped to the top of Bush's agenda — and why the outcome there may foreshadow a different world order
By MICHAEL ELLIOTT AND JAMES CARNEY
Mar. 31, 2003
"F___ Saddam. we're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room....
And a few weeks later, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) explained the reason Republicans wanted to "take Saddam out."
Smith: Let's take Saddam's black gold
By Dave Levinthal
Saturday, April 13, 2002
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The United States should no longer buy oil from Iraq, but steal it, U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, R-Wolfeboro, told hundreds of New Hampshire Republicans gathered last night at a party fund-raiser.
"Why don't we just take his oil?" Smith bellowed to the crowd during a fiery 13-minute speech, referring to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. "Why buy it? Take it!"
Of course, when Dennis Kucinich told Tim Russert on Feb 23, 2003 that oil was an important reason why we invaded Iraq, Russert freaked out.
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman, you made a very strong charge against the administration and let me show you what you said on January 19. “Why is the Administration targeting Iraq? Oil.” What do you base that on?
REP. KUCINICH: I base that on the fact that there is $5 trillion worth of oil above and in the ground in Iraq, that individuals involved in the administration have been involved in the oil industry, that the oil industry certainly would benefit from having the administration control Iraq, and that the fact is that, since no other case has been made to go to war against Iraq, for this nation to go to war against Iraq, oil represents the strongest incentive.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe the president of the United States would risk the lives of American men and women for oil?
REP. KUCINICH: I think that to answer that question would be to put a focus on a person, and I think the policy is what we have to talk about, that this policy to go against Iraq was promulgated even before 9/11, and the day after 9/11, the secretary of Defense in a meeting of the National Security Council said we could use this moment to go after Iraq, even though there was no connection. I think that when a president commits the young men and women of this country to battle, that it should only be when there is an imminent threat to this country, and that—I believe most sincerely that one of the motivating factors involved in this effort to strike against Iraq is the desire on the part of some to be able to control the oil interests in Iraq. I believe that.