Provoking a War

PROVOKING A WAR….David Manning’s memo summarizing a meeting between George Bush and Tony Blair a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq has been reported before, but the New York Times has additional details today:

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.

….The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation

….”The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours,” the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.”

It also described the president as saying, “The U.S. might be able to bring out a defector who could give a public presentation about Saddam’s W.M.D,” referring to weapons of mass destruction.

A brief clause in the memo refers to a third possibility, mentioned by Mr. Bush, a proposal to assassinate Saddam Hussein.

Yes, that’s the president of the United States talking about deliberately faking a UN overflight in order to provoke a phony confrontation with Saddam ? or if that didn’t work, trotting out a defector to lie about Iraqi WMD. Honor and dignity, baby, honor and dignity.