The New York Review of Books has published a transcript of a conversation between George W Bush and the Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar which took place in February 2003, before the Iraq war.
According to the site, this “is an English translation of the text published in El Paìs on September 26, 2007”.
Saddam Hussein won’t change and he’ll continue playing games. The time has come to get rid of him. That’s it.
As for me, I’ll try from now on to use a rhetoric that’s as subtle as can be while we’re seeking approval of the resolution. If anyone vetoes [Russia, China, and France together with the US and the UK have veto power in the Security Council, being permanent members], we’ll go.
Saddam Hussein isn’t disarming. We have to catch him right now. Until now we’ve shown an incredible amount of patience. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we’ll be militarily ready.
I think we’ll get the second resolution. In the Security Council we have the three Africans [Cameroon, Angola, and Guinea], the Chileans, the Mexicans. I’ll talk to all of them, also Putin, naturally. We’ll be in Baghdad by the end of March. There’s a 15 percent chance that at that point Saddam Hussein will be dead or will have fled.
The war was started on 20th March 2003 in case you were wondering. Here’s a little more of the conversation.
The Saudis will also help us by putting as much oil as necessary on the market. We’re developing a very strong humanitarian aid package. We can win without destruction. We’re already putting into effect a post-Saddam Iraq, and I believe there’s a good basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a civil society that’s relatively strong. It could be organized into a federation.
We all know how that turned out.
It is an extraordinary conversation and if you have any interest in world politics, I would urge you to read ‘The Moment Has Come to Get Rid of Saddam’ by Mark Danner.
PS: If you’re interested, you can also check out Mark Danner’s essay on Alternet.