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BUSH DECISION TO INVADE IRAQ A FULL YEAR BEFORE WAR BRINGS CLAIMS OF MILITARY POWER AS "LAST CHOICE" INTO QUESTION
from Daily Mislead
December 19, 2003

During his press conference on Tuesday, President Bush insisted, "I'm reluctant to use military power. It's the last choice, it's not our first choice." But the president's claim clearly does not withstand scrutiny when applied to Iraq, where the president's senior team decided, in the weekend after the September 11th attacks to depose Saddam Hussein one way or another.

Vice President Dick Cheney admitted the weekend after the September 11th terrorist attacks that there was no evidence of Iraq's involvement in September 2001. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in a May 2003 interview, however, that despite having no immediate reason for overthrowing Iraq's government, "the disagreement [in the weekend after 9/11] was whether [invading Iraq] should be in the immediate response or whether you should concentrate simply on Afghanistan first."

The president also claimed on Tuesday that, "in Iraq, there was a lot of diplomacy that took place before there was any military action." But in fact, Time reported a meeting from March 2002, a full year before the war began, in which Bush "showed little interest in debating what to do about Hussein," and told a group of Senators, "[expletive] Saddam. We're taking him out." Weeks later, Vice President Cheney separately told a group of Senators that, "The question was no longer if the U.S. would attack Iraq, he said. The only question was when." But months later, the president was still telling the public, "I hope this will not require military action."

Key staff at the State Department, normally responsible for diplomacy, were finally told of the administration's plans to go to war in July 2002, at least four months after the administration started prepping members of Congress.

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