PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH DISCUSSED REMOVING SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM POWER AS FAR BACK AS MARCH 2002, TIME REPORTS
New York – TIME offers the inside story of how Iraq jumped to the top of Bush’s agenda – and why outcome there may foreshadow a different world order. TIME’s Michael Elliott and James Carney profile key Bush administration members who were involved in the decision to go to war. TIME’s special double issue will be on newsstands Monday, March 24th.
"F—k Saddam. We’re taking him out," said President George W. Bush in March 2002, after poking his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, TIME reports.
TIME’s story focuses on Paul Wolfowitz, a senior advisor to President Bush, a neoconservative – someone who thinks that the world is a dangerous place where civilization and democracy hang by a thread. Neoconservatives, report Elliott and Carney, also believe that the U.S. is endowed by Providence with the power to make the world better if only it will take the risks of leadership to do so.
In January 1998, Wolfowitz joined other neo-conservatives in signing a letter to President Clinton arguing that "containment" of Saddam had failed and asserting that "removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power…needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."
Vice President Dick Cheney, another high-ranking neoconservative, agreed. The Vice President told a campaign aide in 2000 "we have swept that problem [Iraq] under the rug for too long. We have a festering problem there." Cheney, who had been instrumental in the ceasefire of the first Gulf War, was outraged by Hussein’s attempted assassination of former President George Bush. He was also, as Wolfowitz put it, "transformed by Sept. 11 – by the recognition of the danger posed by the connection between terrorists and WMDS [Weapons of Mass Destruction] and by the growing evidence of links between Iraq and al-Qaeda."
As one former senior Administration official puts it: "The eureka moment was that realization by the President that were a WMD to fall into [terrorists’] hands, their willingness to use it would be unquestioned. So we must act pre-emptively to ensure that those that have the capability aren’t allowed to proliferate it." One advisor to the president, report Elliott and Carney, went as far as to say that Bush thinks Saddam is insane. "If there is one thing standing between those who want WMDS and those who have them," says this source, "it is this madman. Depending on the sanity of Saddam is not an option."
Drudge Report -
Sun Mar 23 2003 10:51:36 ET