Today, the Spanish newspaper El Pais published a transcript of a discussion between President Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in February 2003 in which Bush told Aznar that the U.S. would go to war with Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein with or without a UN resolution:
“We must take him right now. We have shown an incredible degree of patience until now. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be militarily ready.”
Though Aznar asked Bush to “have a little patience” and urged, “It is very important to have a [UN] resolution,” Bush pushed for war throughout the meeting, telling the Spanish Prime Minister, “We will be in Baghdad by the end of March.”
BUSH: “I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” [3/6/03]
BUSH: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [3/8/03]
Prior to going to war, Bush insisted he would get U.N. authorization. He said, “no matter what the whip count is,” the U.S. would go to the UN and “call for a vote.” But it’s clear Bush was never going to let the U.N. get in the way of his quest for war.
To this day, Bush has continued to insist that the “the United States did not choose war — the choice was Saddam Hussein’s.” In fact, as this conversation with Aznar illustrates, Bush had made his decision long before exhausting all other options.
For the full transcript in Spanish, click HERE.