Juan Cole: Transcript Reveals Impeachable Offenses by Bush
[Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His most recent book Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) has just been published. He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.]
El Pais published a transcript of the conversation between George W. Bush, Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, and Condoleeza Rice held at Crawford before the Iraq War. Bush is typically bullheaded, impatient, conspiratorial, bullying, arrogant, ill-informed and way over-optimistic. The transcript shows the true colors of the man-- a sort of thuggish, ignorant Mafia don-- who destroyed the United States and destroyed Iraq. (The introductory El Pais article is translated here.)
At one point Aznar prophetically says,"The thing that worries me is your optimism."
The transcript, it seems to me, provides a whole rack of smoking guns that could be a basis for impeaching George W. Bush. The transcript shows that Bush consciously intended to go to war without a United Nations Security Council resolution. The United Nations Charter, to which the United States is a treaty signatory (so that it has the force of American law), forbids any nation to launch an aggressive war on another country. The only two legal mechanisms for war are either that it came in response to a direct attack or that the attacker gained a UNSC authorization. The transcript shows Bush actively plotting to sidestep the UNSC if he could not, gangster-like, threaten its members into compliance.
The second grounds for impeachment is that Bush rejected out of hand a deal brokered by the Egyptians whereby Saddam Hussein would leave the country with a billion dollars and some documents about his WMD program. Reuters reports:
'The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction," Bush was quoted as saying at the meeting one month before the U.S.-led invasion.'
The transcript in Spanish then says (my translation):
'Aznar: Is it certain that any possibility exists that Saddam Hussein will go into exile?
Bush: The possibility exists, including that he will be assassinated.
Aznar: Exile with a guarantee?
Bush: No guarantee! He is a thug, a terrorist, a war criminal.
Bush goes on to say,"Saddam won't change and he'll keep on playing games. The time has come to get rid of him. That's the way it is. We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."
In other words, Bush could have sent Saddam off to exile in Saudi Arabia and avoided the whole war, but refused to do so because of the family vendetta between the Bushes and the Tikritis. Nearly 4,000 US soldiers have died and thousands have been wounded because Bush would not take the deal Saddam offered him. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, and millions displaced.
Going to war unnecessarily is an impeachable offense.
The whole immense catastrophe could have been avoided.
There is more evidence of thuggery in the transcript:
Excerpts courtesy Harper's:
' Bush to American Allies: support war or starve
[Condoleezza Rice has just described the diplomatic situation to Bush and Aznar, explaining that Iraq is continuing to insist that it has no weapons of mass destruction.]
Bush: This is like Chinese water torture. We have to put an end to it.
Aznar: I agree, but it would be best to have as much support as possible. Have a little patience.
Bush: My patience has ended. I’m not thinking of waiting beyond mid-March.
Aznar: I’m not asking that you have endless patience. Simply that everything is done to [have maximum international support].
Bush: Countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola, and Cameroon should know that what’s at stake is the security of the United States . . . [Chilean President Ricardo] Lagos should know that the Free Trade Accord with Chile is awaiting Senate confirmation and a negative attitude about this could put ratification in danger. Angola is receiving Millennium Account funds [to help alleviate poverty] and that could be jeopardized also if he’s not supportive…
Aznar: Tony [Blair] wants to wait until March 14.
Bush: I prefer the 10th. This is like a good cop, bad cop routine. I don’t care if I’m the bad cop and he’s the good cop.
Bush on Iraq: the future is bright
“We’re developing a very strong package of humanitarian aid. We can win [the war] without much destruction. We’re planning for a post-Saddam Iraq and believe there is a strong base to build a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and relatively strong civil society.”
Bush on French President Chirac: Mister Arab
“Chirac knows perfectly well the reality. His intelligence services have explained. The Arab countries are sending Chirac a clear message: Saddam Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac thinks he’s Mister Arab and is making life impossible.” '
Reuters has more:
' In case the war endangered energy supplies,"the Saudis would help us and put all the oil necessary into the market," said Bush, who considered Europeans to be complacent about Saddam.
"Maybe it's because he's dark-skinned, far away and Muslim, lots of Europeans think everything's okay with him," he said. . . '
He was accusing the Europeans of racism!
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