Bush: 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 [on the Security Council] vetoes [the proposed second resolution], we'll go. Saddam Hussein isn't disarming. We have to catch him right now. … There are two weeks left. In two weeks we'll be militarily ready. I think we'll get the second resolution. … We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March.
Aznar: Saddam Hussein hasn't cooperated, he hasn't disarmed, we should make a summary of his breaches and send a more elaborate message. That would, for example, allow Mexico to make a move.
Bush: The resolution will be tailored to help you as best it can. I don't care much about the content.
Aznar: How will the resolution and the inspectors' report be combined?
Condoleezza Rice: … We don't expect much from that report. As with the previous ones, it will be six of one and half a dozen of the other. … After the inspectors have appeared before the Council we should anticipate the vote on the resolution taking place one week later. Meanwhile, the Iraqis will try to explain that they're meeting their obligations. It's neither true nor sufficient, even if they announce the destruction of some missiles.
Bush: This is like Chinese water torture. We have to put an end to it.
Aznar: I agree, but it would be good to be able to count on as many people as possible. Have a little patience.
Bush: My patience has run out. I won't go beyond mid-March.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Bush on Iraq: “a rhetoric that’s as subtle as can be”
A transcript of a meeting between George Bush and then Spanish PM José Marìa Aznar has been published. The meeting took place on 22 February 2003, over three weeks before the start of the war. Some extracts to interpret as you will: