Thursday, January 15, 2004

Take Him Out

No surprise here.

Richard Haass, Powell's head of policy planning, resigned when it became clear that Bush demands for Iraqi disarmament were only a pretext for war.

Haass, now head of the Council on Foreign Relations, calls Iraq a war of "choice," not "necessity." He recounts a meeting with NSC director Condoleezza Rice in July 2002, two months before Iraq hit the headlines and three months before Bush went to the U.N. Security Council putatively to seek a resolution on Iraqi disarmament.

As head of State's policy planning, Haass' mission to the NSC was, he says, to discuss "the pros and cons" of escalating toward war with Iraq. Says Haass: "Basically, she (Rice) cut me off and said, 'Save your breath – the president has already decided what he's going to do on this.' "

That was 18 months after O'Neill heard the first Cabinet discussions on Saddam Hussein's removal, in January 2001. Those discussions began eight months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Bush cited as a primary cause for invading Iraq. In October 2002, at the United Nations, Bush cited Iraq's "imminent threat" to America because of its weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda.