As if we needed further evidence that Bush was lying when he said “hopefully we can do this without any military action” (something he said more than once) while addressing the subject of Saddam and disarmament before the invasion , we now have this: Scoop for Spanish Daily: Transcript of Private 2003 Bush Talk Promising Iraq Invasion
NEW YORK El Pais, the highest-circulation daily in Spain, today published what it said was the transcript of a private talk between President George W. Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar on February 22, 2003, concerning the coming U.S. invasion of Iraq. It took place at the ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The conversation took place on the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain’s ambassador to the United States, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.
Bush purportedly said he planned to invade Iraq inf March “if there was a United Nations Security Council resolution or not….We have to get rid of Saddam. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March.”
E&P has a portion of the transcript, but since they don’t seem to have anyone on staff who is fluent in Spanish (they used a Google translator, which resulted in some mangled sentences), I’ll post what appears to be a better translation of certain sections that someone (named neil) posted in the comments section of Carpetbagger:
Bush: Chirac knows perfectly well what’s going on. His intelligence
services have explained it to him. The Arabs are giving Chirac a very
clear message: Saddam Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac
thinks he’s Mister Arab and it’s really making our lives difficult.
But I don’t want to have a rivalry with Chirac. We’ve got different
points of view, but I’d like to leave that out of it. Give him my
best, really! The less he feels a rivalry between us, the better it is
Aznar: How will the resolution be combined with the inspectors’ report?
Rice: We actually won’t know until Feb. 28th, the inspectors are
giving their written report on March 1., and their appearance before
the Security Council won’t be until the 6th or 7th. We’re not
expecting much from this report. As with the others, they’ll try to
put the good along with the bad. I have the impression that Blix will
be more negative this time about the intentions of the Iraqis. After
the inspectors’ appearance before the security council we expect a
vote on our resolution within a week. The Iraqis, meanwhile, will try
to argue that they’re complying with our demands. It’s not true and
it’s not enough, but they will announce the destruction of some
Bush: This is like Chinese water torture. We’ve got to put an end to it.
Aznar: I agree, but it would be good to have the most allies possible.
Have a little patience.
Bush: My patience has run out. I don’t think I’m going to wait beyond
the middle of March.
Aznar: I’m not asking for you to have infinite patience. Just that you
do what’s possible to line everybody up.
Bush: Countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola and Cameroon must know that
this is an issue of U.S. security and act with a sense of friendship.
[Chilean President] Lagos must know that the Free Trade Agreement with
Chile is pending in the Senate and that a negative attitude could put
its ratification in danger. Angola is receiving Millenium Account
funds and these could also be in jeopardy if they don’t show us
results. And Putin should know that his attitude is putting US-Russian
relations in danger.
Aznar: Tony wants to leave it until the 14th of March.
Bush: I’d prefer the 10th. This is like a good cop, bad cop game. I
don’t care if I’m the bad cop and Tony is the good one.
Aznar: Is it true that there’s some chance that Saddam Hussein will go
Bush: Yes, there’s a possibility. He might even be assassinated.
Aznar: Exile with a guarantee?
Bush: No guarantees. He’s a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal.
Compared to Saddam, Milosevic was like Mother Teresa. When we go in,
we’re going to discover a lot more crimes and we’re going to take them
to the International Tribune in the Hague. Saddam Hussein thinks he’s
already escaped. He thinks France and Germany have stopped the process
of holding him accountable. He also thinks the demonstrations last
week protected him. And he thinks I’m weakened. But the people around
him know that that’s not how things are. They know that their future
lies in exile or else in a coffin. That’s why it’s so important to
keep the pressure on him. Gaddafi told us indirectly that this is the
only way to stop him. The only strategy Saddam Hussein has is to
delay, delay, delay.
Aznar: Really, the greatest success would be to win without firing a
single shot or entering Baghdad.
Bush: For me this would be the perfect solution. I don’t want war. I
know what war is. I know it brings destruction and death. I’m the one
who has to console the mothers and the widows of the dead. Of course
this would be the best solution. It would save us $50 billion, too.
Aznar: What we’re doing is a very profound change for Spain and for
the Spanish people. We’re changing the policy that the country has
followed for the last 200 years.
Bush: I’m guided by a historical sense of responsibility, same as you.
When history judges us in a few years, I don’t want people to ask why
Bush, or Aznar, or Blair didn’t face up to their responsibilities. In
the end, what people want is to enjoy freedom. Not long ago, in
Romania, they reminded me of the example of Ceausescu: all it took was
for a woman to call him a liar for the whole repressive facade to
crash down. This is the irrepressible power of freedom. I’m convinced
that I’ll get the resolution.
Aznar: That would be for the best.
Bush: I made the decision to go to the Security Council. Despite
disagreement in my administration, I told my people that we’ve got to
work with our friends. It would be wonderful to count on a second
Aznar: The only thing that worries me is your optimism.
Bush: I’m optimistic because I believe I’m right. I’m at peace with
myself. We’ve been put up against a serious threat to peace. It really
irritates me to think about the Europeans’ insensibility towards the
suffering that Saddam Hussein inflicted on the Iraqis. Maybe because
he’s brown, he’s far away, he’s Muslim, a lot of Europeans think
there’s no problem. I won’t forget what [Javier] Solana told me once:
Why do we Americans think that Europeans are antisemites and incapable
of facing up to their responsibilities? This defensive attitude is
terrible. I have to recognize that Kofi Annan and I have magnificent
Aznar: He shares your ethical preoccupations.
Bush: The more the Europeans attack me, the stronger I am in the United States.
Aznar: We’ll have to make the Europeans appreciate your strength.
From what I can tell, this isn’t the entire transcript. It might, however, be enough of the juicy parts. What’s particularly interesting isn’t just the fact that it reveals, once again, that just about everything Bush was saying publicly about Iraq in the months leading up to the invasion was just a dog and pony show, but it provides further proof that he was absolutely clueless about what the hell he was getting us into. Basically, Bush is saying, “we’re going in”, “the other European leaders don’t know what they’re talking about”, and a token, “I know war sucks, but we do what we gotta do”.
I’ll post more when it becomes available.