Sunday, April 23, 2006
Bush on Downing Street memos: Rumours
In an exclusive interview with a British journalist, President Bush categorically denied press reports based on leaked documents that the decision to invade Iraq had been made months in advance, RAW STORY has found.
Although a recently disclosed memo of a closed-door meeting between Bush and Blair suggested that the president was set on war in January of 2003 (link), Bush claimed that it wasn't until after the 48-hour deadline passed two months later that he made up his mind for certain.
"I took the decision after the ultimatum," Bush said emphatically, according to Con Coughlin.
"I guess in the UK there's all kinds of rumours about 'we made the decision nine months ahead of time,'" Bush continued. "It's just not true."
A year ago, British journalist Michael Smith reported on a leaked briefing paper - which would come to be known as one of the Downing Street memos - which indicated that Bush and Blair had decided on regime change as early as April of 2002 (link).
Also, in the interview - excerpted from Coughlin's book, 'American Ally: Tony Blair and the War on Terror' - Bush claimed that he offered the Prime Minister Blair a "way out" in March of 2003 because of widespread opposition in the U.K. to invading Iraq at the time.
More info can be found in my extensive article from last summer 'Spikes of Activity' In The DSM which drew off of the incredible work done by Mick Smith at The Sunday Times and - even sooner - when he wrote for The Daily Telegraph (Mick's got a blog now, too). U.S. changed Iraq policy to begin airstrikes months before war published at Raw Story shortly after has even more.