Report: Bush Determined to Go to War, Despite Evidence The New York Times reports Monday that a confidential memo detailing a conversation between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair shows the president was determined to go to war with Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
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Report: Bush Determined to Go to War, Despite Evidence

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Report: Bush Determined to Go to War, Despite Evidence

Report: Bush Determined to Go to War, Despite Evidence

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This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.


I'm Alex Chadwick. Coming up, protecting a very rare sheep in some of the most difficult terrain in the world.

BRAND: Some details of the memo were first published a few months ago in the book Lawless World by British lawyer Phillipe Sands. And Phillipe Sands joins us now. Welcome to the program.

PHILLIPPE SANDS: Very glad to be with you.

BRAND: Now, give us some highlights from this memo.

SANDS: And secondly, the memo makes it clear that these two gentlemen had no evidence of actual weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and they were therefore reduced to coming up with all sorts of proposals to, if you like, cause Saddam Hussein to make himself in material breach of earlier resolutions.

BRAND: And one of them in the memo, I understand, is discussing ways of provoking Saddam into a confrontation that would involve shooting down a U.S. airplane.

SANDS: Yes, the U.S. President suggests to Tony Blair that one thing he's thinking of doing is taking U.S. spy planes, painting them in the United Nations colors, and when Saddam shoots on them he'll be in material breach and that will justify the use of force. But of course what's striking about that is if you've got actual evidence of weapons of mass destruction you don't need to be getting involved in those sorts of shenanigans.

BRAND: And they agree to try for a second U.N resolution. Why was that important?

SANDS: And of course as we know, rather tragically, things have gone wrong. And I think one of the most striking aspects of the memorandum is the comment by President Bush that he did not expect there to be what he called internecine strife or, as we now know it, an insurgency of the kind that has happened.

BRAND: Well, what did the two men envision for a post-war Iraq?

SANDS: I think the memo makes it pretty clear that they envisioned people turning up waving on the streets and embracing a U.S. and British occupying force. And the memorandum appears to be completely consistent with those who thought the whole thing was rather incompetently planned.

BRAND: Now, this is the second memo. The first was the famous Downing Street Memo where that was detailing an earlier meeting in July where senior British officials were concerned that, quote, "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." So does this second memo confirm those earlier fears?

SANDS: So what they came up with was the ruse of weapons of mass destruction. And of course they hoped and I think they believed there were weapons of mass destruction. But having not found any, they were then boxed in to a policy which required them to proceed irrespective of what the weapons inspectors found.

BRAND: Is there any doubt to the authenticity of this memo?

SANDS: Because of my position as a member of the English bar, a barrister, a professor of the university, I've had to take very great care to make sure I get my facts straight, and I'm entirely comfortable that the material is authentic and cannot be denied.

BRAND: Phillipe Sands is an international law expert. His new book is called Lawless World. Phillipe Sands, thank you for joining us.

SANDS: Thank you very much.

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