President Bush, with his hair down
President Bush. We are in favor of obtaining one second resolution in the Security Council and would want to do it quickly. We would want to announce it Monday or Tuesday [24 or 25 of February of 2003].
President Aznar. Better Tuesday, after the meeting of the Council of General Subjects of the European Union. [Is important to maintain the momentum impulse] obtained by the resolution of the summit of the European Union [in
PB. It could be Monday evening, , considering the time difference. In any case next week. We will write the resolution so that it does not contain obligatory elements, that it does not mention the use of the force, and that it states that Saddam Hussein has failed to fulfill his obligations. That type of resolution can be voted for by many people. It would be something similar to which was obtained on Kosovo [the 10 of June of 1999].
PA. Would it come before the Security Council before and independently of a parallel declaration?
Condoleezza Rice. In fact there would not be a parallel declaration. We are thinking about as simple resolution as it is possible without many details of fulfillment that could serve so that Saddam Hussein used them like stages and consequently to fail to fulfill them. We are speaking with Blix [head of the inspectors of the UN] and others of his team to obtain ideas that can serve to introduce the resolution.
PB. Saddam Hussein will not change and will continue playing. The moment has arrived to remove him. That’s the way it is. I myself will from now on try to use the subtlest possible rhetoric, while we seek the approval of the resolution. If somebody vetoes, [
We would like to act with the mandate of the United Nations. If we acted militarily we will do it with great precision and focus on our objectives. We will decimate the loyal troops and the regular army quickly will know what they are dealing with. We have sent a very clear message to the generals of Saddam Hussein: we will treat them as war criminals. We know that they have accumulated an enormous amount of dynamite to blow up the bridges and other infrastructure and blow up the oil fields.. We have planned to occupy those wells immediately. Also the Saudis would help us by putting in the market any necessary oil. We are developing a very strong package of humanitarian aid.. We can win without destruction. We are planning for
PA. It is very important to depend on a resolution. It is not the same to act with it as without it. It would be very advisable to get in the Security Council a majority that supported that resolution. In fact, it is more important to get a majority that if somebody vetoes it. We think that the content of the resolution should say among other things that Saddam Hussein has lost his opportunity.
PB. Yes, by all means. It would be better than that to make a reference to “necessary means” [talks about to the resolution type of the UN that it authorizes to use “all necessary means”].
PA. Saddam Hussein has not cooperated, has not been disarmed, we would have to make a summary of his breaches and to deliver a more elaborate message. That would for example allow
PB. The resolution will be done in any way that can help you. Give me some ideas as to its content.
PA. We will give you some text.
PB. We do not have any text. Only one criterion: that Saddam Hussein disarm himself.. We cannot allow Saddam Hussein to extend the time until the summer. After all he has already had four months in this last stage and that is more than sufficient time to disarm itself.
PA. That text will allow us to sponsor it and to be its coauthors and to obtain much more support.
PA. The next Wednesday [16 of February] I see Chirac. The resolution already will have begun to circulate.
PB. That seems to me very good. . Chirac knows the reality perfectly. His intelligence services have explained it. The Arabs are transmitting to Chirac a very clear message: Saddam Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac is thinks he’s Mister Arab, and in reality this is making life impossible. [?] But I do not want any rivalry with Chirac. We have different points of view, but I wanted to leave it there. [?] Give him my best regards. Really! The less rivalry he feels between us, the better for all.
PA. How will the resolution go with the report of the inspectors?
Condoleezza Rice. We have no report as of February 28 except that the inspectors will present a report on March 1, and it will not reach the Security Council until 6 or 7 of March of 2003. We do not expect great things from that report. Like the previous ones, it will be a mixed bag. I have the impression that Blix will be now more negative than what before it was on the attitude of the Iraqis. After the appearance of the inspectors at the Council we must anticipate the vote on the resolution one week later. The Iraqis, meanwhile, will try to explain that they are fulfilling their obligations. It will neither be certain nor sufficient, even if they announce the destruction of some missiles.
PB. This is Chinese water torture. We must end it.
PA. I agree, but it would be good to have the maximum possible support. Have a little patience.
PB. My patience is exhausted. I do not think I’ll go beyond the middle of March.
PA. I do not request to you that you have an infinite patience. Simply that you do everything you can to get everything in order..
PB. Countries like
[President Ricardo] Lakes must know that the Free Trade Agreement with Chile is pending of confirmation in the Senate and that a negative attitude in this subject could put ratification in danger, Angola is receiving funds from the Millennium Account and also they could be in jeopardy if the do not show themselves positive. . And Putin must know that his attitude is putting Russian-American relations in danger.
PA. Tony would like to arrive on March 14.
PB. I prefer the 10th. This is like the game of bad cop and good cop. It doesn’t matter to me to be the bad cop and that Blair is the good one.
PA. Is it certain that Saddam might go into exile?
PB. Yes, that’s possible. Also that he might be assassinated.
PA. Exile with some guarantee?
PB. No guarantee. He is a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal. Compared with Saddam, Milosevic would be Mother Teresa. When we enter we are going to discover many more crimes and we will take them to the International Court of Justice at
[Saturday 15 of February] protects him. [?] And he thinks that I am very weak. But his entourage knows otherwise. They know that his future is in exile or a coffin. For that reason it is so important to maintain the pressure on him. Gaddafi tells us indirectly that that is the only thing that can finish him. The only strategy of Saddam Hussein is delay, delay, delay..
PA. In fact the greater success would be to win the game without firing a single shot and entering
PB. For me it would be the perfect solution. I do not want the war. I know what wars are . I know the destruction and the death that they bring with them. I am the one that has to console the mothers and the widows of the dead. By all means, for us that would be the best solution. In addition, it would save $50 billion. [sic]
PA. We needed you to help us with our public opinion.
PB. We will do everything that we can. Wednesday I am going to speak on the situation in the
PA. What we are doing is a very deep change for
PB. I, like you, am guided by a sense of historical responsibility. When in years to come history judges us I do not want people to ask themselves why Bush, or Aznar, or Blair did not face their responsibilities. In the end, what people want is to enjoy freedom. Recently, in
PA. So much the better! [?]
PB. I made the decision to go to the Security Council. In spite of the disagreements in my Administration, I said to my people that we had to work with our friends. It will be wonderful to secure a second resolution.
PA. The only thing which worries me about you is your optimism.
PB. I am optimistic because I believe that I am in the right. I am at peace with myself. We have the task of facing a serious threat to peace.. I’m incredibly irritated by the insensitivity of the Europeans to the sufferings that Saddam Hussein inflicts upon the Iraqis. Perhaps because he is brown, distant and Muslim, many European think that everything is ok for him. I will not forget what once Solana once said to me: why do we Americans think the Europeans are anti-Semitic and incapable of facing up to their responsibilities? That defensive attitude is terrible. I must say with Kofi Annan I have magnificent relations.
PA. He shares your ethical preoccupations.
PB. The more the Europeans attack me the stronger I am in the
PA. We must secure the esteem of the Europeans for your strength.
In my experience as a historian I have frequently found that heads of government are more revealing and more at ease with their counterparts than with their subordinates. One could say many things about this conversation but I will confine myself to one major observation: President Bush is indeed who he says he is, and has not changed--he is as certain as ever. He has used the same phraseology about "facing up to our responsibilities" and about what history will say about Iran. America needs to face these facts.
More on Sunday.