Memo To: Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman Senate Intelligence
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Getting Closer All the Time
Now that The Wall Street Journal is foaming at the mouth over your recent assertions about manipulation of intelligence by the Pentagon warhawks, you know you are getting close to the truth. Your treason, according to the WSJ, was being your wondering aloud if the decision was made to go to war with Iraq no matter what the UN arms inspectors found or did not find. Now comes the news that in the last months leading up to our pre-emptive war there were frantic attempts by Baghdad to cut a deal with the Bush administration, giving it everything it wanted and more in order to avert further bloodshed. Everything, that is, but “regime change,” i.e., the departure of Saddam and his government. The New York Times Thursday reported a back-channel attempt by Baghdad last December to cut a deal, which apparently included an offer to hold real democratic elections, but the Pentagon was not interested. I know you wonder if these offers made it to the Oval Office, and I for one believe they did, but the President had in fact long ago made up his mind to make his mark in history by having his war, with little regard for the consequences. He would not have pulled the trigger, of course, if he knew for sure that Saddam would accept retirement at a villa in France or Lower Slobovia. But the rest of the diplomatic dance with the United Nations was only an irritation to the warhawks, as is now clearer than ever.
If you had been following my website these past few years, Senator, you would have known that I was throughout acting as devil’s advocate for Iraq. I did so inasmuch as I saw that no politician and no journalist was willing to risk his/her career on such an endeavor. It was through my contacts with the Iraqi government via the United Nations Mission in NYC and Ambassador Mohammed Al-douri that I knew Saddam was willing to do anything but commit suicide to avoid war. At every step of the way, I let the Bush administration know what I was doing, with dozens upon dozens of e-mails to Karl Rove on every contact I had with the regime. If you go through my archives on this website, you will find many of them, as I made no secret of what I was doing.
The last of these before the President pulled the trigger was on March 19, when I sent Rove this memo on the margin about an op-ed editorial I had helped the Iraqi ambassador to the UN write for the New York Times. The Times op-ed editor, David Shipley, rejected the op-ed on the grounds that it was too late to matter. It was clear to the Times that no last minute accommodation by Baghdad would avert the pre-emptive war we saw unfold in the days that followed. Did Rove read my missives?: Yes. Here is the memo and the op-ed that never made it into the public prints, except at this website:
Ten Points by Iraq
Memo To: Karl Rove, presidential advisor, March 19, 2003
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Aldouri op-ed
As you may know, Karl, I alerted the White House [you] yesterday that the New York Times was seriously considering an op-ed for today that had been submitted Monday by Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations. I’d urged Aldouri to write his thoughts at the 11th hour, with war imminent, hoping for a miracle that could avert war. The Times has advised that it could not run the article because it believed that time had run out, which seems to be the case. Nevertheless, for the record, I think it worthwhile that the points Aldouri made be published and circulated on the internet. It’s a crying shame the President would not see fit to give the UN the little time it asked to complete its inspection program. But I pray to God he turns out to be successful.
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Ten Points on Iraq
By Mohammed Aldouri
1. President Bush may have believed last October when he agreed to take the issue to the UN that Iraq would not cooperate, but it should now be clear to all Americans that my government has bent over backwards to give the weapons inspectors everything they have asked for. At this moment we await the final demands of the UN weapons inspectors and will make every effort to satisfy those demands.
2. My government and the majority the world’s governments did not reject the thrust of the resolution put forward by Britain and the United States because it would test our willingness to disarm by a certain date. We will meet any realizable tests or benchmarks put forward by the Security Council to satisfy the world that we have been fully disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. We simply worried that one or more nations could interpret the wording of the resolution as an automatic authorization for the use of force even though serious progress was being made on the tests.
3. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said he wants to see my government make a strategic decision to disarm. I believe that decision was made a long time ago, which is why there is so little left to ask of us today. I told the UN Security Council last month of the Arab saying, ‘You cannot give with an empty hand.' We have no weapons of mass destruction.... and are doing everything we can to prove that to the weapons inspectors.
4. It is still my hope there will be no war with Iraq. President Bush set out as his objective to disarm Iraq through diplomatic means... backed by the threat of force if my government did not fully cooperate. The United Nations Security Council by a unanimous vote told my government in Resolution #1441 that there would be serious consequences if we did not disarm... and now the Security Council sees clearly that we have done so.
5. Iraq is now no threat to any of the rest of the family of nations. We are no threat to Kuwait and no threat to Israel and certainly no threat to the people of the United States. The only weapons we possess are those the United Nations permits us to have to defend ourselves against those who would come to kill us. And if any nation or coalition of nations comes to kill the people of Iraq, the people will of course defend themselves against the aggressors.
6. The United States and United Kingdom said repeatedly that they had intelligence which would lead the inspectors to a smoking gun... evidence that my government was working on weapons of mass destruction even as we have insisted all such weapons programs have been destroyed in accordance with the original UN resolutions. The CIA has now said all such evidence has been made available to the weapons inspectors and the inspectors have said no weapons programs have been found.
7. My government has acknowledged that we did have weapons of mass destruction at one time, when we were locked in combat with Iran. We have acknowledged using chemical weapons against the Iranian army just as the Iranian army used chemical weapons against our country. We reject the assertions by President Bush that we ever used such weapons against Iraqi citizens and note that U.S. intelligence agencies to this day agree that the only Iraqi civilians who died of such weapons during the war with Iran were caught between the two armies engaged in battle.
8. Once UNMOVIC and the IAEA can report to the Security Council that their work has been finished and verify that Iraq is completely free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has further assured these agencies that no attempts will be made in the future to reconstitute such programs and that the new inspection protocols will guarantee the UN of that fact through the ongoing monitoring system.
9. War is the failure of diplomacy. There are those who believe diplomacy has failed because it has not produced a UN resolution authorizing war. It is quite the opposite. The UNSC voted 15-to-0 last fall authorizing a diplomatic effort to produce the complete disarmament of Iraq, and that diplomatic effort has succeeded beyond all expectations, including my own. As so many members of the Security Council have said in recent days, the process has proved the viability of the United Nations in solving difficult problems of this kind with diplomacy backed with the credible threat of force.
10. I am personally proud of the way my government has conducted itself in these past months... and proud of the way my fellow citizens of Iraq have conducted themselves. At first, I must say, I worried that the belligerence from the United States would be met by belligerence by my government, but in his wisdom, my President, Saddam Hussein, saw that in as much as we had nothing to hide, we would open our doors and let the whole world look wherever it wished, and that war could then not be justified. This is why I still believe war can be averted at the last minute.
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Mr. Aldouri is Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations