a Comparison in Quotations of the Policies and Politics
of the Founding Fathers and George W. Bush


    1. Project for a New American Century -- 1997 Statement of Principles

    2. Project for a New American Century -- 1998 Letter to President Clinton

    3. Project for a New American Century -- 2001 Letter to President Bush

    4. Thoughts On Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine

    5. Glove Box Peek at Bush’s Middle East Roadmap to Peace

    6. John Yoo Opinion on Presidential Powers

    7. Secret Downing Street Memo


    1997 Statement of Principles

    June 3, 1997

    American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

    We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

    As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

    We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

    We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

    Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

    Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

    • we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

    • we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

    • we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

    • we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

    Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

    Elliott Abrams Gary Bauer William J. Bennett Jeb Bush Dick Cheney Eliot A. Cohen Midge Decter Paula Dobriansky Steve Forbes Aaron Friedberg Francis Fukuyama Frank Gaffney Fred C. Ikle Donald Kagan

    Zalmay Khalilzad I. Lewis Libby Norman Podhoretz Dan Quayle

    Peter W. Rodman Stephen P. Rosen Henry S. Rowen

    Donald Rumsfeld Vin Weber George Weigel Paul Wolfowitz

    [Signers in bold type were all to later hold positions in George W. Bush’s Administration.]


    1998 Letter to Bill Clinton

    January 26, 1998

    The Honorable William J. Clinton

    President of the United States

    Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. President:

    We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

    The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

    Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

    Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

    We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

    We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.


    Elliott Abrams Richard L. Armitage William J. Bennett Jeffrey Bergner John Bolton Paula Dobriansky Francis Fukuyama Robert Kagan

    Zalmay Khalilzad William Kristol Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman

    Donald Rumsfeld William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber Paul Wolfowitz

    R. James Woolsey Robert B. Zoellick

    [The signatories in bold type were all to later hold positions in George W. Bush’s Administration.]


    2001 Letter to President George W. Bush

    September 20, 2001

    The Honorable George W. Bush

    President of the United States

    Washington, DC

    Dear Mr. President,

    We write to endorse your admirable commitment to “lead the world to victory” in the war against terrorism. We fully support your call for “a broad and sustained campaign” against the “terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them.” We agree with Secretary of State Powell that the United States must find and punish the perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11, and we must, as he said, “go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world” and “get it by its branch and root.” We agree with the Secretary of State that U.S. policy must aim not only at finding the people responsible for this incident, but must also target those “other groups out there that mean us no good” and “that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies.”

    In order to carry out this “first war of the 21st century” successfully, and in order, as you have said, to do future “generations a favor by coming together and whipping terrorism,” we believe the following steps are necessary parts of a comprehensive strategy.

    Osama bin Laden

    We agree that a key goal, but by no means the only goal, of the current war on terrorism should be to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and to destroy his network of associates. To this end, we support the necessary military action in Afghanistan and the provision of substantial financial and military assistance to the anti-Taliban forces in that country.


    We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism. The United States must therefore provide full military and financial support to the Iraqi opposition. American military force should be used to provide a “safe zone” in Iraq from which the opposition can operate. And American forces must be prepared to back up our commitment to the Iraqi opposition by all necessary means.


    Hezbollah is one of the leading terrorist organizations in the world. It is suspected of having been involved in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Africa, and implicated in the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Hezbollah clearly falls in the category cited by Secretary Powell of groups “that mean us no good” and “that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies.” Therefore, any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah. We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.

    Israel and the Palestinian Authority

    Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East. The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism. We should insist that the Palestinian Authority put a stop to terrorism emanating from territories under its control and imprison those planning terrorist attacks against Israel. Until the Palestinian Authority moves against terror, the United States should provide it no further assistance.

    Defense Budget

    A serious and victorious war on terrorism will require a large increase in defense spending. Fighting this war may well require the United States to engage a well-armed foe, and will also require that we remain capable of defending our interests elsewhere in the world. We urge that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.

    There is, of course, much more that will have to be done. Diplomatic efforts will be required to enlist other nations’ aid in this war on terrorism. Economic and financial tools at our disposal will have to be used. There are other actions of a military nature that may well be needed. However, in our judgment the steps outlined above constitute the minimum necessary if this war is to be fought effectively and brought to a successful conclusion. Our purpose in writing is to assure you of our support as you do what must be done to lead the nation to victory in this fight.


    William Kristol Richard V. Allen Gary Bauer Jeffrey Bell William J. Bennett

    Rudy Boshwitz Jeffrey Bergner Eliot Cohen Seth Cropsey Midge Decter Thomas Donnelly Nicholas Eberstadt Hillel Fradkin Aaron Friedberg

    Francis Fukuyama Frank Gaffney Jeffrey Gedmin Reuel Marc Gerecht Charles Hill Bruce P. Jackson Eli S. Jacobs Michael Joyce Donald Kagan

    Robert Kagan Jeane Kirkpatrick Charles Krauthammer John Lehman

    Clifford May Martin Peretz Richard Perle Norman Podhoretz Stephen P. Rosen Randy Scheunemann Gary Schmitt William Schneider, Jr. Richard H. Shultz Henry Sokolski Stephen J. Solarz Vin Weber Leon Wieseltier Marshall Wittmann


    In "The One Percent Doctrine," Ron Suskind writes that Vice President Dick Cheney propounded that the war on terror empowered the Bush administration to act without the need for evidence or extensive analysis. Suskind describes the Cheney doctrine: "Even if there's just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It's not about 'our analysis,' as Cheney said. It's about 'our response.' . . . Justified or not, fact-based or not, 'our response' is what matters. As to 'evidence,' the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn't apply."

    DICK CHENEY: “We have to deal with this new type of threat in a way we haven’t yet defined. . . . With a low-probability, high-impact event like this. . . . If there’s a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certain in terms of our response.”

    ---Ron Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine

    Interestingly, the Bush administration did not regard pre-Katrina warnings as sufficiently “high-impact” to fix the levees and prepare a workable response. Nor has the Bush administration found the impressive array of scientific predictions for global climate change to be sufficiently “high-impact” to sign the Kyoto Treaty, let alone assume a role of world leadership. Nor has the world’s AIDS epidemic, shrinking supply of potable water, ocean pollution and species extinction risen to a level of “high-impact” sufficient to elicit any more than a peep response.

    Why hasn’t the administration applied the “low-probability, high-impact” model to chemical spills as well as to chemical weapons, to nuclear power plants as well as to nuclear weapons? Or weren’t Bhopal and Chernobyl quite up to “high-impact” threats?

    In certain situations, Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine is not at all new. We legislate safety standards in the building of bridges, houses, automobiles, etc. When it comes to our health, we take all kinds of measures against “low-probability, high-impact” events. We vaccinate ourselves and our children against small pox, rubella, and polio. We spray low-level toxins to kill mosquitoes to protect ourselves against the possibility of malaria and West Nile virus. We build to withstand earthquakes and tornados, and (sometimes) evacuate cities in advance of hurricanes and floods.

    Please note, however, that in all of these cases, while our responses may be significant, the risk of personal injury and to human rights is low. We do not execute suspects of capital crimes on a one percent chance that they may be guilty. Our system of law is built upon “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” not upon some outlandish and inhuman “cost/risk” analysis.

    In international affairs, what makes Cheney’s doctrine such anathema to the principles of our founders (and “freedom-loving people” everywhere) is that, with his plan, the low-probability, high-impact risk of a few are exchanged for an absolute high-impact result upon many others, even when there is a near-certain chance of their innocence.

    Could there be a better definition of “war crime” or “tyrannical power” than the killing of thousands of innocent people on a one percent pang of what some unelected government theoretically might or might not do? Or sweeping up “suspects” and holding them incommunicado for indeterminate sentences without charge, hearing or council while subjecting them to “stress and duress” until some undefined objective of their captors has been achieved?

    Or “rendering” them for “more intense Interrogation” to secret facilities in unnamed ”freedom-loving” countries? And what do those so-called allies of ours expect in return for our purchase of their thuggishness? More of the weapons of mass destruction we claim to be so terrorized by, or merely continued support of their “democratic” methods?

    Forget about the Geneva Convention, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta: the One Percent Doctrine renders them all obsolete.

    Nor is Cheney’s Doctrine based on scientific theory, or even fuzzy math. It is simply the lowest common denominator of our basest emotions multiplied by the Machiavellian calculations of a cynical autocrat, using twisted logic to exponentially expand hegemonic power. And the result is perfectly clear. For the world’s sole superpower to pursue such brutal stupidity is an unmitigated one hundred percent disaster, not only for the American people but for the planet.

    In Iraq, for instance, is it any wonder that the loved ones of the 99% innocent victims (as many as 650,000 so far) do not welcome us as heroes and liberators? That they do not see our bombing missions as messages of good will but as the cutting edge of crusaders and oil-ravenous apostates?

    What is the one percent or greater chance that instead of producing gratitude and peace, such a malevolent policy might create chaotic insurgence and cycles of revenge?

    What is the one percent or greater chance that seeing U.S. bases in the middle of war-ravaged Baghdad will further alarm neighboring Iran and Syria into serious war preparations? And heighten hatred toward Israel throughout the Middle East, and Israel’s hair-trigger fears---on a roadmap not to peace but to perdition?

    What is the one percent or greater chance that this policy will spread fear and distrust of the U.S. throughout the world, furthering conflict, violent posturing and power-grabbing in every tense region---further dividing the U.S. and the world into camps of suspicion, battle preparation and irrational action?

    If our One Percent Doctrine did result in any such “high-impact responses,” what are the percentages of this spiraling paranoia leading to: Increased Militarism? Fascism? World War III? Nuclear War? One hundred percent The End?

    Or doesn’t Mr. Cheney’s calculator go that far?


    Israel-Palestianians 2000 --- Relatively stable, inching toward Palestinian State and possible comprehensive peace agreement.

    Israel-Palestianians 2006 --- After six years of Bush’s “Roadmap to Peace” Diplomacy: bottomless quagmire on both sides; Berlin-style wall dividing two peoples; Hamas in power; devastation in Gaza; increasing possibility of Palestinian civil war; wider than ever international condemnation of Israeli repression; no peace agreement or Palestinian State any longer under discussion.

    Afghanistan 2000 --- Poverty stricken, war decimated country; major opium producer; under repressive thumbs Taliban and tribal war lords; Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda encamped within.

    Afghanistan 2006 --- After five years of Bush’s “Enduring Freedom” and Diplomacy: more war-decimated, more poverty stricken; world’s largest opium producer; under repressive thumbs of Taliban, tribal warlords and U.S.-led coalition, coalition militaries, puppet U.S. government; Osama Bin Laden ???; incipient civil war; $90 billion spent; 431 coalition dead (as of 8/1/06); over 850 wounded; Afghan dead and wounded uncounted.

    Iraq 2000 --- Under thumb of Saddam Hussein; war ravaged and embargo- impoverished after aggression in Kuwait; chastened, bombed, largely disarmed by US and UN; oil production in Saddam’s hands.

    Iraq 2006 -- After five years of Bush importation of “democracy”: ongoing civil war, 2900+ U.S. dead, 45,000+ maimed; $.4 trillion spent; fewer schools open, less electricity, worse women’s rights; worse water and air pollution; no WMDs found; oil production under U.S. control; Iraqi dead uncounted (conservatively in tens of thousands), prospects catastrophic.

    Lebanon 2000 --- In slow economic recovery; returning as tourist destination; politically unstable, especially on southern Israeli border.

    Lebanon 2006 --- After one month of Bush/Israeli “diplomacy”: wide devastation; hundreds of thousands of refugees; democratic government teetering; south under occupation; uncountable (a million?) unexploded cluster bomblets on southern farmlands; Hezbollah and anti-American/anti-Israeli attitudes dangerously emboldened and inflamed.


    September 14, 2001

    John Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Bush Department of Justice, wrote defining opinions and rationalizations for Bush’s claim to unlimited Presidential Power.

    On September 14, 2001 (three days after the 9/11 attacks), when Congress complied with President Bush’s request for passage of S. J. RES. 23 JOINT RESOLUTION -- “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States” -- John Yoo already had the following opinion prepared:

    The President's Constitutional Authority To Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists And Nations Supporting Them

    “The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001. [emphasis added]

    The Joint Resolution that Yoo references above unambiguously states in Section 2b (2): “Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.”

    The War Powers Resolution (of 1973), passed near the end of the Vietnam War to rein in Presidential war powers and prevent recurrence of future quagmires like Vietnam, requires:

    “the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities, as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities;” (Sec. 3)

    “and to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities if Congress has not declared war or passed a resolution authorizing the use of force within 60 days.”

    (Sec. 5(b)

    Thus is John Yoo’s Opinion self-contradictory because (as representing George W. Bush’s Justice Department) it is itself already in violation of both the “Joint Resolution” and the “War Powers Resolution” inasmuch as it presumes to grant the President broader war powers in the name of the very Congressional resolutions that disallow them.

    JOHN YOO: “The President has the constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations. Finally, the President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organization or the states that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11 . . .

    “Other scholars . . . have argued that the President has the constitutional authority to initiate military hostilities without prior congressional authorization.

    [. . .]

    “In the exercise of his plenary power to use military force, the President's decisions are for him alone and are unreviewable. . . .

    “We conclude that the Constitution vests the President with the plenary authority, as commander and Chief and the sole organ of the nation in its foreign affairs, to use military force abroad. . . .

    “These powers give the President broad constitutional authority to use military force in response to threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. . . .

    “In both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution, Congress has recognized the President's authority to use force in circumstances such as those created by the September 11 incidents. Neither statute, however, can place any limits on the President's determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing, and nature of the response. These decisions, under our Constitution, are for the President alone to make.” [emphasis added]

    ---JOHN C. YOO, Deputy Assistant Attorney General

    Office of Legal Counsel, September 25, 2001

    7. Secret Downing Street Memo

    The Sunday Times May 01, 2005

    The secret Downing Street memo



    From: Matthew Rycroft

    Date: 23 July 2002

    S 195 /02

    cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


    Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

    “This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

    “John Scarlett summarized the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

    “C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

    “CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

    “The two broad US options were:

    “(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

    “(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

    “The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

    “(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

    “(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

    “(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

    “The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

    “The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

    “The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

    “The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

    “On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

    “For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

    “The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

    “John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

    “The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


    “(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

    “(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

    “(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

    “(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

    “He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

    “(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

    “(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

    “(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)”


    [Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide]


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