Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Dreamers and Idiots: Britain and the US Did Everything to Avoid a Peaceful Solution in Iraq and Afghanistan: "Even if all the claims Bush and Blair made about their enemies and their motives had been true, and all their objectives had been legal and just, there may still have been no need to go to war. For, as we discovered last week, Saddam proposed to give Bush and Blair almost everything they wanted before a shot had been fired. Our governments appear both to have withheld this information from the public and to have lied to us about the possibilities for diplomacy."

"Over the four months before the coalition forces invaded Iraq, Saddam's government made a series of increasingly desperate offers to the United States. In December, the Iraqi intelligence services approached Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA's former head of counter-terrorism, with an offer to prove that Iraq was not linked to the September 11 attacks, and to permit several thousand US troops to enter the country to look for weapons of mass destruction. If the object was regime change, then Saddam, the agents claimed, was prepared to submit himself to internationally monitored elections within two years. According to Mr Cannistraro, these proposals reached the White House, but were "turned down by the president and vice-president".

"By February, Saddam's negotiators were offering almost everything the US government could wish for: free access to the FBI to look for weapons of mass destruction wherever it wanted, support for the US position on Israel and Palestine, even rights over Iraq's oil. Among the people they contacted was Richard Perle, the security adviser who for years had been urging a war with Iraq. He passed their offers to the CIA. Last week he told the New York Times that the CIA had replied: "Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad".

"Saddam Hussein, in other words, appears to have done everything possible to find a diplomatic alternative to the impending war, and the US government appears to have done everything necessary to prevent one. This is the opposite to what we were told by George Bush and Tony Blair. On March 6, 13 days before the war began, Bush said to journalists: "I want to remind you that it's his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace. Thus far, he's made the wrong choice."

"Ten days later, Blair told a press conference: "We have provided the right diplomatic way through this, which is to lay down a clear ultimatum to Saddam: cooperate or face disarmament by force... all the way through we have tried to provide a diplomatic solution." On March 17, Bush claimed that "should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war". All these statements are false."

What a bare-faced liar this Blair character is, unless these diplomatic initiatives were kept concealed from the tool by the US. Was John Howard informed of these initiatives? If not, why not?

"The same thing happened before the war with Afghanistan. On September 20 2001, the Taliban offered to hand Osama bin Laden to a neutral Islamic country for trial if the US presented them with evidence that he was responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. The US rejected the offer. On October 1, six days before the bombing began, they repeated it, and their representative in Pakistan told reporters: "We are ready for negotiations. It is up to the other side to agree or not. Only negotiation will solve our problems." Bush was asked about this offer at a press conference the following day. He replied: "There's no negotiations. There's no calendar. We'll act on [sic] our time."

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