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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 26, 2009 4:00pm-5:15pm EST

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kind of motivational speech to the minister of defense on how you handle diversity in the armed forces. and this had gone down a storm. and in the margins of that event, he and robin cook met in a london hotel and had a very good conversation. i remember powell coming back and sailing, that robin cook, i know i can do business with him. this is a good, good guy. . .
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maybe i'm anticipating a question, in which case i apologize, but to understand the context, it has to be emphasized that the regime change in iraq was from united states policy, and went back to the iraq unification act of 1998, when the bill was passed unanimously by the senate, passed overwhelmingly by the house of representatives, signed into law by bill clinton in october of 1998. so regime change, and to quote the act, to establish a program
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toward democracy and iraq, was an official american policy which george bush inherited from bill clinton. he was a little bit knocked about by monica lewinsky and the impeachment business, but that was the policy that george bush inherited. sometimes people say to me, well, it was the administration with right-wingers. absolutely wrong. it was inherited from the democratic administration, as were a number of other policies as well. >> this time you are stressing that regime change was using the iraqi policy. where there groups who said actual military force was being discussed? >> i think so. it was not actually discussed as
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such, but it is very hard to judge. paul wolfowitz, the defense secretary, who was the leading neo-con in the u.s. administration, very fluent in the intelligence, very affluent in the world and where america should deploy her power, and i remember him saying that when i first arrived in washington, he said, what we should do is we should invade southern iraq, seize the oil fields, base ourselves in bosworth, and from there launch raids against saddam hussein and little by little we will bring the regina down. -- will bring the regime down.
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that was the extreme fringe. but that as a policy between inauguration day and 9/11, i do not think it ever got into the mainstream of the u.s. administration debate. it continued to focus on at narrowing and deepening sanctions and what could we do about the taliban. >> when you were preparing for the visit of our prime minister to camp david to see president bush in february, what briefing were you given in regard to the dynamic within the administration from the sanctions supporters to the wild men, if you like? >> camp david was february 22- 24. iraq was not dramatically on their agenda. one of the best things ever, a
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fantastic job assembling this, i have not been able to find to refresh my memory the four or five telegrams that i sent from the inaugural visit to refresh my memory of the wisdom or otherwise of this. but before the meetings, this is what diplomats do, rice and i decided to clear away as much of the foreign policy as possible in advance so that the president and the prime minister could concentrate on creating a strong personal relationship. condoleezza rice said to me, the main purpose of this meeting is bonding. it we want the president and prime minister to bond well, because she was saying at the time that the united kingdom, they were at the united states most important friend and ally
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and it was important to get along. so the two foreign policy issues at that moment that or at the top of the agenda were at north korea and the anti-nuclear missile defense, that was their concern, and we and our part were developing the initiative between france and the united kingdom on building up european defense. so we on the british side had enormous concern -- and this was also inherited from bill clinton, the notion of a nuclear missile defense. it does not spring from lloyd's of george w. bush. we were very worried that if the americans went gung-ho with the treaty and started dismantling some of the kyoto peace accord,
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this could unravel the relationship with russia and have all kinds of repercussions. then there was the anxiety that in developing the european defense initiative with the french that we had been seduced in some way by an incredibly fronting -- incredibly cunning friend that would run into a trap of undermining nato. we came up with a joint draft declaration to put these anxieties to bed, and that was finalized at camp david by the foreign policy adviser and by a rice herself. this was the top of the treaty. one of the things i would say, if i remember correctly from one of the briefings, this is something we need it to do to diffuse -- to defuse this well
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in advance. otherwise, the kinds of things that we need to talk about are the middle east, the middle east much more than an iraq at the time. >> sanctions were on the agenda, but not something that -- >> no, it was not a huge item. it was a long discussion of russia. at the time, i think tony blair was the european leader who think had the most face time with putin. bush was very keen to download his assessment of putin. we spent a long time on that. iraq came up at the beginning, really, almost to be dismissed. the final problem was that colin
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powell was at camp david and had to go, and as soon as the prime minister and the president sat down for lunch and had it five minutes between them, the president immediately asked tony his assessment, where things were in the region, and what we needed to do about iraq. the rest of the agenda did not come back at that particular summit. >> you mentioned bonding, and that is an important question. how would you characterize the impression made at that camp david summit by each of the leaders on each other? then, looking forward with your experience, meeting with the general, how did they relate to each other? particularly with regard to iraq and the middle east policy? >> the massive anxiety that i
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had was after the extraordinary close relationship between george w. -- sorry, between tony blair and bill clinton, that changing gears to a republican administration with george w., in particular, would be very difficult and that the american relationship may suffer as a result. so the bonding business was terribly important. the americans themselves i think recognize this. i was actually quite anxious about it. i have asked after the american election finally became clear, after the supreme court had its verdict, i asked rove and rice separately, it is it a fact that tony blair had an enormously close relationship with the democratic president, would be a problem for us? in each case, the similar answer
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was basically, it is a good thing for the world that britain and america are good. that is not a problem for us. as for the future, it is by your work shell ye -- shall ye be known. we're starting with a blank sheet of paper. i recall it asçó such an emblematic moment, sitting face- to-face at the lunch table at camp david, very informal, and there was a minimum of ceremony. a minimum. the president said, hello, tony. may i call you tony? he says, hello, george, may i call you george? what are we going to talk about? he sort of sensed as the time
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developed that would ever happened in policy, whatever substantial issues to challenge them, that these men were going to get on. that is exactly what happened. they had a very good weekend together. the best conference was probably when they had the colgate moment, which you may remember, the press conference that did not do justice to the nature of the relationship, which was promising. as we look at what happened from that moment until june of that year, they met at various international meetings from time to time, my memory is a little
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confused, but i remember them saying the president just got back and the only person he talked to was tony. it was a slow leak warming relationship all through -- it was a slowly warming relationship all through that era. >> i just have to more questions. during that time, focusing on iraq, where their members of the administration that you were talking to at that time who were beginning to contemplate removing saddam hussein with force? >> i did not see that emerging from the interagency policy at all. every now and then, one would say, either price or colin powell, that would say how is iraq going? ñithey were still talking about it. it was not going anywhere.
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frankly, you look at the time, particularly after summer break, early september, it looked like the bush and administration as a whole was not going anywhere. it lost a sense of direction very rapidly. i remember sending a telegram on the 10th of september, i think we were about to have a visit from john. scott, and this was a briefing to him, to say this is an administration that seems to be running out of steam, losing a sense of direction. >> you write these generally on a whole range of policy? >> sorry, i am compressing things. what happen domestically was an immense political effort. bush put most of his political capital on those months in
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getting a big tax cut through congress and getting benefits and prescription medicine for senior citizens. but they were pyrrhic victories. come september, 2001, before 9/11, everybody was saying that it was killed. rumsfeld, there was a huge bear market, and rumsfeld, he was not seem to be reorganizing the department of defense, he was lost in details, so the story went. there was a big bear market with colin powell narrowing and deepening what he was doing in the middle east, and there was a cataclysmic market because the secretary was about to be dismissed. on the very eve of the great atrocity, it looked like an
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administration that got into trouble very quickly. >> and iraq did not figure into this much if at all? ñi>> not very much. >> i would like very much to know your view, your perception of what was happening in iraq and the no-fly zone and the subsequent developments. sticking to the iraq policy, what you saw? >> yes, i completely forgot the no-fly zone. the no-fly zone had been a problem under the clinton administration. people started getting anxious about two things. one was, does a plane actually get shot down, what do you do? what reaction is there, what reaction did you come up with?
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also, the worry about the legality. typically, the law appeared be on the americans' side. if i remember rightly, this anxiety about how long we could sustain it no-fly zones and stay within the law was a rising concern throughout 2000. but if your question is, what do the americans think of themselves if an airplane is shot down, we will invade and overthrow saddam hussein, it was not in their category, it was not in theñi context we were talking about. >> would there be retaliation? >> if they shot down one of our planes, it could happen. we had worries, not only about the no-fly zones themselves and
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the legitimacy of aircraft overflying, but we were very much concerned by the proportionality, and the legal sense of the word, of any retaliation. >> so a restraining from the legal crisis? >> i suppose so, but we were never put to the test. thank god it never happened. >> i suppose the real question is,ñr at what point after 9/11 o the policy specifically toward iraq change and sharpened? >> again, i cannot find any record of this in the archives. on 9/11 itself, in the course of the day, i had a telephone conversation with rice. and condolences, anything we can
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do to help, who do you think did it. she said, there is no doubt this was an al qaeda operation. the end of the conversation was we were looking to see if there was any connection with saddam hussein. that was the very first time on that day itself that i heard the name of the iraqi leader mentioned in the context of 9/11. as has been recorded by multiple sources, most of them american, that little reference to saddam hussein in that conversation, by the following weekend, turned into a big debate at camp david between president bush and his principal advisers. the big thing about iraq, and i briefed various contacts in the story varied with who you talk
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to, but it seemed that paul wolfowitz to was there, though he was not a cabinet member, defense secretary, he was there with rumsfeld, and he argued for retaliation that would include iraq. it is not clear from the record if this was supported by rumsfeld. some say he was staunchly behind it, others say he was not. but the decision taken that weekend was that the prime concern was al qaeda. it was al qaeda in afghanistan, and iraq, whatever the policy would be, had to be set aside for the time being.
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that is i believe would tony blair was told when he arrived a few days later for a meeting with the president. blair was extremely concerned that the reaction to al qaeda, anything against al qaeda, would become dissipated by looking at iraq at the same time. he had sent bush a message, setting out what needed to be done, his views, and he argued very strongly on a focus on al qaeda in afghanistan. by the time he got to washington, he found the door case. the president had made that decision. >> we talked earlier about the relationship between the prime minister and the president, or perhaps between the prime minister and the americans generally.
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at his speech, the labor party conference in october, he spoke very strongly. he said we are with you at first, we will stay with you till last. i was wondering about the speech, what it said, what it implied, how did it affect your own work in terms of working the the administration -- of working with the administration, especially when iraq came back onto the agenda? >> in those few weeks after 9/11, tony blair's reputation in the united states of america was sealed, continues to this day. the man, above all the europeans, who came first out of the slip and to express his sympathy for, support for the united states of america it in its time of need, with unparalleled eloquence.
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that speech in that particular phrase that you just quoted resonated enormously around the united states. it was whether it was that or the coldstream guards changing of the guard planned the stars and stripes, which condi rice said made her write down and cry. so the ambassador of the united states of america, in the slipstream of his staff, was, i make no bones about it, a heady and exhilarating experience. people would rise to your feet and give you a storming round of applause. you have to be careful not to be swept into that. >> what was your perspective on
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the relationship of the other figures in britain, the minister of defense, the prime minister's office, and their american opposites in the aftermath of 9/11? did they have the knowledge needed of american policy to influence it, again, it essentially when iraq emerged? >> well, we were sending an enormous amount of the device back to london on how the situation was moving and what we thought were the important issues and the different positions, the different bits of the administration. because even in the time leading up to 9/11, it became plain -- i am not sure if this is to your point, but i will say it anyway,
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it had already become plain that there was a potential problem between colin powell on the one side and the vice president, dick cheney, and the defense secretary donald rumsfeld on the other. and this became on iraq policy and even bigger policy the fault line that ran through the administration, the fault line that was never recovered and opened even wider as the time went by. one of our principal purposes, even if we did not deal directly with foreign policy, was to say, in the state department, remember, a lot of people around the administration are his
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political enemies, and that begs the question about what is condoleezza rice in all of this? i think if you plot a graft through the months and years after the iraq war, you have to say that she was more in the camp of colin powell's enemies, although she actually did not see her role of banging heads together. she chaired the meetings of the principal committees. one of the complaints from a lot of people was the agenda was not reaching a proper conclusion because it was impossible to reconcile the views of the big beasts on the agenda. have i answered your question? >> you have. really, what i want to know now,
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what was your brief including with regard to this fall on an american policy, and how did you feel that could influence it? >> if you were talking about powell, rice, cheney, and rumsfeld, there were very few ministers who came over who actually merit that access. by definition, that includes the president as well, the foreign secretary. he always got in to see cheney, but did not actually always good to see rumsfeld. -- did not actually go to see rumsfeld. what i would actually say to the minister's on whatever aspect of iraq policy, if the state department is on board, you have to argue very fiercely with the
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vice-president office and if they want to see rumsfeld, with his office, and also with condoleezza rice how one port in these matters are. the one thing that ran all through 2002 was if it came to war in iraq, we would all be in much better shape for the war itself and the aftermath if it is done within the framework of an international coalition, blessed by the administration. with the vice-president and rumsfeld, andñi up to a point wh condoleezza rice. >> that brings me over to my last question, and brings me to crawford, april, 2002. what i would like to ask you is this -- what extent did american and british policy forces merge
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in 2002 along the lines that you suggested during that weekend at the crawford ranch? in particular, bush's commitment at that time to follow the u.n. inspectors route and also by constructing an international coalition, which was the prime minister's strong input? how do you feel about that converging policy at the time? >> if we're talking about americans, the president accepting for real politic reasons that it would be better to go through the united nations, which was a repudiation where the vice president stood, it took a while. i sent in my briefings to them, to tony blair, before crawford, which i could not get a hold of in the archive, a said, by that
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time, it had been a couple of months, three months, in which contingency discussion of if it came to war in iraq, how would we do it. it was all very, very embryonic. of course, regime change was a form of policy of the united states of america, and that did not necessarily mean it armed invasion at that time of iraq. it may sound like a distinction without a difference, but it was not at the time. as i remember, i said to tony blair, there are three things you really need to focus on when you get to crawford. one is how to garner international support for a policy of ritchie in change, if that is what it turns out to be -- for a policy of regime change, if that is what it turns out to be.
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if it is removing saddam hussein, how do you do this. and the last thing i said, which became kind of a theme of up virtually all the reporting and sent back to london that year, was, above all, and i think i use that phrase, "of all," get them to focus on the aftermath. because of it comes to war, what is next? and the other thing at that time, which people tend to forget, actually what was blazing hot at the time, far more immediate problem, it was not iraq, it was the middle east. hideous things were going on it on the west bank, the israeli army was on the west bank, and we had prevailed upon the americans as one of the influences working there to put out a really tough statement before tony blair arrived in crawford, telling the israelis
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that they needed to withdraw from the west bank and soon. now, but maybe quite frank about this, crawford was a meeting at the president's ranch. i took no part in any of the discussions, and there was a large chunk of that time when no adviser was there. when david comes in, he will tell you. he went there for a discussion about israel. itñi was at that meeting that it was a joint decision between bush and belair that colin powell should go to the region and sorted out. i believe after that, the two men worked at the ranch until dinner where all the advisers turned up. i am not entirely clear to this day, to this day i am not
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entirely clear what degree of convergence was it, if you like, signed in blood at the crawford ranch. that includes the speech that tony blair gave the next day at college station, one of his best foreign policy speeches, a very fine piece of work. >> is there a sense in that speech between potential preemption and the wind rolling in iraq? -- and the united nations ruling in iraq? >> i think there was a lot of interest in the speech. we came from a logical analysis. to the best of my knowledge, i may be wrong, this was the first time tony blair had said in public, "regime change." and it's not only deal with
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iraq, they dealt with other international issues as well, but to draw lessons of 9/11 and apply them to the situation in iraq, we are committed to inflation -- to inflation of osama bin laden and saddam hussein. it also drew on the 1999 chicago speech on policy intervention. when i heard that speech, i thought, it represents a tightening of the u.k.-u.s. alliance, and the degree of convergence on the danger that saddam hussein presented. compare and contrast with that
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subject of discussion yesterday, which came up, what you had in that speech at college station was a rather sophisticated argument which said, which was preemption, which said that saddam is too dangerous, his record is too bad. the potential threat he presents cannot be ignored. i think doing nothing is not an option, was the phrase in the speech, and so we have to do something about it. it was a good speech. ñibut it's sort of lost influene as the months went by. >> thank you very much. i>> i would like to come back to crawford, butñi before i doñi si would like to go to the point that you made now. talking about the summer of 2000, when you said that the
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anywhere, and the timing of the administration at the time was not going anywhere, that was a time in which britain and the that the state's tried it and at the time did not succeed to get a smart sanctionsçó resolution through the u.n. security council. the efforts at that stage failed in july of that year. ñiindeed, the indication in your ñiremarks that this wasi not rey a serious exercise from the point of view of the u.s. administration? >> i think it was a serious exercise. i think it was a very serious exercise. i know that colin powell took this extremely seriously. ñihe put a vast amount of energy into it. one of the reasons people were speculating in september was because he had expanded so much energy and came back with virtually nothing.
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i would not say that american efforts in this respect or half- hearted. what day and we could not get xdaround -- what they could not aroundñi was what we wanted to t in the new security council resolution. then there were difficulties in the committee that reviewed embargo items. there was a day row about the items. -- there was a day row about items. there was also a conceptual problem with the united states, that you had to construct something which makes the sanctions smarter, threatens saddam hussein with dire consequences if he tries to subvert the sanctions or circumvent them, but also extends a light at the end of
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the tunnel if against all prognostications he became virtuous and came into the plan with new resolution. the americans were acknowledging that there would need to be some kind of incentive to use a bomb in a resolution -- it would have to be some kind of incentive to saddam hussein if he came to a resolution. i>> did colin powell have the full backing of the white house? >> i do not think there were very interested. condi race was a very diligent person and i think she was briefed by colin, but it was clearly colin powell postgame. here is the ball, run with it. see how far you get with it. >> the other game was regime
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change, which was established u.s. policy inherited from the clinton administration. but the key fault line was whether this was a policy that was actually going to be implemented, and how. at what point, and clearly this was after 9/11, did the most administration settle on a policy of the forcible removal of saddam hussein's regime as their primary objective? >> i think almost very -- after the shock of 9/11 had sunk in, once that anthrax scare was gone, this followed the months
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after 9/11. this was something when iñi wasn washington, i did not give enough importance to, i did not realize what impact this had on the administration, the anthrax scare, suddenly people were getting letters take it with anthrax. what we now know, and i did not realize at the time, they thought the last people to ever use anthrax aggressively was saddam hussein and his own country. anthrax letters going all over the place really spooked people. if you read a book by joshua viceberg called "the bush tragedy," this is set out in detail and it led to dick cheney suggesting that the entire population of the united states be inoculated for smallpox. to answer your question, well
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before the end of the year, those who had been arguing on the right wing that there was a need for settling accounts with saddam hussein, do it fast, it suddenly got much more traction with the president of the united states. the president himself, as commander in chief of the war against terrorism, suddenly was reinvigorated and found a real 3 purpose for his presidency, something which had not been apparent before 9/11. ñii think there was a mention in that boat where it is said it, it is almost as if people who really wanted to deal with iraq and deal with it soon would burst out of the closet, the closet door having been blown open by the shock of 9/11. everything changed after 9/11. >> certainly, by the time the
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president gave his state of the union address in january, 2002, the access of the full speech, -- the axis of evil speech, he had decided at this point that the officially mandated policy of regime change shouldñr be actively pursued. at this stage, what was the british government's policy? >> the policy was oneñr of profound legal objection to it. gene change and a belief -- legal objection to regime change, and a belief that it was not realistic to seek to overthrow saddam hussein. i say that slightly cautiously, because i remember in exchange between the british delegation
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with condoleezza rice and a visit that we've paid to washington, which we have not mentioned so far, to see members of the administration. we're talking about january, 2001, and we provided for them to meet a very wide range of people. one of those meetings was with rice and there was a brief exchange about. . i remember john sort sing, -- saying, it is not practical, something we could do. she said, hang on a minute, we should not take this option off the table. the next remark was in the context of iraqi dissident groups, it was not a land invasion or anything like that. we had a legal problem with
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regimeçó change, and at the time the british government efforts were stillxd focusedñi on this narrowing and deepening sanctions policy that was dying before our very eyes. >> that was in january 2001. in january, 2002, the british government was still trying to contain. >> the policy was not to abandon containment, but the knowledge that iraq was under active discussion in washington the way that had been the case before signal that we were picking up from our military advisers in the british embassy that the thinking was not going ahead on iraq, that rumsfeld had been tasked to think about thisñr, ad the gentleman in charge of central command was told to look at all this. that started wheels turning, i
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believe, inside that at the time we had the first meeting between the president and the prime minister, which was in april of 2002. they were not there to talk about containment or sharpening sanctions. there had been a sea change in attitudes in the u.s. administration, to which the british government progressively from october 1 was apt to adapt and make up its mind where it stood. >> so at what point between october 2002 and crawford -- sorry, october 2001 and crawford and april 2002 did your instructions change from the should be advocating containment to the british government supported regime change? >> i got a chunky set of instructions in march of 2002,
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instructions from -- from -- very good question. no. 10 downing street. by that time, the prime minister's foreign policy adviser, he was in washington on the very night before 9/11 to meet condoleezza rice and others to break himself in as the foreign minister -- foreign policy adviser. david manning came over in march of 2002 with a set of instructions to prepare the way for the prime minister meeting and crawford, which was to take place on april 6, 7, and eight. one of the main things that he was seeking to do, and this was new,ñr and i, if you like,
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borrowed his instructions to do my side of things was to say to the americans, look, if you want to do it regime change, this is going to require military action. you guys are powerful enough to do it on your own. you have the power to do it. but if you are going to do this, and you want your friends and partners to join you, it is far better than it that you should do itñi inside an alliance, preferably taking the u.m. -- the u.n. that was the single most important message delivered to the united states at that time. david manning said a number of things to condoleezza rice, spoke to her on that, and then a few days later i was responsible for dropping the second shoeñr d
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had paul wolfowitz to launch and i went through the same script with him. an account of which, highly classified, sent to three people in london and in due course went to the sunday telegraph, a photograph facsimile. wolfowitz was viscerally hostile to the united nations. i had to come up with a set of arguments because he might find just about appealing enough not to become a serious obstacle to policy that would involve theñr un >> are you effectively saying that the british government's policy was changed in washington rather than london? it was in washington that our lives had changed, not that we sat down and said this would be the correct strategy? >> i would not say that it was
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extremely who wish. one of the things you have to remember is tony blair is a true believer about the weakness of saddam hussein, and his realization of that predates by a very long time the arrival of george bush in the white house. >> the policy of the government or himself? >> can i read you something? this is a speech, just a paragraph. this is a speech that tony blair made in january, 1998. 1998, which is early. areas, prime minister for a year. "we have a clear responsibility and long-term interest of the world to stop saddam hussein from gentrifying the world's
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community. he needs to be persuaded by diplomacy or made by forced to yield out his long cherished ambition to have chemical and biological weapons, which are a danger to the middle east and a challenge on world peace. all our experience of him teaches us that it is sometimes hard to succeed within diplomacy. one thing is for sure, diplomacy has noñi chance of success at al unless he knows if he fails to listen to reason, we have the force to back it up." i never saw any evidence over the years that i was in washington that that fundamental you ever changed. i think in see things and hear things said by tony blair that reflect that exactly. i read that to try to set the context. >> effectively, he said that
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containment by the early part of 2002 was a dead duck. where did this leave the policy? did it mean that as far as the americans were concerned, it was simply now only a question of when a rather than whether military action would be taken? war was the united states administration still looking at other options? -- or was the united states administration still looking at other options? >> the way i have always tried to approach thisñi, and still gives me reason to think about this even today, is at what point was it clear that war was inevitable. ñiis that the same question? because that is a >> hard question to answer. what was inevitable -- because that is a damn hard question to answer. what was inevitable is to carry
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out the mandated policy of regime change. >> i am asking if they let themselves with any alternatives. >> to regime change? >> to taking military action to affect regime change? >> remember a discussion with condoleezza rice in november, 2002. it was a point to the passage of resolution 1441 and on december 7, saddam hussein's declaration' of weapons of mass destruction. xdi said what everyone to do, ws a possible to turn it around or not. she said to me, -- i said what are your priorities. she said the best outcome would be the pressure of course of diplomacy, plus the troop
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buildup and contingency planning led to saddam hussein's removal. either he goes in exile or he is overthrown by an internal coup. that was always an alternative running in the minds of the administration. the second worst option she said was to be constantly jerked around. so i said, war is a more in the middle between those. she said, fair and fair enough. so it was always an option. there was always the option of all the stuff that was going on that it would create reactions inside of iraq itself that would lead to saddam hussein's removal. >> let's pursuit the united nations ankle. when you had your celebrated
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luncheon with wolfowitz, he said what was needed was a clever plan which should include putting the united nations at the heart of this strategyñi it needs to demand the readmission of the u.n. weapons inspectors. if he refused, this would not only put him in the wrong but also shed light on the security council resolutions which he remained in breach of. now, perhaps i think stewart the eloquence and the british government's persuasion and also the president and colin powell, by the autumn of 2002, president bush had gone to the u.n., endorsing the strategy of going down the debt it nation's route, and this leads to the new security council resolution. was that just an exercisexd to
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wrong said on the same? >> -- to ron saddam hussein? >> it was more than that. you have to remember who i was talking to. i had to put it in those cynical terms to persuade him this was not a limited, pitiful european lack of treaty, which the europeans are frequently accused of by the americans, of actually having a plan to get the guy. up had been talking to somebody elseñi -- had i been talking to somebody else, i would said if we go to work, this thing will be incredibly perilous. what we need to do is refreshed the old security council resolution, particularly the
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resolutions six under 78 and 687, but only if we can convince the u.n. and get a security council resolution to provide that. then you no longer have to worry about regime change because you have provided saddam hussein through this security council resolution with a set of things he has to do, which if he does not do, he is wrong foot it, and then you could take action. and actually that is exactly what 1441 did. unanimously, thanks to the astonishing skill of general greene stock in new york and others, we had a resolution which puts all the onus on saddam hussein to prove his innocence.
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as i looked back on the conversation now with wolfowitz, that is what i thought we had to do, and for a moment that is what we got on november 5, 2002. it all fell apart, but that is what we got. if we were to go to war with iraq, that was the best trajectory to follow. ñinow, the british played some role in influencing george bush against the wishes of his vice- president. tony blair's pressure and others all played a part in this, and i think pressure from david manning and myself. ]=h played a part. i suspect, though, that the greater part was played by a combination in this case of condoleezza riceñi and colin powell, who in a very private supper with the president on the
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fifth of august made theçó casef taking the international route, the un that route. the president, and i heard some people say this, sometimes he is ruled by his heart, sometimes he was ruled by his head, and it would come in conflict sometimes. he wanted to just get over there and kick saddam hussein out. he realized he could not just do that. he submitted to the recommendations of the national security adviser and his secretary of state with the course of the europeans and the australians, of who tony blair was the most significant, that he would give the u.n. route a go. he told tony blair and others that is what he was going to do. but that was a start of a battle of attrition, where one
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defensive position after another directive by the vice- president office had be overcome to get resolution 1441. >>ñi at this point, even if it ñionly lasted five minutes, in november,ñiñi 2002, british and american policy have come together with support from the security council, in favor of putting this back into it. >> they had already agreed before 1441 -- >> under pressure, and the resolution that watches it. -- and the resolution watches it. were the british and american governments aiming for the same target through those inspections? you talk about this war of
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attrition in washington. were that americans aiming for regime change and the british for the disarmament of saddam hussein? >> the americans acknowledged that if saddam hussein were to have a conversion and reveal and agree to all sorts of comprehensive measures, that in effect, even with him still there, you would have had a kind of a regime change. there was an acknowledgement in london, and tony blair said this in public once, grudgingly acknowledged inside of the u.s. administration, it could be possible in reaction to this concerted pressure of the international committee, which was resolution 1441, that it would not be necessary to go to
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war. another way of putting it was if saddam hussein had been clever enough, he could've done things that would have made it impossible to go to war. . and there was no further mystery or confiscation about what he had and what he did not have. the real problem, the real problem -- the core of the problem -- x> ñ did draw, severl
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times, the attention of london. the military timetable had been decided before the u.n. inspectors went. so you found yourself in a situation in autumn of 2002 where you could not synchronize the military timetable with the inspection timetable. the american military had been given instructions -- initially, it was to be ready by january. there was a lot of confusion inside the american military establishment about the size of the force, where they should come from, do we bring the army down from germany, the turks said no. in january was never realistic. in the end, it went back to
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march. when you look at the time table for the inspections, it was impossible to see how it could bring the inspection process to a conclusion, for better or worse, by march. the result of that was to turn resolution 1441 on its head. 1441 had been a challenge to saddam hussein to prove his innocence. because we cannot synchronize the programs, somehow or another -- the preparation of war and inspections -- inspections, you had to find the vitoria's smoking gun. suddenly -- at the notorious smoking gun. we found ourselves scrambling for the smoking gun, which is
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not a way of saying that he has to prove his innocence, we have to prove he is guilty. we, the americans, the british, have never recovered from that. there was no smoking gun. >> the military timetable meant that we simply did not allow enough time for the inspectors to do the job they had been asked to do. and by january of 2003, the president is giving a state of the union address. in your estimation, at that point, he has close down any option of not going to war. i take from your book on that speech -- he spent half of his speech on iraq, the betty also
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was described in messianic terms. if he left himself any space to step back from war, he closed it down early in 2003 with his state of the union speech on the 29 to january. -- 29th of january. that was six weeks before the time table ran out, early in the inspections process. the window that they were given operate in was so small, it was not a window at all. >> that is an extremely good question. after bush announced before tony blair's visit before september of 2002, there was a briefing telegram that we can't find any archives of -- i said
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in a briefing telegram that in principle, the british american science agreed that we should exhaust the un processes, which includes giving inspectors. what the americans to understand by exhausting resources and what we understand may prove not to be the same. there is a very great risk that this will lead to the complete fractureing of the security council, which i say is what happened. there was a very brief hope, and some disappointment, that after 1441, war might be avoided because the pressure on saddam was extreme. he faced the security council.
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the unity was more apparent than real. there were all kinds of differences on national interest. then came saddam's weapons declaration the set -- and delivered on december the seventh. including the state department, it was, that is it. he is bullshitting us. this is it. a few weeks later, bush gives his state of the union speech. for me, it was quite clearly a summons to war. america, the chosen people, all that stuff that is very common in america, alien to europeans,
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there is no way that the president can wind back from this and last, after some of that, he is removed -- saddam hussein is removed. americans are getting more and more impatient with this process of inspection. they got very excited when blix made his report to the security council. he seemed to be pretty negative about the pattern of iraqi cooperation. it was a very important sign of whether he was in material breach or not. americans got excited about that. as a result, colin powell delivered his famous speech with all the evidence that later turned out to be inadequate and incorrect of iraqi malfeasance.
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there was no point in going on much longer. there is another report after colin powell had done his, and it pulled the reins back a bit. the expectation was with blix in japan -- it being negative in january, it would happen again invade your a. -- in january. it was too late. >> before we do that, i would like to ask my colleagues if they want to [unintelligible] >> i want to take you back to the time of jonathan powell. he said that the question of regime change was discussed, and there were objections that were raised.
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regime change in terms of military invasion, was athere ever an optiont hat -- option that was considered? >> not except for paul wolfowitz, who probably argue for it at that meeting. but the context, as i recall it, that set of meetings with the administration waiting -- the context for violence was arming and financing distant groups. which is provided for explicitly in the iraq liberation act.
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that is a long answer. the short answer is no. the regime change discussed in any of those meetings in terms of an invasion. >> by that time, it had come to mean military invasion? >> sorry, have i been unclear? the official u.s. policy on regime change was in practice and in discussion at that time. sharpening sanctions and trying to stiffen resistance groups. >> i made by the time that john sawyer and jonathan powell came to the united states, regime change had come to mean military invasion? >> no, no. at the beginning of january 2001, even if there were individual scattered around the administration and waiting that
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would like to have done that, the framework where powell and i discussed iraq with condoleeza rice, was 1 --a -- we have to rw iraq policy. b -- colin was going to sharpen sanctions. by the way, we don't want to remove the military operation from the table. i did not hear in the exchanges, any reference at all to a land invasion. i don't think it was ever seriously on the table until 9/11 into the dramatic impact that had on the american administration. >> i thought you were talking
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about a meeting between january and march of 2002. >> if i have caused confusion with the committee, that i am in trouble here. the powell visit was a visit to the administration in waiting before the inauguration at the end of january 2001. this was an early exchange which foreshadowed a policy that was then pursued between inauguration day and 9/11. >> in 2002, regime change had come to mean military invasion. >> effectively. there is still the fermenting of a rebellion, getting another sunni general of milder disposition to remove saddam. that was around. at the time, american forces were cast with making contingency planning for a possible invasion of iraq.
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i hope that i have -- >> it is clear now, thanks. >> post 9/11. one of the lines being pursued quite actively by paul wolfowitz was that somehow or other, saddam hussein might have had some responsibility for 9/11 or links with outside the -- al qaeda. it had been the work of iraq. did you have a conversation with him or other members of the administration? >> i had conversations with him in particular. he was quite convinced that there was a connection, a strong connection, between saddam hussein and al


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