Reflections by the Commander in Chief
ONE MORE ARGUMENT FOR THE U.N.
While I am working with the
already famous Greenspan book, I read an article published by El
País, a Spanish newspaper with a circulation of more than
500,000, according to reports; I would like to pass this on to the
readers. It is signed by Ernesto Ekaizer, and it literally reads:
"Four weeks before the Iraq invasion
which happened in the night of March 19 to 20, 2003, George W. Bush
publicly sustained his demands of Saddam Hussein in the following
terms: disarmament or war. In private, Bush acknowledged that war
was inevitable. In a long private conversation with the then Spanish
president, José María Aznar, held on Saturday, February 22, 2003 at
the Crawford Ranch in Texas, Bush made it clear that the moment had
come to get rid of Saddam. ‘We have two weeks. In two weeks our
military will be ready. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March',
he told Aznar.
"The moment has come to get rid of
"As part of this plan, Bush had
accepted, on January 31, 2003 --after an interview with the British
Prime Minister Tony Blair-- to make a last diplomatic manoeuvre: to
introduce a second resolution to the United Nations Security Council.
His objective: to clear the way legally for a unilateral war that
the United States was getting ready to unleash with more than
200,000 soldiers who were in the region ready to attack.
"Bush was aware of Blair’s internal
difficulties and he knew of Aznar’s. Only seven days before that
meeting at the Crawford Ranch, three million people were
demonstrating in several Spanish cities against the imminent war.
‘We need your help with our public opinion’, Aznar asks. Bush
explains to him the scope of the new resolution that he is going to
present: ‘The resolution will be tailor made to help you. I don’t
care about the content’. To this, Aznar replies: ‘That text would
help us to be able to co-sponsor it and be its co-authors, and get
many people to sponsor it’. Aznar, then, offers to give Bush
European coverage, together with Blair. Aznar’s dream of
consolidating a relationship with the United States, following in
the footsteps of the United Kingdom, was about to become reality.
"Aznar had travelled with his wife,
Ana Botella, on February 20 to the United States making a stopover
in Mexico to persuade President Vicente Fox –unsuccessfully– of the
need to support Bush. On the 21st, the couple,
accompanied by the President’s assistants, arrived in Texas. Aznar
and his wife stayed at the ranch guest house.
"In the meeting on the following day,
Saturday, President Bush, his then National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice, and Daniel Fried, the chief of European Affairs at
the National Security Council, were present. Aznar, on his side, was
accompanied by his international policy advisor, Alberto Carnero and
the Spanish Ambassador in Washington, Javier Rupérez. As part of the
meeting, Bush and Aznar had a four-way telephone conversation with
the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Italian President
"Ambassador Rupérez translated from
the English for Aznar and also from the Italian for Condoleezza
Rice; another two interpreters did the same for Bush and his
collaborators. It was Rupérez who drafted the minutes of the
conversation in a memorandum that has been kept secret until today.
"The conversation is impressive
because of its direct, friendly and even menacing tone when, for
example, they refer to the necessity of some countries like Mexico,
Chile, Angola, Cameroon and Russia, members of the UN Security
Council, voting for the new resolution as a show of friendship
towards the United States or else they would have to suffer the
"They are cautioned about zero
expectations for the work of the inspectors, whose chief, Hans Blix,
had dismantled just one week earlier, on February 14, the arguments
presented by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell at the
Security Council on February 5, 2003, with ‘solid facts’
enthusiastically supported by the Spanish Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Ana Palacio. The same facts that Powell himself later
described as a bunch of lies.
"The Blix Report
"According to Blix, Iraq was taking
steps towards active cooperation in solving the pending issue of
disarmament. His tone had been less critical than that of his report
of January 27, 2003. ‘Since we arrived in Iraq three months ago we
have made more than 400 inspections, with no advance warning at 300
sites. Until now, the inspectors have found no prohibited weapons…If
Iraq decides to cooperate even more closely, the period of
disarmament by the inspections can still be short´, the chief
inspector pointed out.
"The General Director of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed El Baradei
released information on February 14 that there were still some
technical issues left to clear up. But, he added, ‘now there are no
more disarmament problems left to solve’. According to him,
absolutely no proof had been found that Iraq had been carrying out
nuclear activities or activities related to nuclear energy, another
clear lie about what Powell had stated about the Iraqi nuclear
"Both the first results of the
inspections and the end of the United States preparations led Bush
to set the beginning of the military operation towards the date of
March 10, 2003. Later, nine days were added in order to get the
second resolution. The process of moral persuasion in which Aznar
and Palacios worked by phone and in bilateral meetings did not
succeed in pulling in more than four votes: those of the three
promoters and Bulgaria. They needed 9 votes.
"The failure of this legal coverage
for the imminent war led Bush, with Blair and Aznar, to agree to a
summit meeting in the Azores on March 16, 2003, a place suggested by
Aznar as an alternative to Bermuda for a reason he explained to Bush:
‘Just the name of these islands suggests an item of clothing that is
not exactly the most appropriate for the seriousness of the moment
in which we find ourselves’. There, on that March 16, Blair, Bush
and Aznar decided to replace the United Nations Security Council.
They usurped its functions to declare war on Iraq at their own risk.
On the morning of March 17, the United Kingdom ambassador at the UN
announced in New York the withdrawal of the second resolution. A
defeat in the voting would have complicated even further the race
Fidel Castro Ruz
September 27, 2007.