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Libby On "why War?"


Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense released his interview with Bob Woodward in June 2003 for Woodward's book, Plan of Attack. There are no revelations, and much of the interview found its way into Woodward's book, but some of what seems most interesting about what Libby said was merely mentioned in passing in the book or attributed to anonymous "principals." When Woodward asked Libby when and why Bush decided to go to war with Iraq, Libby said that "others have said that the core discussion with the President about Iraq [was] in late 2001." According to Libby, the discussion, which was in the context of developing the State of the Union Address, was as follows:

"If Saddam uses WMD on Israel and Israel retaliates, especially with nuclear, then you've lost the entire Middle East. If Saddam uses WMD in the US and thousands or hundreds of thousands die, there will be no excuse if the administration says the evidence was not conclusive. So the weight of evidence required by 9/11 does not apply after 9/11. The standard of proof has to be lowered."

It's a real hodge-podge. The first sentence puts a fear of a nuclear exchange between Iraq and Israel at the forefront. The second conjures up a Saddam using a nuclear weapon in the US (it would have to be nuclear for hundreds of thousands to die.)

Woodward asked Libby about the discussion leading up to Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations. Libby responded by criticizing UN arms inspector Hans Blix. "Intelligence showed the [sic] Hans Blix was lying about lots," Libby responded. "The President believed that Blix was lying." (In Plan of Attack, Woodwards says "several of the principals thought [the intelligence] showed Blix was again not being straight, even lying.") Libby's statement shows the depth of the administration's distrust of Blix and the United Nations.

Finally, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar-

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