4,461. 1/31/2003

While the U.S. and the U.K. were pushing for a second UN resolution to condemn Iraq, “the president [Bush] was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair’s top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times. ‘Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning,’ David Manning, Mr. Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides. ‘The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March [2003],’ Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. ‘This was when the bombing would begin.’ ”

 – Don Van Natta Jr., “Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says,” The New York Times, March 27, 2006

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