4,456. 1/31/2003

“The memo, written [by U.K. Chief Foreign Policy Advisor David Manning] on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion [of Iraq] and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men [President Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair] became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action. Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan ‘to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover.’ Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.”

 – Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend, “Confidential Memo Reveals US Plan to Provoke an Invasion of Iraq,” The Guardian, June 21, 2009

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