5,057. 5/15/2003

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote: “As [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz would tell Vanity Fair in May 2003, [President] Bush and his national security team ‘settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on [for invading Iraq] which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.’ Wolfowitz went on to say: ‘There have always been three fundamental concerns [about Iraq]. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people…Actually I guess you could say there’s a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it.’ He also acknowledged that the ‘issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there’s the most disagreement within the bureaucracy.’ So the decision to downplay the democratic vision as a motive for war was basically a marketing choice. Not until well into my time as press secretary did I realize that the dream of a democratic Middle East was actually the most powerful force behind President Bush’s drive to war.” [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, Pages 130-131

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