$1 Billion 'Exit Payment' Versus $1 Trillion War
For the more open-eyed, and open-minded, watchers of the Iraq War, this story is hardly breaking news. Arch NeoCon, and key Iraq War cheerleader Richard Perle acknowledged before the war began that he was involved in negotiations regarding Saddam Hussein's offer to go into exile. It may be hard to believe, but Saddam Hussein was reported to have said he would leave Iraq if his exit meant that America would not bomb "my people".
But BushCo. wanted the Iraq War, and they were going to go to war regardless of what Saddam Hussein did or did not do.
However, the claims now pumped by Iraq War apologists that one of the benefits of the invasion and occupation was some badly needed regime change is rendered obsolete by these new revelations.
And they further show the true tragedy of the Iraq War. For the Iraqis, and the Americans. The United States has spent more than half a billion on the Iraq War, and the final costs are widely estimated to eventually top $1.2 trillion. They've lost 3800 soldiers, with more than 60,000 more physically and mentally injured. Iraq has lost thousands of police and army members, and hundreds of thousands of civilians.
But the war industries that back Bush, and control all sides of Congress, have never seen such profits.
This story, from the UK Daily Mail, claims Saddam Hussein wanted $1 billion to go into exile. $1 billion is a lot, but it's nothing compared to the $1.2 trillion cost of going to War On Iraq. And it seems an almost pitiful amount considering the US has 'lost' more than $8 billion cash in Iraq, literally tons of money unloaded from planes with forklifts, due to a total lack of oversight in the months after the Iraq War began.
War is first, and above all, a business. And business has never been so good for the American, Australian, British and Israeli war industries in Iraq.
Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq...
Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).
The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch.
The White House refused to comment on the report last night.
But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted.
...according to the tapes, one month before he launched the invasion Mr Bush appeared convinced that Saddam was serious about going into exile.
"The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein," said Mr Bush.
"It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction."
Asked by the Spanish premier whether Saddam - who was executed in December last year - could really leave, the President replied: "Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated."
But he added that whatever happened: "We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."
Mr Bush went on to refer optimistically to the rebuilding or Iraq.
The transcript - which was published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais - was said to have been recorded by a diplomat at the meeting in Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003.
Mr Bush was dismissive of the then French President Jacques Chirac, saying he "thinks he's Mr Arab".
Referring to his relationship with Downing Street, he said: "I don't mind being the bad cop if Blair is the good cop."
The President added: "Saddam won't change and he'll keep on playing games.
"The time has come to get rid of him. That's the way it is."
Saddam going into exile would have made justifying the 'War On Iraq' all but impossible for President Bush, especially considering he failed to get a second resolution from the United Nations.
And the new revelations render President Bush's demands that Saddam leave Iraq, only two days before the war began, to be nothing more than an utterly cynical, disgusting last ditch attempt to try and claim the moral high ground, for an unprovoked war on an all but defenceless people.