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Did Bush Plan to Invade Iraq before his Presidency?

Syed R. Mahmood

Ever since the invasion of Iraq by the Bush Administration, there has been an on-going  question around the world. “Did President Bush plan the invasion of Iraq before his Presidency?” 

In support of that question, I was witness to this account. A few weeks before the November Presidential election in 2000, Candidate Bush had an election rally in Redwood City, California. Among the 125 – 150 Republicans who included high ranking Republican Legislators and media entourage, Bush delivered his speech. He said, with great thunder, “Once he is elected as President, he will destroy the weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the Middle East.” He said he would bomb and destroy the enemies of American friends.

During the question and answer session, I reminded Candidate Bush about the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia during the month of July. I mentioned that his Foreign Policy Advisor and Coach, Condoleeza Rice said in her Foreign Policy Presentation that Israeli security is going to be very important for the Bush Administration. Since she did not mention even one word regarding the Palestinian issue, I asked Candidate Bush, are you going to be even handed in your policies in the Middle East?

Governor Bush was quiet for few moments, then he became so furious and said yes, yes, Israel is our ally. The only reason I think he had to give that statement was to assure the pro Israeli Silicon Valley executives that Bush himself, is going to be a strong supporter of Israel. This statement confirmed that the fervor of destroying the WMD in the Middle East was on the top of his list. Bush’s harsh and strong comments were very upsetting for some of the audience. After his speech, I met him and Laura Bush. I said to him, Governor, we would like to help your campaign, you need to give the other side something. I handed him my card. I was a Republican Nominee for California State Assembly from the 18th district.  I was also a co-chair for the Bush campaign in California. Nationwide, I made some contacts to promote Bush’s campaign.

Later on, in his first debate with Al Gore and Larry King, Bush did not use the word
Israel, he used the phrase, “Our friends in the Middle East”. A prominent Republican said to me, Syed, your comment to Bush made an impact on him. President Bush deserves credit to acknowledge in public a “two states solution” to the Israeli –Palestinian issue.

At that time, I could not comprehend the consequences of his warning to the World.How can the most powerful man on the earth decide to change the political map of the Middle East in the name of “War on Terror”? Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other parts of the World are held in the grip of violence and terror.
An American neoconservative think tank, the “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC) is based in Washington, D.C. It was co-founded in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan.  Their stated objective was “to promote American global leadership.” PNAC  believed that “American leadership is good, both for America and for the world.”

In accordance with some of the critics saying that the PNAC promoted American “hegemony”,  Jachen Bolsche’s view,  published in the German Law Journal, states that the main objective of the PNAC is world dominance by the United States.  He also mentioned that Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby developed the concept of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. They wanted to shape the global security system according to American interests. Some researchers and scholars believed that PNAC had an imperial agenda of US military expansionism.

On January 16, 1998, an open letter to President Clinton was posted on PNAC’s website, urging him to remove Saddam Hussain from power using American  political,diplomatic and military power. They argued that Saddam posed a threat to the Americaninterests in the region. They said he is also a threat to American allies and the oil resources.
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Robert Zoellick and the other members of the PNAC were the signers of the open letter to President Clinton.

Saddam Hussein was unwilling to cooperate with the U.N. weapons inspections. In Another open letter by PNAC to Bill Clinton on January 26, 1998, its members called for an American ground campaign to oust Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq.

After the Presidential election of 2000, PNAC signer Dick Cheney along with Richard Perk, John Bolton, Richard Armitage and Elliot Abrams became part of the Bush Administration.  Many powerful positions in the executive office of the administration were occupied by the members of PNAC. The planning was complete by this time.

Syed R. Mahmood is the founder president of the American Institute of International Studies. He was Republican candidate for 13th Congressional District in 2002.