- Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary, and his deputy
Paul Wolfowitz wrote to President Bill Clinton in 1998 urging war against
Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a 'hazard' to 'a significant
portion of the world's supply of oil'.
- In <http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm>the
letter, Rumsfeld also calls for America to go to war alone, attacks the
United Nations and says the US should not be 'crippled by a misguided insistence
on unanimity in the UN Security Council'.
- Those who signed <http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm>the
letter, dated January 26, 1998, include Bush's current Pentagon adviser,
Richard Perle; Richard Armitage, the number two at the State Department;
John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, under-secretaries of state; Elliott Abrams,
the presidential adviser for the Middle East and a member of the National
Security Council; and Peter W Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for
international security affairs.
- It reads: ' We urge you to seize [the] opportunity and
to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US and
our friends and allies around the world.
- 'That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal
of Saddam Hussein's regime from power.'
- ' We can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf
war coalition to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks
or evades the UN inspections.
- 'If Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons
of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along
the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our
friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant
portion of the world's supply of oil, will all be put at hazard.'
- Bush's current advisers spell out their solution to the
Iraqi problem: 'The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the
possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of
mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake
military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. That now needs to become
the aim of American foreign policy.
- 'We believe the US has the authority under existing UN
resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect
our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue
to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the Security Council.'
- The letter -- also signed by Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's
special envoy to the Iraqi opposition; ex-director James Woolsey and Robert
B Zoelick, the US trade representative -- was written by the signatories
on behalf of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a right-wing
think-tank, to which they all belong.
- Other founding members of PNAC include Dick Cheney, the
- ©2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd