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    on the problem of lynch mobs not on our payroll..., 2005-10-27 21:47:26 | Main | did it just get cold in here?..., 2005-10-28 21:47:15

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    Abu Aardvark notes an al-Arabiya documentary concerning Saddam's willingness to take exile. The US response to such a deal goes unmentioned, though the pretext seems to be that if Saddam took exile it would have avoided the war.

    While it was widely reported that the Bush administration had considered offers to accept Saddam's exile to "avoid war" it's not entirely clear exactly what stipulations the US might have attached to such a deal, not at least until the 48 hours previous to the invasion when Bush made it clear that such an alternative would still entail "peaceful entry" by US forces, suggesting that the offer of exile to "avoid a war" was actually an offer to accept Saddam's unconditional surrender to a foreign invasion of Iraq.

    President Bush, March 17th, 2003:

    It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

    This is not a proposal to avoid invasion, it is a proposal to surrender to it.

    Ari Fleischer further clarified the US position on exile the next day:

    Q: Will U.S. troops enter Iraq, no matter what, at this point? In other words, even if Saddam Hussein, in some off chance, takes this ultimatum, leaves the country with his sons, will U.S. troops, nevertheless, enter Iraq?

    MR. FLEISCHER: The President addressed that last night. And the President made clear that Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time last night. The President also made plain to the American people that if Saddam were to leave, the American forces, coalition forces would still enter Iraq, hopefully this time peacefully, because Iraqi military would not be under orders to attack or fire back. And that way Iraq could be disarmed from possession of weapons of mass destruction.

    Q: So the bottom line is, Americans are going to occupy Iraq, no matter what, at this point?

    MR. FLEISCHER: The bottom line is, a coalition of the willing will disarm Saddam Hussein's Iraq, no matter what.

    This last statement is perfectly clear about the US position, and is likewise in line with earlier vague statements in January of 2003, erroneously headlined "George W. Bush said Thursday that he would welcome such an arrangement to avoid a possible war" when the report quotes the President as saying, "we would welcome" Saddam's exile, but "I think that no matter how Mr. Saddam is dealt with, the goal of disarming Iraq still stays the same".

    The simple explanation would be to conclude from this that the US had rejected exile as an alternative to an invasion when it was offered up at the beginning of the year.

    It didn't matter what Saddam did or did not do.

:: posted by buermann @ 2005-10-28 13:26:38 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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