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Chapter 10: United Nations Bound

Citations by page number

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300 “. . . policies and behaviour by Iraq”: United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), established by the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 9(b)(i) of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) UNSCOM Report addressed to the President of the Security Council, January 25, 1999.


302 unsatisfactory deal with the UN on inspections: Rumsfeld Memo to the Vice President, “Enforcing Iraqi Disarmament,” August 6, 2002 (emphasis in original).

302 Declaratory Policy on UN WMD Inspections in Iraq: As defined in a briefing by my office, “'declaratory policy' refers to all messages that elements of the U.S. government transmit: either publicly or privately; to a government, an entire society, a segment of society, or selected individuals. It includes messages transmitted by diplomacy, mass media, the Internet, mail, and individual contacts.” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, “‘Declaratory Policy’ Themes for Key Audiences,” February 5, 2003.

302 compliance with its UN obligations: National Security Council staff, “Declaratory Policy on UN WMD Inspections in Iraq,” faxed to the Defense Department and other U.S. government agencies on August 8, 2002.

303 Saddam’s abdication and exile: New information raises interesting questions about whether there was a real possibility of persuading Saddam that we posed a credible military threat to him. On one hand, a study of detention interviews of Saddam and other top Iraqi military and civilian officials revealed that Saddam had persuaded himself that the United States was unwilling to go to Baghdad to overthrow him. Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, p. 15. On the other hand, recent news articles report that President Bush told Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar that Saddam had discussed with Egyptian officials the possibility of accepting a deal for going into exile to avoid overthrow. Jason Webb, “Bush thought Saddam was prepared to flee: report,” Reuters, September 26, 2007.

304 and a draft UN resolution: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, “Ultimatum Strategy—Exile and Asylum as an Alternative to War,” March 4, 2003.

304 “WMD and the Three Ts”: An NSC staff paper entitled “Ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Regime,” circulated for August 30, 2002, Deputies Committee meeting, summarized the problem posed by Iraq:

"The history of the Iraqi regime is a litany of violations of international law and norms that has made it impossible to extend it the presumption of good faith.
"In 1980 it invaded Iran and during the course of the war used chemical weapons and ballistic missiles against civilian populations.
"In 1990 it invaded Kuwait and has continued to threaten Kuwait throughout the decade. It agreed to end the war on the basis of UNSC Resolutions 686, 687, 688 that called for it to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction (UNSC resolution 687), end support for terror (UNSC resolution 687), cease the repression of the Iraqi people (UNSC resolution 688), and to account for missing Kuwaiti personnel (UNSC resolutions 686 and 687). It has failed to do so for 11 years.
"Its reprehensible pattern of “cheat and retreat” with the UNSCOM inspectors made a mockery of the notion of verification. Eventually the Baghdad regime expelled the inspectors.
"The regime has repeatedly menaced not only its neighbors but inflicted horrendous crimes on its own people, including use of CBW.
"Any Iraq government that wanted to implement its international obligations would have this dismal history to overcome.
"We have concluded that only a government concerned with bettering the life of its own people, through a pluralistic, democratic, representative government can be counted on to meet the concerns we have outlined. The Iraqi people could bring such a government about, Saddam could leave the country to facilitate such a government, or the United States can assist the process. "What is the ultimate path to this outcome is still an open question."


304 “The answer is no”: Nicholas Lemann, “After Iraq: The Plan to Remake the Middle East,” The New Yorker, February 17, 2003, p. 70. Wolfowitz, too, is on record stating that the rationale for the invasion of Iraq went beyond the question of WMD: “[T]here have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people.” Transcript of Wolfowitz interview conducted by Sam Tanenhaus, May 9–10, 2003.

305 sent back to Rumsfeld at the time: Feith report to Rumsfeld. “3–4 Sep Policy Quad Talks in Berlin: Discussion on Iraq,” September 4, 2002.

306 a useful role for the United Nations: Feith Memo to Rumsfeld, “UN Participation in the Iraq Debate,” September 5, 2002, 7:30 a.m.

307 to use WMD not to do so: Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (drafted by Abram Shulsky), “Declaratory Policy on WMD,” August 1, 2002 (emphasis in original). I faxed this paper to Hadley on August 5, 2002.

307 against going to war with Saddam: Brent Scowcroft, “Don’t Attack Saddam,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002, p. A12. For reasons presented in Chapters 6 and 8, I believed (and continue to believe) that Scowcroft had his facts wrong on Saddam’s ties to terrorist groups and hostility to the United States. I also thought he oversold the risk that countries opposing our Iraq policy would withhold cooperation from us in other areas. In fact, such countries, by and large, did not refuse to work with us on intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and other counterterrorism projects.

308 only a five-vote margin: Senate Joint Resolution 2, “A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678,” January 12, 1991. The resolution passed, 52–47. Congressional Record, 102nd Congress, 1st Session, Vol. 137 (12 January 1991), pp. S1018–S1019.

308 “had acquired nuclear-weapons capability”: Scowcroft, “Don’t Attack Saddam,” p. A12 (emphasis added).

309 one day after the anniversary of 9/11: George W. Bush, “President’s Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly,” September 12, 2002.

313 “widely accepted intelligence findings”: Greg Miller and Bob Drogin, “Debate on Iraq: Bush Makes Tough Statement but Pulls His Punches,” Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2002, p. A9.

313 “and all support for terrorists”: Karen DeYoung, “Bush Tells United Nations It Must Stand Up to Hussein, or U.S. Will,” Washington Post, September 13, 2002, p. A1.

313 On October 5, Rumsfeld sent the President a memo: Rumsfeld Memo to President Bush, “UN Security Council Resolution on Iraq,” October 5, 2002.

314 fail to approve the second resolution: The chances of the Security Council’s approving a second resolution authorizing force seemed remote. I recalled that in 1989, when a UN team confirmed that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iran—thus violating the Geneva Protocol, perhaps the most significant multilateral legal convention after the UN Charter itself—the international meeting to address the violation was unable even to agree to a condemning resolution that would name Iraq as the violator. Indeed, the press representative for the Arab nations was Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz:

"Aziz, who also is deputy prime minister, rebuffed questions about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in the war with Iran and against rebellious Kurds in Iraq, saying, “The past is past.” These incidents, which precipitated the concern in the United States and elsewhere that led to the Paris conference, were strongly condemned, but without naming Iraq, by participating nations."

Edward Cody, “149 Countries Vow to Shun Poison Gas; Paris Talks Close with Compromise,” Washington Post, January 12, 1989, p. A1.

315 October 14 memo to President: Rumsfeld Memo to President Bush, “UN Inspections of Iraq,” October 14, 2002.

314 it would allow UN inspectors back: Iraq agrees to unconditional return of UN weapons inspectors—Annan,” UN News Centre, September 16, 2002.

314 Rumsfeld’s follow-up memo observed: Rumsfeld Memo to President Bush, “UN Inspections of Iraq,” October 14, 2002.

315 “Russians and French will work to save him”: U.S. intelligence later con- firmed that Saddam perceived the situation much as Wolfowitz had predicted. See Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, pp. 28–29.

315 Rumsfeld noted in his October 14 memo: Rumsfeld Memo to President Bush, “UN Inspections of Iraq,” October 14, 2002.

318 many other journalists had misreported: See, e.g., Chris Suellentrop, “Douglas Feith; What has the Pentagon’s third man done wrong? Everything,” Slate, May 20, 2004; Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, “Plan B for postwar Iraq didn’t exist,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 2003, p. A1, which states, “Responsibility for post-war preparations lay with senior officials supervising the Office of Special Plans.”

319 goals and objectives for Iraq: See Rice Memo to Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Card, Tenet, and Myers, “Principals’ Committee Review of Iraq Policy Paper,” October 29, 2002, attaching “Iraq: Goals, Objectives, and Strategy” (reproduced as Appendix 5).

322 Tenet released an unclassified letter: George Tenet Letter to Senator Bob Graham, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, October 7, 2002, reproduced in Congressional Record, 107th Congress, 2nd Session, Vol. 148, No. 132 (October 9, 2002), p. S10154 (emphasis added; hereafter, Tenet Letter). The 2007 SSCI Report on Prewar Intelligence on Postwar Iraq (not unanimous) raised questions about some of the material in this letter, though it did not specifically cite the letter. While it is unclear whether all the statements in the Tenet letter remain consistent with our best information in 2008, that letter did represent bedrock on this issue for me and others in the Administration in the period leading up to the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

323 most other high-level Administration officials: As Rumsfeld put it in an interview, “I [used the] unclassified version of George Tenet’s testimony in a press briefing. Condi Rice used the same piece of paper and that was the government’s position. Not complicated.” Interview with Donald Rumsfeld by Chris Matthews, Hardball, MSNBC, April 29, 2004. Cheney continued to make reference to the disputed intelligence report of a 2001 meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraq intelligence officer in Prague, saying that it was “credible” but “unconfirmed.” See Stephen F. Hayes, Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice-President (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 440–445. That report, however, played no significant role in the Administration’s decision to oust the Saddam Hussein regime.

323 critics implied that the Iraq–al Qaida relationship was a major reason: See, e.g., Hersh, “Selective Intelligence,” The New Yorker, May 12, 2003.

324 “no collaborative operational relationship”: The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 66.

324 commentators slipped quickly and sloppily: For example: Representative Jack Murtha: “There was no connection with al-Qaida, there was no connection with terrorism in Iraq itself.” Jack Murtha on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, NBC, March 19, 2003. Al Gore: “[T]he evidence now shows clearly that Saddam did not want to work with Osama bin Laden at all. . . .” Al Gore, “Remarks to,” New York University, August 7, 2003. Senator Ron Wyden: “There was no connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda.” Ron Wyden on Charlie Rose, PBS, February 16, 2007.

324 news headlines that simplified the issue: See, e.g.: Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, “Al Qaeda-Hussein Link Is Dismissed,” Washington Post, June 17, 2004, p. A1. MSNBC staff and news service reports, “9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida,”, June 16, 2004. CBS/AP, “9/11 Panel: No Qaeda-Iraq Link,”, June 16, 2004.

324 had trained thousands of non-Iraqi terrorists: See Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, pp. 53–55.

325 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Estimate: Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction (emphasis added).

326 in 1998, the inspector’s final report: UNSCOM Report.


326 documentation related to weapons programs: David Kay, Statement on the Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), Joint Hearing of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, October 2, 2003 (emphasis added).

326 active rather than dormant:  “We judge that all key aspects—R&D, production, and weaponization—of Iraq’s offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War. We judge Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives.”
“Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents—much of it added in the last year.”  U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Estimate: Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction , p. 6.

326 The Duelfer Report (presenting the findings of the Iraq Survey Group) gives this snapshot: Duelfer Report, Vol. IA, p. 1; Vol. IIIB, p. 18 (emphasis added). The Iraq Survey Group concluded: Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted. (Duelfer Report, Vol. IA, p. 1.)

329 within several months to a year: National Intelligence Estimate, October 2002.

329 including North Korea: Duelfer Report, Vol. I, pp. 116–142.

329 “nothing was found”: For example: John Diamond, “Final report: Iraq had no WMD,” USA Today, October 7, 2004, Thursday, p. 1A; Editorial, “Weapons That Weren’t There,” Washington Post, October 7, 2004, p. A38; Thomas Catan and Mark Huband, “Iraq WMD report counters claims by Bush and Blair,” Financial Times, October 7, 2004, p. 14; Christopher Adams, Thomas Catan, Stephen Fidler, and Mark Huband, “Report confirms Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction,” Financial Times, October 7, 2004, p. 1; Editorial, “Iraq Survey Group: Definitive and Deadly,” The Guardian (Comment & Analysis), October 8, 2004, p. 29.

329 “to help put down a Shia rebellion” in southern Iraq: Duelfer Report, Vol. IIIA, p. 5.

329 causing them to walk out altogether: Kay reported findings of concealed programs, including the following details regarding chemical and biological weapons:

• “We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. . . .

• “A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.

• “A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.

• “Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist’s home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.”

Statement by David Kay on the Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, October 2, 2003.

329 had retained his weapons programs: Silberman-Robb Commission, p. 156. 329 Even Iraqi generals believed he did: See Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, p. 92. 330 “Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)”: Duelfer Report, Vol. IIIB, p. 2 (emphasis added). 331 the primary threats to his rule: “Saddam walked a tightrope with WMD because as he often reminded his close advisors, they lived in a very dangerous global neighborhood where even the perception of weakness drew wolves. For him, there were real dividends to be gained by letting his enemies believe he possessed WMD whether it was true or not. . . . When it came to WMD, Saddam was simultaneously attempting to deceive one audience that they were gone and another that Iraq still had them.” Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, p. 91.

331 (and especially in a march to Baghdad):  “Through the distortions of his ideological perceptions, Saddam simply could not take the Americans seriously. . . . [T]he Americans could not possibly launch a ground invasion that would seriously threaten his regime. . . . Like the First World War generals, Saddam’s conception of military effectiveness revolved around the number of casualties that an army suffered.” Woods, et al., The Iraqi Perspectives Project, pp. viii–ix.

331 not a single instance of improper pressure occurred: See Silberman-Robb Commission, pp. 188–189. That bipartisan report concluded:

"The Commission has found no evidence of “politicization” of the Intelligence Community’s assessments concerning Iraq’s reported WMD programs. No analytical judgments were changed in response to political pressure to reach a particular conclusion. The Commission has investigated this issue closely, querying in detail those analysts involved in formulating pre-war judgments about Iraq’s WMD programs. (p. 188.)
These analysts universally assert that in no instance did political pressure cause them to change any of their analytical judgments . . .
(p. 188.)
[A]ll of the Iraqi WMD analysts interviewed by the Commission staff stated that they reached their conclusions about Iraq’s pursuit of WMD independently of policymaker pressure, based on the evidence at hand."
(p. 189.)

The SSCI Report on Prewar Intelligence (July 2004) reached a similar conclusion:

"Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities. (p. 284; bolded in original.)

"Conclusion 102. The Committee found that none of the analysts or other people interviewed by the Committee said that they were pressured to change their conclusions related to Iraq’s links to terrorism. . . . All of the participants in the August 2002 coordination meeting on the September 2002 version of Iraqi Support for Terrorism interviewed by the Committee agreed that while some changes were made to the paper as a result of the participations of two Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy staffers, their presence did not result in changes to their analytical judgments." (p. 363; bolded in original.)

333 “ultimate version of the Parade of Horribles memo”: [Donald H. Rumsfeld], “Iraq: An Illustrative List of Potential Problems,” October 15, 2002, 07:45 a.m.

334 any warning I saw from State or the CIA: The CIA issued a paper on August 12, 2002, entitled “Iraq: Saddam’s Options in a Conflict with the US.” It listed many possible actions that the Iraqi regime could take to damage the United States or our coalition partners in the event of war. The actions involved diplomacy, influence operations, Iraqi domestic options, economic measures, and military options. Nothing in this CIA paper anticipated that the Baathist regime leaders might be able to continue to operate against us after the regime fell. CIA officials did not assess that Saddam and his top officials might be able to promote, finance, and command an insurgency after they were overthrown. For CIA prewar analysis, see Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Prewar Intelligence Assessments about Postwar Iraq, released May 2007.

334 that we “cherry-picked” intelligence: For example: “[Paul Pillar,] the former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of ‘cherry-picking’ intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.” Walter Pincus, “Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq,” Washington Post, February 10, 2006, p. A1.

335 “Some Potential Post-War Challenges”: Joint Staff briefing, “Immediate Post-War Concerns,” January 16, 2003.

335 unanimously adopted Resolution 1441: UN Security Council Resolution 1441, November 8, 2002.

336 Administration officials praised its strong rhetoric: For details regarding the resolution, see U.S. Department of State, “UN Security Council Resolution 1441,” Fact Sheet, Bureau of International Organizations Affairs, February 25, 2003.