The Crawford Transcript
Bush to Aznar: ‘Gaddafi told Berlusconi that Saddam wishes to leave'
Four weeks before the invasion of Iraq, President George Bush meets the then Spanish President, José María Aznar, at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and informs him that the time has come to attack Iraq. (From the transcript revealed and published by El País in 2007.)
Bush: ‘The Egyptians are talking to Saddam Hussein. It seems that he has indicated that he is willing to go into exile if he can take a billion dollars with him and all the information that he wants on weapons of mass destruction. Gaddafi told Berlusconi that Saddam Hussein wants to leave.’
Aznar: ‘Is it certain that there is the possibility of Saddam Hussein going into exile?’.
Bush: ‘The possibility exists as does the possibility that he will be assassinated’.
Aznar: ‘Exile with a guarantee?’.
Bush: ‘No guarantee. He is a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal. Compared with Saddam, Milošević would be Mother Teresa. When we go in we are going to discover many more crimes and we will take him to the International Court of Justice. Saddam Hussein thinks that he has already escaped. He thinks that France and Germany have stopped fulfilling their responsibilities. He also thinks that the demonstrations of the last week (Saturday, 15 February) will protect him. And he thinks that I am very weak. But the people around him know that that is not the way things are. They know that his future is in exile or in a coffin.
Aznar: ‘In fact the best solution would be to win the game without firing a single shot and entering Baghdad’.
Bush: ‘For me it would be the perfect solution. I do not want war. I know what wars are. I know the destruction and the death that they bring with them. I am the one who has to console the mothers and widows of the dead. For us, that would certainly be the best solution. In addition, it would save US $50 billion.’
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