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Key Events

Key events related to DSM (56)

General Topic Areas

Alleged al-Qaeda ties (83)
Politicization of intelligence (80)
Pre-9/11 plans for war (34)
Weapons inspections (122)
Alleged WMDs (99)
The decision to invade (104)
Internal opposition (29)
Motives (53)
Pre-war planning (30)
Predictions (19)
Legal justification (96)
Propaganda (23)
Public opinion on Iraqi threat (13)
Diversion of Resources to Iraq (8)
Pre-war attacks against Iraq (18)

Specific Allegations

Aluminum tubes allegation (59)
Office of Special Plans (24)
Africa-uranium allegation (95)
Prague Connection (24)
Al Zarqawi allegation (10)
Poisons And Gases (5)
Drones (4)
Biological weapons trailers (18)

Specific cases and issues

Spying on the UN (8)
Outing of Jose Bustani (13)
Powells Speech to UN (13)
Chalabi and the INC (63)

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations (23)
Imminent threat allegations (5)
Iraq ties to terrorist allegations (15)
Nuclear weapons allegations (29)
WMD allegations (9)
Democracy rhetoric (33)
Decision to Invade quotes
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Events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq: Bush's decision to invade Iraq - quotes

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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(Spring 2002)

       The US Air Force's only two specially-equipped RC135 U spy planes—credited with having successfully intercepted the radio transmissions and cellphone calls of al-Qaeda's leaders—are pulled from Afghanistan to conduct surveillance over Iraq. [Guardian, 3/26/2004]
          

May 2002

       When asked at a news conference in Tampa about what kind of military force would be needed to invade Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks answers, “That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer, because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that.” Two years later, Franks will be on the record saying Rumsfeld instructed him to draw war plans up in November 2001 (see November 27, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/24/2002; CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush
          

September 16, 2002

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that President Bush has not decided to go to war. [Associated Press, 9/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

October 1, 2002

       President Bush is asked whether he thinks the US economy is strong enough to withstand a war with Iraq. He responds, “Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq,” and then adds, “I think the US economy is strong .... we're strong enough to handle the challenges ahead.” [White House, 10/1/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 7, 2002

       A reporter asks President Bush if he thinks a war against Iraq might be a bad idea given widespread concerns that it could “generate a tremendous amount of anger and hatred at the United States ... [thus] creating many new terrorists who would want to kill Americans.” Bush responds that the US should not avoid taking action out of fear that it might “irritate somebody [who] would create a danger to Americans.” He also adds that no decision has been made with regard to using force against Iraq. “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully,” he says. “And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there's a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice ... it's my last choice. But nevertheless, it is ... an option in order to make the world a more peaceful place.” [White House, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 4, 2002

       During a question and answer period following President Bush's signing of the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, the president is asked about the weapon inspectors' progress in Iraq and if he believes “the signs are not encouraging that they're doing their job.” Bush responds: “This isn't about inspectors. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein will disarm. Will he disarm in the name of peace.” He also condemns Iraq's shooting of US and British planes that have been patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones over northern and southern Iraq (see June 2002-March 2003) and contends that these actions demonstrate that Saddam does not intend to comply with UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). Bush also implies that no decision has been made to use military force against Iraq. “The best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm,” he insists. “It's up to him to make his decision.” [White House, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 31, 2002

       At his ranch in Texas, President Bush tells a reporter who questions whether the world is safer heading into 2003: “I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully. One of my New Year's resolutions is to work to deal with these situations in a way so that they're resolved peacefully.” To another reporter's question, he similarly states: “I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [White House, 12/31/02; Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Early January 2003

       According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice visits George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush tells her: “We're not winning. Time is not on our side here. Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in The Washington Post, 4/17/04] When the contents of Woodward's book are reported in mid-April 2004, many people interpret Bush's statement as a decision to go to war. But Rice will deny that that was the case. “... I just want it to be understood: That was not a decision to go to war,” she will say. “The decision to go to war is in March. The president is saying in that conversation, I think the chances are that this is not going to work out any other way. We're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush
          

January 2, 2003

       At his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush converses with the press about the economy, Iraq, and North Korea. When one reporter asks whether or not the US can afford to go to war with Iraq, given the downturn in the economy, the president interrupts the reporter mid-sentence, saying, “First of all, you know, I'm hopeful we won't have to go war, and let's leave it at that.” [White House, 1/2/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 13, 2003

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he is firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/04; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

February 7, 2003

       When President Bush is asked by a reporter if he believes Iraq can be “disarmed” without the use of force, the president responds that it's up to Saddam Hussein. He asserts that Saddam Hussein has been playing “a game with the inspectors” for the last 90 days. “But Saddam Hussein is—he's treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make,” Bush says. “He's the person who gets to decide war and peace.” [White House, 2/7/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 6, 2003

       During a press conference, Bush is asked if the US will provide journalists, humanitarian workers, and weapons inspectors enough time to leave Iraq before the war begins, if it comes to that. Bush responds that people will be given a chance, but also recommends to journalists, “If you're going, and we start action, leave.” He also insists that no decision has been made to use military force. “I've not made up our mind about military action,” Bush says. “Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” At the conclusion of the press conference, Bush again says that he has not made any decision to use force. “I want to remind you that it's his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace.” [White House, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 8, 2003

       In a radio address, Bush asserts that “it is clear” from the report given by Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to the UN Security Council the day before (see March 7, 2003) “that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm.” While Blix described Iraq's destruction of Al Samoud II missiles (see March 1, 2003) as significant, Bush downplays this, claiming the US has intelligence that Saddam Hussein “ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles.” Near the conclusion of his radio address, Bush says: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [White House, 3/8/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 17, 2003

       In a televised address to the nation, shortly before the US officially begins its invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush justifies the need to use military force. He asserts that the US has “pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war,” but that Iraq “has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament.” He maintains that Iraq “continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” and “has aided, trained, and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda.” “Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed,” he insists. Bush then gives Saddam Hussein an ultimatum, warning the Iraqi leader that if he and his sons do not leave Iraq within 48 hours, the US will use military force to topple his government. The choice is his, Bush says. “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” He assures Iraqis that the US will liberate them and bring them democracy and warns Iraq's military not to destroy its country's oil wells or obey orders to deploy weapons of mass destruction. [US President, 3/17/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(January 12, 2004)

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld telephones former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and warns him that it might be against his best interest to go ahead with the publishing of The Price of Loyalty, an insider account of how Iraq quickly became the administration's focus once in office. The book, authored by journalist Ron Suskind, is based upon O'Neill's experience as secretary of the treasury. [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O'Neill, Ron Suskind
          

June 13, 2005

       Vice President Dick Cheney tells a National Press Club luncheon, “Any suggestion that we did not exhaust all alternatives before we got to that point, I think, is inaccurate.” [MSNBC, 6/14/2005]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          


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