What did he decide and when did he decide it?

President Bush was set on war against Saddam Hussein by July 2002, but in public he kept calling it like he didn't see it.

By Mark Follman
Published June 7, 2005 7:51PM (EDT)

Though the Downing Street memo shows that the Bush administration was set on war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq by July 2002, in public the president kept calling it like he didn't see it. Think Progress pulls together a good roundup, with links included for all the corresponding White House press releases:

Bush: "Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq." [10/1/02]

Bush: "Hopefully, we can do this peacefully -- don't get me wrong. 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, don't -- it's my last choice." [11/7/02]

Bush: "This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It's up to him to make his decision." [12/4/02]

Bush: "You said we're headed to war in Iraq -- I don't know why you say that. 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." [12/31/02]

There are another half dozen, dating right up to the invasion in March 2003:

Bush: "I've not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully." [3/6/03]

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

MORE FROM Mark Follman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Iraq War War Room