By: E&P Staff
El Pais, the highest-circulation daily in Spain, today published what it said was the transcript of a private talk between President George W. Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar on February 22, 2003, concerning the coming U.S. invasion of Iraq. It took place at the ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The conversation took place on the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain’s ambassador to the United States, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.
Bush purportedly said he planned to invade Iraq inf March “if there was a United Nations Security Council resolution or not….We have to get rid of Saddam. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March.”
He said the U.S. takeover would happen without widespread destruction. He observed that he was willing to play bad cop to British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s good cop.
Aznar pleaded for patience and replied that it was vital to get a U.N. resolution, noting that public opinion in Spain was strongly against the war.
El Pais, based in Madrid, has a reported circulation of just over 2 million, and is considered on the left. The transcript tops its front page today, but the headline focuses on Aznar’s claim that he was trying to change 200 years of politics in Spain.
The paper’s Web site also features at the top an interview with Bruce Springsteen, titled, “Lo ?ltimo del Boss, en exclusiva.”
Agence France Presse translates part of the chat with Bush stating: “I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself.”
While awaiting a full translation, here are excerpts from the rough translation provided by Google.
BUSH: Saddam Husein will not change and will continue playing. The moment has arrived for undoing of him. It is thus. I, as for me, will from now on try to use the possible subtlest rhetoric, while we looked for the approval of the resolution….Saddam Hussein is not being disarmed. We must take to him right now. We have shown an incredible degree of patience until now. They are left two weeks. In two weeks we will be militarily ready. I believe that we will obtain the second resolution…. We will be in Bagdad at the end of March. A 15% of possibilities that exist then Saddam Hussein is dead or has gone away…
We would like to act with the mandate of the United Nations. If we acted militarily we will do it with high accuracy and focusing much our objectives. We will decimate the loyal troops and the regular army quickly will know which it is…. We are developing a package of humanitarian aid very hard. We can win without destruction. We are raising Iraq already post Sadam, and I believe that there are good bases for a future better. Iraq relatively hard has a good bureaucracy and a civil society. It would be possible to be organized in a federation. Meanwhile we are doing all the possible one to take care of the necessities political of our friends and allies.
AZNAR: It is very important to count on a resolution. … The next Wednesday [16 of February] I see myself with Chirac. The resolution already will have begun to circulate.
BUSH: It seems to me very well. Chirac knows the reality perfectly. Their intelligence services have explained it. The Arabs are transmitting him to Chirac a very clear message: Sadam Hussein must go away. The problem is that Chirac is created Mister Arab and in fact the life is making them impossible. But I do not want to have no rivalry with Chirac….
This is as the Chinese torture of the water. We must end it.
AZNAR: I agree, but it would be good for counting on the maximum number of possible people. Then a little patience.
BUSH: My patience is exhausted. I do not think to go beyond half of March.
[Saddam] is a thief, a terrorist, a criminal military. Compared with Saddam, Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa. When we enter we are going to discover many more crimes and we will take to the Court the International to him of Justice of Is It. Saddam Hussein thinks that already it has escaped. Think that France and Germany have stopped the process of their responsibilities….
AZNAR: In fact the greater success would be to gain the game without shooting a single shot and entering Bagdad.
BUSH: For me it would be the perfect solution. I do not want the war. I know what they are, the wars. I know the destruction and the death that bring with himself. I am the one that she has to console to the mothers and the widows of deads. By all means, for us that would be the best solution…
AZNAR: We needed that you help us with our public opinion….
BUSH: When within years History judges us I do not want that people ask themselves so that Bush, or Aznar, or Blair did not face their responsibilities. In the end, which people wants is to enjoy freedom. ..
AZNAR: The only thing which it worries to me about you is your optimism.
BUSH: I am optimistic because I believe that I am in the certain thing. I am peacefully with me same.