In the upcoming Newsweek issue, May 18, another former Bush aid, Richard N. Haas, shines a little more light on how open to diplomacy the Bush administration truly was (NOT!) and just how early Bush had made up his mind to invade an innocent country. All contrary to Bush's public comments!
Diplomacy at Gunpoint: By July 2002 Bush had already decided to make Iraq the centerpiece of his foreign policy, even if it meant war.You try to make the best of an executive decision you think is wrong. But there's a limit.In early July 2002 I went to see Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor, in her West Wing office. I was meeting Condi in my capacity as director of policy planning, the State Department's internal think tank.I did not share this enthusiasm for going to war, believing that we had other viable options and fearing that any conflict would be much tougher than the advocates predicted. I was also concerned that an invasion would take an enormous toll on the rest of American foreign policy at the precise moment in history that the United States enjoyed a rare opportunity to exert extraordinary influence.
I began my meeting with Condi by noting that the administration seemed to be building momentum toward going to war with Iraq and that I harbored serious doubts about doing so. I reminded her that I knew something about this issue given my role in the previous Bush administration, where I had served as the president's senior Middle East advisor on the NSC staff. And I asked her directly, "Are you really sure you want to make Iraq the centerpiece of the administration's foreign policy?"
I was about to follow up with other questions when Condi cut me off. "You can save your breath, Richard. The president has already made up his mind on Iraq." (Mind you, this is way back in July, 2002!!!) The way she said it made clear he had decided to go to war.
I was taken aback. Policy had gone much further than I had realized—and feared. But, for several reasons, I did not argue just then. As in previous conversations when I'd voiced my views on Iraq, Condi's response made it clear that any more conversation at that point would be a waste of time.Haass: Former Bush Aide's Dilemma Over Iraq | Newsweek Politics | Newsweek.comThis relates to the second set of grounds for resigning, namely, a pattern of decisions that makes clear that you have little in common with your colleagues. I was losing far more arguments than I was winning, not just on Iraq, but on Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, climate change, the Israeli-Arab conflict and the International Criminal Court. I was someone who favored diplomacy and collective efforts. The administration was at best suspicious of such approaches and often flat-out opposed them.
Adding to the frustration was the fact that I was frequently called upon to defend policies that I opposed. Cordell Hull, FDR's secretary of state, described himself to a friend as "tired of being relied upon in public and ignored in private." I empathized all too well. On many occasions I had to rebut to outsiders precisely the arguments I myself had put forward inside the government. That this occurs on occasion is inevitable and part of what any professional must expect to deal with. But when it becomes the norm it is time to consider whether what you are doing makes sense.