DONALD Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, and
his deputy Paul Wolfowitz wrote to President Bill Clinton in 1998
urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he
is a 'hazard' to 'a significant portion of the world's supply of
In the letter, Rumsfeld also calls for America to go to war
alone, attacks the United Nations and says the US should not be
'crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security
Those who signed the letter, dated January 26, 1998, include
Bush's current Pentagon adviser, Richard Perle; Richard Armitage,
the number two at the State Department; John Bolton and Paula
Dobriansky, under-secretaries of state; Elliott Abrams, the
presidential adviser for the Middle East and a member of the
National Security Council; and Peter W Rodman, assistant secretary
of defence for international security affairs.
It reads: ' We urge you to seize [the] opportunity and to
enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US
and our friends and allies around the world.
'That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam
Hussein's regime from power.'
' We can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf war
coalition to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks
or evades the UN inspections.
'If Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass
destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the
present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our
friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a
significant portion of the world's supply of oil, will all be put at
Bush's current advisers spell out their solution to the Iraqi
problem: 'The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the
possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons
of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to
undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. That now
needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
'We believe the US has the authority under existing UN
resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps,
to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American
policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on
unanimity in the Security Council.'
The letter -- also signed by Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's special
envoy to the Iraqi opposition; ex-director James Woolsey and Robert
B Zoelick, the US trade representative -- was written by the
signatories on behalf of the Project for the New American Century
(PNAC), a right-wing think-tank, to which they all belong.
Other founding members of PNAC include Dick Cheney, the
16 March 2003