Elaine Sciolino Quotes
The first weekend after the attacks of September 11, George W. Bush had a meeting at Camp David with his top advisors, including Colin Powell, the secretary of state. And there was a lively debate about Iraq policy, in which some people from the Pentagon were arguing that the war against terrorism should include Saddam Hussein.
The Bush administration actually started out with an open mind towards Iran, by all indications. In fact, early in the administration, the White House tasked the various agencies of government to do an inter-agency review of Iran policy, as it did with Iraq policy and most of the big areas of the world.
We often forget that Iran has a long tradition and history with the United States. Iranians have been coming to the United States as students for decades. American businessmen were in Iran developing the oil fields. ...There was an American financial advisor to the Iranian government in the early part of the century.
Colin Powell has said over the years that Saddam Hussein is like a toothache. It recurs from time to time, and you just have to live with it. At other times, he's compared Saddam Hussein to a kidney stone that will eventually pass. But he has never said, 'You have to operate and take out the kidney stone.'
Even before September 11, there was a debate in the administration about whether or not military force should be used to oust Saddam Hussein. You're not going to find one person in the top echelons of the foreign policy and national security establishment in the U.S. government who's going to say that Saddam Hussein should not be out of power.