Saddam Hussein Offered to Step Down for $1 Billion
Tuesday evening it was revealed that Saddam Hussein had offered to go peacefully into exile just one month before the invasion of Iraq for a staggering $1 billion. The offer was revealed in a transcript of talks from February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Azna at the President's ranch in Texas.
If the transcripts are legitimate, the President appeared to have been convinced that Hussein was serious about going into exile. The transcripts of the conversation were published this week in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.
"The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction," said President Bush.
And then, when Prime Minister Azna asked him if he could really leave, Bush said: "Yes that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated." However, he added that whatever happened, "We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."
The White House has thus far refused to comment on the revelations, however, if it can be verified, it will most certainly raise questions of whether the pricey four-year war could have been prevented. Afterall, $1 billion is small potatoes in comparison to the entire cost of the war, and it was only just yesterday that the Bush administration asked Congress for another $200 billion to fund the war in Iraq and conflicts in Afghanistan.