Thursday, November 06, 2003


You blow off the whole world in public and then hope to strike a secret deal with us?

We are not France.
Just days before U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq, officials claiming to speak for a frantic Iraqi regime made a last-ditch effort to avert the war, but U.S. officials rebuffed the overture, according to news reports.

An influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman indicating that Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal, ABC News and The New York Times reported Wednesday evening.

The chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service and other Iraqi officials had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction and offered to let American troops and experts do an independent search, the Times said. The Iraqi officials also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who was being held in Baghdad.

Messages from Baghdad, first relayed by the businessman in February to an analyst in the office of Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy and planning, were part of an attempt by Iraqi officers to persuade the Bush administration to open talks through a clandestine channel, people involved in the discussion told the Times.

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