THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
Hussein in newly released documents:
Exasperated, besieged by global pressure,
Saddam Hussein and top aides searched for ways in the 1990s to prove to the world they'd given up banned weapons.
"We don't have anything hidden!" the frustrated Iraqi president interjected at one meeting, transcripts show.
At another, in 1996, Saddam wondered whether U.N. inspectors would "roam
Iraq for 50 years" in a pointless hunt for weapons of mass destruction. "When is this going to end?" he asked.
It ended in 2004, when U.S. experts, after an exhaustive investigation, confirmed what the men in those meetings were saying: that Iraq had eliminated its weapons of mass destruction long ago, a finding that discredited the Bush administration's stated rationale for invading Iraq in 2003 — to locate WMD.