Bush vetoed Syria war planning, paper reports

16 April 2003
The White House in the past few weeks blocked the creation by the Pentagon of contingency plans for an attack on Syria, the UK's Guardian reported on 15 April. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had initially ordered that such a plan be drawn up, while undersecretary of defence Douglas Feith and William Luti, head of special planning, were ordered to draw up a justification for such a war, which included many of the accusations that have been emerging from Washington in recent days - that Syria was pursuing weapons of mass destruction, supplying Saddam Hussein's regime with weaponry and supporting terrorist groups. However, sources told the Guardian that President Bush had cut off the discussion, on the grounds that he had already embarked on two foreign adventures during the first term of his presidency. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on 14 April assured MPs that neither he nor Bush had any plans to attack Syria. 'I have the advantage of talking to the American president on a regular basis and I can assure you there are no plans to invade Syria,' he said. 'Neither has anyone on the other side of the water, as far as I am aware, said there are plans.'

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