If this is true, it is a refreshingly different stance from the White House; maybe things really are beginning to change. However, it was quite recently that the Bush White House moved to delay actions against Saudi Arabia for its restrictions on religious freedom, while the revelations here are from two years ago — so put away your party hats and kazoos. Nevertheless, this may indicate that there is more awareness within the Administration of the real sources of the jihad problem than has been clear from its recent actions.
From the New York Times, with thanks to JE:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 – Two months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush told Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he “wanted to go beyond Iraq” in dealing with the spread of illicit weapons and mentioned Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on a list of countries posing particular problems, according to notes taken by one of Mr. Blair’s advisers cited in a new book.
Mr. Bush’s comment, in a private telephone conversation on Jan. 30, 2003, could be significant because it appeared to add Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to a list that previously had included public mentions only of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, which the president had called an “axis of evil.”
The comment is reported in an American edition of “Lawless World,” by Philippe Sands, a professor at University College, London, and a practicing lawyer. An earlier edition of the book, published in Britain in February, included details from other prewar British government documents, but it did not include the detail from the Jan. 30 conversation. The British government has not questioned the authenticity of the documents described in the book….
The notes taken by Mr. Rycroft do not provide any indication of what Mr. Bush meant by including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on the list of concern over so-called weapons of mass destruction, a review of the contents shows. The reference is confined to one sentence in a two-page document, which says that Mr. Bush “wanted to go beyond Iraq in dealing with WMD proliferation, mentioning in particular Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.”…