Ahead of this weekends crucial talks between Iran and the P5 + 1 countries, Stefan Simanowitz intercepts a letter from George W Bush to President Obama
Now I've no great interest in politics but it dawned on me that I have a duty to write to you, Commander-in-Chief 43 to Commander-in-Chief 44.
I was flipping burgers at the annual Republican fundraising barbeque I throw in Crawford, listening in to a conversation Dick, Donald and Wolfy were having about attacking Iran. They were all agreed the time is right and everything's in place. A few diplomatic skirmishes are still in the pipeline and the media have yet to be fully embedded but Thunderbirds are almost go. The only question remaining is the big one. Does Obama have what it takes?
Apparently the view on Captiol Hill is that you're in the midst of a major moral dimella about going to war, and I realized that as one of a few men alive who has stood in the Oval Office and had to make that most momentous of decisions, I'm one of the few men that truly understands that dimella.
Of course everyone wants to be a war president. Who wouldn't! But so far you've been dropping the ball. When you came to office you tried out a new type of foreign policy and even offered the Tehranians the "hand of friendship." But you quickly learned that the president of America has gotta be awful careful about the friends he chooses.
I was real lucky with the friends I had around. The guy I relied on most was Dick. He had an ability to explain the most complicated things in a way that normal folk could comprehend. He could even do it over a round of golf. I remember one time he summed up the entire U.S. plan for the Middle East while teeing off. "Look George" he says "It's kinda like how you'd play this hole. No matter how good you are, you're not going to sink a hole-in-one on the 17th. A hole like this will need a couple of big thwacks at least before you even get up on the green." He hits the ball down the fairway. "First thwack, Afghanistan." He tees up again and takes another drive. "Second thwack, Iraq." He tees up once more. "Then we thwack the real bad guy. Iran."
As you know, it wasn't as easy as Dick made it sound. In Afghanistan the evil-doers are still up to mischief and the fighting in Iraq dragged so long that some people started comparing it with Vietnam. I couldn't comment on that 'cos I only went to Iraq at Thanksgiving and never went to 'Nam in the Seventies. It was way too dangerous back then.
We almost went into Iran back in 2007 and again in 2008. Even just before I stepped down I was up for it but Condi reckoned it might make me look like the guy who starts a brawl then jumps into the nearest cab. So we left Iran to you.
The truth is sometimes hard, so I won't try to sugar-coat it. Going to war was the toughest decision I ever had to make. Even though I was surrounded by my team and my family, it was the loneliest time of my life. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do and God was on our side, I was still shitting grits for days.
What made it easier was the support I got. Republicans and Democrats backed me 100 percent on Iraq just as they'll back you 100 percent on Iran. Don't lose sleep over U.N. resolutions or international law. Remember you're the sheriff in this town and as long as you've got a good posse to back you up, your word is law. Blair may not be in charge of England anymore but Prime Minster Dave seems like a real push-over. The best thing he has going for him is that tight-lipped Brit accent. He could call for of the invasion of Disney Land and Americans would be punching the air.
We have a saying here in Texas about leading a horse to water but not being able to make him drink and you Mister President are now in the position of that horse. So far it seems you've taken the right steps -- U.N. resolutions, sanctions, covert operations yada yada. You've said the right things -- all options on the table, windows of opportunity closing yada yada. The next thing you need to do is set a deadline.
Deadlines are great 'cos they take things out of your hands. Once a deadline expires then you have a simple choice: take action or look like a wuss. I gave Saddam a deadline to hand over his WMD. He missed the deadline. I gave the order. You give Amadinnerjacket a deadline to hand over his nucular weapons and let the countdown begin.
Even though they had nothing to do with 9/11 Dick reckons the countdown for the Iranians began as soon as that second plane hit the North Tower. But whenever it started the fact is that the clock is ticking down. So it's over to you. Have you got what it takes? I believe you do. I believe you can, Barack. Yes you can.