"Also," the president is quoted as adding, "it would save us $50 billion."
That figure dramatically underestimated the cost of a war for which the administration has requested nearly $190 billion for the next year alone.
The president also appeared erroneously optimistic about how Iraq would adjust to a post-Saddam era.
"We're planning for a post-Saddam Iraq and believe there is a strong base to build a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and relatively strong civil society," he is quoted as saying.
The transcripts also suggest Bush was privately strong-arming governments that could block a new resolution in the United Nations, saying, "Countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola and Cameroon should know that what's at stake is the security of the United States. … [Chilean President Ricardo] Lagos should know that the Free Trade Accord with Chile is awaiting Senate confirmation and a negative attitude about this could put ratification in danger. Angola is receiving Millennium Account [anti-poverty] funds and that could be jeopardized also if he's not supportive… "
Of France's Jacques Chirac, Bush is quoted as grousing, "Chirac knows perfectly well the reality. His intelligence services have explained. The Arab countries are sending Chirac a clear message: Saddam Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac thinks he's Mister Arab and is making life impossible."