George Bush ordered the Pentagon to plan a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and considered a covert attack on Syria, the former president reveals in his memoirs.
Bush, in the 497-page Decision Points, writes of Iran: “I directed the Pentagon to study what would be necessary for a strike.” He adds: “This would be to stop the bomb clock, at least temporarily.”
Such an attack would almost certainly have produced a conflagration in the Middle East that could have seen Iran retaliating by blocking oil supplies and unleashing militias and sympathisers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Bush also discussed with his national security team either an air strike or a covert special forces raid on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility at the request of Israel.
The book seeks to rebuild Bush's reputation, giving his side of the story on the most controversial issues of his presidency, which include Iraq, Afghanistan, hurricane Katrina, the Wall Street meltdown and torture at Guantánamo.
Bush justifies the use of waterboarding in his book, saying that the controversial interrogation technique used on detainees helped break up numerous terrorist plots.
On Iran, Bush says: “One thing is certain. The United States should never allow Iran to threaten the world with a nuclear bomb.”