<blockquote>As early as the autumn of 2001, U.S. military authorities took steps to increase surveillance of southern Iraq and then to systematically bomb Iraq's command posts, air defense weapons and communication links in anticipation of possible war, according to the American general who commanded the air campaign. <i><a href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A17357-2003Jul19?language=printer>The Washington Post</a></i></blockquote> The bombing campaign was known as <a href=http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050624/the_war_before_the_war.php>"Operation Southern Focus"</a>. It was begun in May of 2002, and was aimed, not only at degrading Iraqi air defenses as a part of future military operations in Iraq, but also at goading Hussein into action which would justify an invasion. This campaign of offensive bombing was, in and of itself, an act of war and came months before Bush sought Congressional approval for war with Iraq, and continued up until "Shock and Awe" commenced. But please remember that during this time, Dubbyuh and other members of the administration, were staing that "..War was not inevitable...", and no decision to invade had been made until March of 2003. This information, coupled with the information in the Downing Street Minutes as well as that provided by Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke and others, gives lie to the Administration's claims that the war was not inevitable. It is increasingly clear that the Bush administration mislead this nation into a war of aggression with little or no thought given to an exit strategy. Some $300 billion spent... over 1,700 US dead...over 12,000 US wounded...Some 20,000 Iraqi civilians killed...And for what? So George could indulge his Oedipal complex by doing something his daddy had the sense to leave alone?