The White House yesterday endorsed the assassination of Saddam Hussein as a means of achieving its aim of regime change in Iraq.
Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, said that a "one-way ticket" or a "single bullet" were ways of dealing with the Iraqi leader. Fleischer emphasized that the Bush administration had no plans to rescind the executive order, which prohibits the assassination of heads of state.
Fleischer called reporters after the briefing to tone down the impact of his words.
"I was making a rhetorical point about the cost of the bullet," he said. "The point I’m making is not an administration policy. If the Iraqi people took events into their own hands, the world would not shed a tear. I’m not stating administration policy, I’m stating the obvious."
In August, the New York Times reported that the U.S. government is considering plans to send elite military units on missions to assassinate alleged terrorists around the world, without necessarily informing the governments involved. This comes despite a long-standing president order forbidding US personnel from carrying out assassinations abroad.
- Michael Ratner, international human rights lawyer and the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
- Reed Brody, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch
- B>Ari Fleischer, President Bush spokesperson.