Monday, June 26, 2006

In Their Own Words

It seems that many people were surprised by the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I cannot for the life of me imagine why. This was something that was understood to be true before the War on Terror began. If for no other reason, we knew because our President, Bill Clinton, had told us so. As did his national security adviser, Sandy Berger. And Secretary of State, Madeline Albright. And several U.S. Senators and Representatives.

A list of quotes from those in the know before 9/11 appeared at in "What Did The Democrats Say About Iraq's WMD". Here is a partial sampling in case anyone has forgotten (there are many more from after 9/11 also):
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 Source

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 Source

"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction." -Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998 Source

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 Source

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."Letter to President Clinton. - (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 1998 Source

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998 Source

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999 Source

Also worth rereading is a transcript of Bill Clinton's explanation in December 1998 of our air strikes against Iraq. Here is a small part:

CLINTON: Good evening.
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the
interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam
Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear
arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to
verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.
The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly.
Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not
only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again...

It seems silly to me to have to put these quotes on my blog, but it seems that there is so much denial that we need to be reminded again and again. President Bush was utilizing the same intelligence reports as President Clinton and his administration had. President Bush.Didn't.Lie.

End of story.


At 6/26/2006 3:35 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Hillary Clinton was on the Larry King Live show a few years back. When Larry asked her about WMD in Iraq, she said in essence that while they (she included herself as co-president in the quote) had the same intel that President Bush did, the difference was President Clinton "didn't believe it."

Which brings up an interesting point. According to Ms Clinton, President Bush didn't lie - he believed what he was saying. But President Clinton did, because he acted on the information and made speeches about it.

Personally I don't think it was her best spin attempt.

At 6/27/2006 9:40 AM, Anonymous NosyNeighbor said...

The problem with those quotes are they were from 1998 and 1999. Yes, they had the same intel and Iraq had been a thorn in our side since the first Bush but personally, I think we should have focused our efforts on finding Osama Bin Laden. Can anyone tell me why we've spent so much time and money (and lives) in Iraq yet this bastard is still alive?

I think I understand why we're in Iraq. I think it's so that we can have an ally and future military bases smack dab in the middle of the problem area. I think the intelligence cited was just an excuse used to justify it to the American people. I don't think Bush would have gotten support for the war if he said that "they may not be a threat right now but in the future they may be and besides, it would be nice to have a future military presence in the Middle East." Even though it's probably a good idea no one would have (or could have) gone along with that. You can't go around attacking a country because it may be in our best interests in the future. But that's exactly what he did.

At 6/27/2006 10:24 AM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

I included only the old quotes for brevity's sake and to show that the intelligence had identified Iraq as a problem long ago. There are many more quotes from 2001 onward from Democratic party leaders who viewed the intelligence reports and came to the same conclusion: Sadaam must go.

One common misperception is that this is a new war. In a way, it is not. The last one never officially ended. It was merely a cease-fire with Sadaam Hussein pledging to destroy all WMD and to cooperate fully with UN inspectors to demonstrate that he was no longer developing and had destroyed previous WMD. He lived up to no part of his side of the bargain.

Obviously people are divided about the wisdom of going in. I was not at all thrilled with the decision at the time either. However, I do understand the reasons for it, and now that we are there, I will fully support my government and the troops until the job of establishing a good government is achieved.

At 6/27/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

I fail to see how the intel was true in 1999 then stopped being true in 2002, could you explain that to me somehow nosyneighbor? Because that's your assumption, that it wasn't the real reason we got involved, even though the entire world agreed it was valid information.


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