Who Thought Iraq Had WMD [and deserved US military intervention]?
By Steve Foley Posted in Congress | Spotlight Blogs — Comments (46) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Bumped again by Jeff, because, amidst the adulation over Sen. Levin's statements, I can't help but recall the eventual outcome the last time that key Democrats stepped up and talked tough about the need to deal with a threat. Perhaps you remember...it was a little ol' place called Iraq, run by a despot named Saddam.
Try these quotes on for size, and see who (if anybody) on this list hasn't cut-and-run from their own statements.
Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright, February 1998: Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, February 1998: He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, October 2003: When [former President Bill] Clinton was here recently he told me was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime.
Read on . . .
French President Jacques Chirac, February 2003: There is a problem the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq. The international community is right...in having decided Iraq should be disarmed.
President Bill Clinton, December 1998: 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. I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again. Clinton, July 2003: [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in 98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn't?t know it because we never got to go back there.
General Wesley Clark, September 2002, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee: There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat.Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons.He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't?t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we.
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean [D], September 2002: There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies. Dean, February 2003: I agree with President Bush he has said that Saddam Hussein is evil. And he is. [Hussein] is a vicious dictator and a documented deceiver. He has invaded his neighbors, used chemical arms, and failed to account for all the chemical and biological weapons he had before the Gulf War. He has murdered dissidents, and refused to comply with his obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions. And he has tried to build a nuclear bomb. Anyone who believes in the importance of limiting the spread of weapons of mass killing, the value of democracy, and the centrality of human rights must agree that Saddam Hussein is a menace. The world would be a better place if he were in a different place other than the seat of power in Baghdad or any other country. So I want to be clear. Saddam Hussein must disarm. This is not a debate; it is a given. Dean, March 2003: [Iraq] is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons.
Former Clinton assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation Robert Einhorn, March 2002: How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate, and limited in size). Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously?and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by nonconventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner.
Senator Bob Graham [D-Florida] and others, in a letter to President Bush, December 2001: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs.In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.
Representative Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.], December 1998: 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.
Senator John Rockefeller [D-W. Virginia], ranking minority member of the Intelligence Committee, October 2002: There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.