Who Thought Iraq Had WMD [and deserved US military intervention]?

By Steve Foley Posted in | 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.

Saddam's Terror Training Camps

Interview with Saddam's Bombmaker

Who Is Lying About Iraq?

SPIES, LIES, AND WEAPONS: WHAT WENT WRONG

Saddam general: WMDs in Syria

Saddam Saw al-Qaida As Threat?

500 shells

H/T Larry Elder

you think that the mere recitation of these so-called facts has any bearing on the situation? Get over it, BushLied™, and the sooner you recognize that the sooner you can get on with your life. All of the supposed quotations you cite are the result of the RoveHistoricalRevisionProject© by which the evil Rove has been working to go back and "correct" the newspapers, magazines and video tape record of any statement that disagrees with those of his puppet Chimpy McBushHitlerBurton.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
:-)


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

...contact dear leader... R-O-V...........

"The Road To Freedom Is Seldom Traveled By The Multitude" Madhouse Thought

Amazing how so many really smart people (who must have done really well in school) were completely fooled by such a simpleton like George Bush.

"Every time some nitwit college student burns a flag on camera, that's one less idiot who can ever run for public office." - Crank

a nice compilation of the statements of the wackjobs who now are saying the exact opposite. The MSM as ususal is only too happy to send these bits of history down the old memory hole.

To some extent I think the RNC should have made just one 60 second campaign commercial and run it with every dollar in the till; the commercial just a series of now vs then statements from these poltroons. Its clear the MSM is not going to shine the light of truth on these b*astards.

Anyway, thanks.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

you're on point!

Thanks...

Here's their sign...


"The Road To Freedom Is Seldom Traveled By The Multitude" Madhouse Thought


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

I wrote a little piece about something like this on my blog ...

If Dick Cheney Channeled Spiro Agnew ...

Saddam had chemical and bio-weapons. He was trying to build a bomb. I am so tired of that liberal meme that he didn't have WMD.

I guess O.J. couldn't have killed Nicole because we never found the knife.

Howard Dean. and he was right. al gore and he was right. hmmm hans blix and he was right. the IAEA and they were right. What was your point again. 'We were wrong but we had good company'? I'm tired of this "we were all wrong" bullshit. some of us weren't wrong namely me.

Apparently not! If you did you would have seen this:

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean [D], September 2002

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.

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.

If you think Al Gore, Hanz Blix and the IAEA are good company? I can’t do anything for you!!!

"The road to freedom is seldom traveled by the multitude"Madhouse Thought

Seeing as Steven has given you a direct quote that contradicts you on at least one point? Or are you claiming that the quote is inaccurate?

Moe

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

but the facts remains there were no wmd's. had the inspectors been allowed to do their work that is what they would have found.

Please read the following posts:

500 shells

Saddam general: WMDs in Syria

"The road to freedom is seldom traveled by the multitude"Madhouse Thought

here: 500 shells

"The road to freedom is seldom traveled by the multitude"Madhouse Thought

and their official policy was regime change, largely because of the threat of WMD's. Gore NEVER mentioned any concern about a lack of WMD's until well after the war started.

_______________________________
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

"The road to freedom is seldom traveled by the multitude"Madhouse Thought

Blix thought he had WMD, and he documented in detail all the ways in which Iraq was not complying with the UN resolutions.

Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance – not even today – of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

Hans Blix, 27 January 2003 report to the UN Security Council.

Sorry, Jon, that quote is somewhat out of context and misleading, and by employing it, you're perpetrating something of a myth of Iraqi non-co-operation with the inspections.

By the time of the invasion, the fact of the matter was that the UN inspectors had achieved virtually unfettered access to suspected weapons sites, and had systematically disproved the most significant of the western intelligence that Iraq had WMD weapons programs.

You should read (and quote from, if you want to be accurate) Blix's last report to the Security Council on February 14, 2003.

Some key passages:

Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites. At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, re-baselining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples and discussions with the site personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.

Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability but, as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.

More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened using our own analytical laboratory capabilities at the Baghdad Centre (BOMVIC). The results to date have been consistent with Iraq's declarations.

...

In my 27 January update to the Council, I said that it seemed from our experience that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, most importantly prompt access to all sites and assistance to UNMOVIC in the establishment of the necessary infrastructure. This impression remains, and we note that access to sites has so far been without problems, including those that had never been declared or inspected, as well as to Presidential sites and private residences.

...

How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter - and one of great significance - is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.

We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist. The US Secretary of State presented material in support of this conclusion. Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors. Inspectors, for their part, must base their reports only on evidence, which they can, themselves, examine and present publicly. Without evidence, confidence cannot arise.

Of course, at the time, we had all reached our conclusions long ago, and were happy to blithely assume that if Hans Blix couldn't find the weapons, he must be incompetent, and that if he reported that the Iraqis were co-operating, he must be a dupe.

The fact is that Blix performed his job superbly, and presented his conclusions factually and diplomatically. Perhaps if he had not, they would not have been so easy for us all to dismiss.

that you would lend credibility to an organization which enabled multiple violations of its own sanctions against Iraq.

***

“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.” – Ronald Reagan

RBD - don't care whether it "lends credibility" or not. The facts are the facts. In the long run, you don't get anywhere by refusing to face them.

Aside from the man writing in clintonesque double speak, he shows a particular ineptness in job performance here, from your own quote:

How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter - and one of great significance - is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for". One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.

Geez!

Founder and contributor to The Minority Report and Senior writer for The Hinzsight Report

still contain a passage that states that there were weapons that were unaccounted for.

True, Justin. I deliberately included that sentence to make sure that I was providing an extract that accurately reflected the whole.

But add it all up: he says that they went wherever they wanted to go, the facilities they visited were not warned in advance, he was receiving complete co-operation from the Iraqi authorities, and they found nothing. Moreover, he had been told where to look by the western governments whose intelligence allegedly convinced our government that the WMDs and weapons programs existed. Thus, although he does not say this directly, it's clear from what he says that his visits had already disproved the main claims of western intelligence.

So, all that's left is the fact that there was no paper trail to prove the destruction of some quantities of mustard gas and nerve gas precursor agents. There's no evidence that they actually still existed: there was merely an absence of evidence corroborating the Iraqi government's claims that they had been destroyed (and, as it turned out, they had).

It's not much of a casus belli, is it?

And I do not share your trust in the former Iraqi Government that the weapons had been destroyed.

... but it turned out to be true.

Methinks he was not too clear on the concept of how poker works.

__________
Illigitimi non Carborundum!

You can't have it both ways.

Those who say we should not have invaded because the WMDs were not there totally miss the point. He's had 'em, used 'em, and could get them again. While he's lining 'em up, he spends his time running living people through tree shredders. If he's not taken out, it's a matter of WHEN, not IF, that WMDs end up in the hands of terrorists.

If a man is running around waving a gun (that happens to be unloaded... though we don't know that) after having shot people in the past, you don't say "We should not have taken the gun away from him because it turned out he didn't have any bullets."

Especially when his next door neighbor (who hangs out with him) is in the basement making bullets.

____________________
Illigitimi non Carborundum!

I don't see how I'm trying to have it both ways. My point is that there was plenty of evidence that should have led all of us, but most particularly our government, to conclude that it was very unlikely that Iraq had any weapons that could threaten us.

At the time, I trusted my government, to the point of assuming that when they dismissed Hans Blix, they must be right, because they knew more than he did.

Of course, history shows that Blix was right and our government was wrong. While it might not reach the pages of history, I'm also forced to conclude that I was wrong: naive and foolish to trust in the government.

Post 9/11, I let my concern for safety and desire for revenge get the better of my normal skepticism towards the efficacy of government and the competence and honesty of politicians.

I have (re-)learned my lesson.

That means that in a period of Islamist expansion (which has been on-going and increasing in volume for about thrity years now), you are chosing to put both of us at greater risk.

... but at this point, there's a reasonable case to be made that our government has made the problem worse and not better.

I'm always surprised when fellow conservatives who happily quote Reagan's great maxims on the effectiveness of big government take it on faith that they have no application to almost a quarter of the government.

At the time, I trusted my government,

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

To the contrary?

Re-read the blog on which we are commenting.

These are instances where leaders of the opposition state without equivocation that Saddam was a threat and had WMD.

Like you, they also want it both ways, as they have tried to distance themselves from what they are quoted as saying.

You stated that you did not trust the Iraqi leaders. Yet, you would have the United States and its allies do nothing while there was evidence that WMD was unaccounted for.

We could not take the chance that Saddam would not use those weapons against us either directly or by terrorist proxy.

If that had been the case and a disastrous attack had ocurred, Bush would be receiving the same criticism and condemnationfor not doing anything - after all wasn't he warned by legions of Democrats who stated that Saddam posed a threat? See blog above.

If I were you, I wouldn't be so quick to judge how history will view our role in Iraq.

The problem was that there was still plenty of evidence that those weapons still existed. Saddam's weapons, which he acknowledged possesing with the UN in the '90s included thousands of tons of VX, botulinum, sarin, etc.

Some of these were seen by UNSCOM, others he used ... so the evidence is solid that he at some point at least, had, and has used weapons of mass destruction.

Now imagine you're the President.

Now imagine that every single Intelligence agency in the world, including the CIA believed that Saddam still had weapons of mass destruction or an active program ready to start up again at a moment's notice.

Saddam is now saying that he had them, but now he does not. Why should we belive him? Where is the evidence that he destroyed them? According to the report that you cited yourself, he provided nothing to substantiate those claims.

And this is where your logic fails. Because you do not recognize that it's now a judgment call. As President, who would you trust? The "slam dunk" consensus of the American Intelligence Community or Saddam Hussein's unsubstantiated word?

...but I work with a member of the UN inspection team, and he has a very different story to tell. He also says that a few more months might have done the trick, but maintains that that extra time was what was needed to manage to gain access, not to go through the entire country with full access already having been given.

Oh, and Hans Blix isn't an inspector. He's a lawyer, and serves as a liaison.

Many conveniently forgot the burden of proof of destroying weapons was on SADDAM. The burden of proof was NOT on weapons inspectors to find weapons in a hide n seek game. Failure of Saddam to provide proof of destruction was all that was needed. Somehow the MSM and spineless liberals still have some looking to do for some integrity.

CommonCents
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things w

CC - that is correct - Saddam was in the wrong - UN said so. WMD are not and was not the issue. Saddam not giving in to inspectors was, and remains, the reason for the invasion.

The good news is that regarding despots across the globe - Saddams removal, trial, and execution will serve warning.

Plus anyone who thinks Saddam was not planning and supporting attacks on the USA, well - they would be nuts.

Saddam is a complete freak - shrines to Stalin and all that.

Great blog!

However, note that some of the quotes are from pre-2000, yet you do not cover how the evil Bush manipulated the data and fabricated the pretext for regime change, and how Cheney hoped to profit from Saddam and the overthrow of Saddam while at the levers of the evil Halliburton.

We trust you will correct these deficiencies. :>)

You don't have to answer if you don't really know or don't really care.

Common Cents (above) nailed it and we got it, even if W kinda garbled it (as usual).

that was manipulated, it was the "pre-war intelligence," because BushLied.™

***

“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.” – Ronald Reagan

How silly of me.

It would be useful if cites could be supplied for all the quotes; I have frequently had occasion to make this point, and specific cites, that can be verified, are valuable.

Isn't it funny that the French couldn't remember selling Khadaffi those centrifuges for refining uranium that he turned over to us, and nobody could find the centrifuges that they and the Germans admit having sold to Saddam? As I recall, a good portion of Khadaffi's nuclear development staff came from Iraq as well.

'Course, that didn't really have anything to do with Saddam developing nukes, right? And I'm sure Khadaffi would have outed his nuclear program anyway... invading Iraq didn't really have anything to do with it, right? And there's just no way Saddam would have ended up with any of those Libyan nukes somewhere down the road, right?

We didn't invade Iraq because we thought Saddam had WMDs. Lots of folks have WMDs. Britain has WMDs. Russia has WMDs. Israel has WMDs. China, France, Pakistan, India and Germany have WMDs. We invaded Iraq because we thought Saddam would USE his WMDs at sometime in the future if he either did have them or could have them..... or would make them available to some group like Hamas to use.

If we had not invaded Iraq, we'd now be wringing our hands over how we were going to handle a nuclear Iraq, nuclear Libya, and the LIKELIHOOD that Hamas or some similar organization already had nukes available....in addition to Iran developing them.

Excellent blog! I have some info to contribute as well for interested readers. My post is actually a distillation of information I found at the Mudville Gazette awhile back. There are plenty of quotes from Clinton administration officials and reps/Senators, and a discussion on the events leading up to the passing of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998:

http://skymusings.blogspot.com/2005/11/democrats-case-for-war-1998-1999....

 
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