Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Iraq Short Memories by Robert Kagan

Hat tip www.RealClearPolitics.com for links to On Iraq, Short Memories by Robert Kagan that ran in the Washington Post on Monday, September 12, 2005.

Kagan claims that the need to militarily intervene in Iraq was clearly established by liberals and Clinton Administration officials. Do they now remember what they said then? Some examples he notes are:

U.N. Weapons Inspector Richard Butler
“the book Butler published in 2000, "The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Growing Crisis of Global Security," in which the chief U.N. inspector, after years of chasing around Iraq, wrote with utter certainty that Hussein had weapons and was engaged in a massive effort to conceal them from the world. "This is Saddam Hussein's regime," Butler wrote: "cruel, lying, intimidating, and determined to retain weapons of mass destruction."

Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
“compare Hussein to Hitler and warn that if not stopped, "he could in fact somehow use his weapons of mass destruction" or "could kind of become the salesman for weapons of mass destruction."

Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen
“Cohen appearing on television with a five-pound bag of sugar and explaining that that amount of anthrax "would destroy at least half the population" of Washington, D.C. Even as late as September 2002, Gore gave a speech insisting that Hussein "has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
“concluded that Hussein's continued rule was dangerous, if not intolerable. Albright called explicitly for his ouster as a precondition for lifting sanctions”

Former New York Democratic Congressman Stephen Solarz
Signed group letter that "any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq."

Former Clinton officials, including deputy national security adviser James Steinberg, ambassador Peter Galbraith, ambassador Dennis Ross, ambassador Martin Indyk, Ivo Daalder, Ronald Asmus and ambassador Robert Gelbard.
“broad bipartisan support for removing Hussein right up to the eve of the war. In March 2003, just before the invasion, [all] signed a letter in support of the war”

Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen
I recall a column on this page by my colleague Richard Cohen on March 11, 2003,[When Peace Is No Better Than War] shortly before the invasion. He argued that "It has oscillated from disarmament to regime change to bringing democracy to the Arab world. It has linked Hussein with al Qaeda when no such link has been established. It has warned of an imminent Iraqi nuclear program when, it seems, that's not the case. And it has managed, in a tour de force of inept diplomacy, to alienate much of the world, including some of our traditional allies."

Despite all that, however, and despite acknowledging that "war is bad -- very, very bad," Cohen argued that it was necessary to go to war anyway. "[S]ometimes peace is no better, especially if all it does is postpone a worse war," and that "is what would happen if the United States now pulled back. . . . Hussein would wait us out. . . . If, at the moment, he does not have nuclear weapons, it's not for lack of trying. He had such a program once and he will have one again -- just as soon as the world loses interest and the pressure on him is relaxed." In the meantime, Cohen wrote, Hussein would "He will continue to oppress and murder his own people . . . and resume support of terrorism abroad.”

See Prior Posts:
Iraq war - Did President Bush Lie?

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