Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"You have to decide..."

Several times since the Republican misadventure in Iraq turned sour, I have been told by a few defenders of the decision to invade that "even Bill Clinton believed Saddam had WMD". These folks seem to think that means he also supported the invasion.

I have known that was not true. I am glad, now, to be able to give chapter and verse. A transcript of President Clinton's remarks of March 14, 2003 -- less than a week before the invasion -- has been posted at the Hillary Clinton website. Here are some excerpts:
"... you have to decide if it matters whether we bend over backwards to try to disarm him in a way that strengthens rather than divides the world community. If you don’t think it matters, then you’re with a lot of the people in the current administration...

[Saddam]'s finally destroying his missiles, so let’s give him a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. ... I’m for regime change too, but there’s more than one way to do it. We don’t invade everybody whose regime we want to change..."
I, like President Clinton, believed President Bush was acting foolishly in the months leading up to March of 2003. I was quite vociferous about that, despite the ridicule of a whole gaggle of my Republican friends. I saw an administration hyping the case for preemptive war. They may have believed some of what they said about WMD, but they blatently hyped it. They knew Saddam was not an immediate threat to the US and they knew Saddam was unconnected to the terrorist attacks of 2001 (and never SAID he was, as they are quick to point out) but blatently lied about the first and actively promoted the second impression, and those misconceptions became majority assumptions in the US. The Machiavellian neo-cons viewed war as an exercise of the unique power of the world's only remaining superpower. It was an opportunity, the neo-cons seemed to think, that the US should not pass up. From slimy politics, to slippery slope, to free fall.

What a different and better world this would be today if the election of 2000 had not been compromised.

What a difference it will make for our country if in 2008 we can elect a statesman (or woman) to repair the tragic mistakes of the Republicans. I will be thrilled to support Edwards, Biden, Clinton, Obama, or Dodd.

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