Democrats Speak Out on Iraq

Because I'm lazy, I generally try to avoid putting overly topical things on my site. But I'm so sick of the "Bush lied" crap that I've finally decided to give the other side a hearing. To be fair, members of the disloyal opposition are now suggesting that all of these statements are misleading -- if not flagrantly dishonest.

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.
Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

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.
Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 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.
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

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

[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, signed by:
Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 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.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

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

There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. 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.
Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001

We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons...
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 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.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ...
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

And finally, there's this rather long statement by no less a personage than the Secretary of Defense:

April 2, 1998
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen

In any event, having said that, has he complied? The answer is right now that he is imposing no barriers to the inspectors who are going from room to room and from palace to palace. But we should not be deceived by the fact that they're not finding anything. I want you to think about this in concrete terms. It is virtually impossible to take a table the size of this head table here, 20 people or 30 people, turn them loose in a country the size of the State of Wyoming -- 170,000 square miles -- looking for chemically or biologically tipped needles in haystacks that are spread over that country.

To say we walked into a room, we haven't found anything, they must be complying. If that is the test, we lose. That should not be the test and it cannot be the test. That is only part of the effort that is underway.

The other part is, Saddam Hussein is under an affirmative obligation to prove that he has destroyed what he claims he had in his inventory, so keep this also in mind. The Iraqi government, the officials, had lied consistently about their having chemical and biological weapons.

Initially after the Persian Gulf War, they said we don't have any biological weapons. Then, of course, we found out that they had some 2100 gallons of anthrax. They said we don't have any chemical weapons and we found they had four tons of VX. A single drop of VX on your finger and you will die within a matter of minutes. A single spore of anthrax and you will die within a matter of four or five days. So when you're talking about 2,000 or 3,000 gallons of anthrax and four tons of VX...

They're also developing something called ricin which you take out of castor beans. Castor beans can be used to produce something we all loved as a child, in our childhood days, and that's castor oil. It can also produce ricin which is a deadly poison for which there is no antidote. Guess what? They were growing hundreds of acres of castor beans. But all of this they claim they destroyed.

There's only one problem -- they can't produce any evidence that showed when, how, where, under what circumstances it has been destroyed. That has been the problem as far as the UNSCOM inspectors are concerned. They have asked the Iraqi authorities, show us. Where did you destroy it? Where are the records? You keep records on everything in terms of how many ball point pens you manufactured during the 1980s. Where are the records in terms of the VX and the anthrax and the castor beans and ricin? They have been unable to produce such records.

In fact about a month ago, prior to the resolution of this memorandum of agreement, Tariq Aziz had requested a new team, an evaluation team, to come in and make an assessment. It was headed by a Russian at the request of Tariq Aziz. That team went into Iraq, and they came back and said, filed a report saying, the Iraqis have failed to comply with the UN resolutions. They are still stalling. They are still hiding. They are not producing evidence of what they have destroyed.

So what we have to do, and to do it now, is to make it very clear to Saddam Hussein, it's not enough to open up your palace doors. Whether you have 8 or whether you have 80 -- they have about 80 of those palatial estates, some of which occupy hundreds of acres, thousands of acres of land. It's not enough to open up your doors. It's not enough to enter the empty rooms. It's not enough to look at your computers and find the delete button has been pushed. What you have to do is to supply information to the UNSCOM inspectors that says now we're satisfied. You claim you destroyed 50 SCUD missiles that are armed with anthrax. We can only find evidence of 30 having been destroyed. Where are the other 20? You claim you've destroyed 130,000 pounds of precursor chemicals. Where is the evidence that you destroyed it and where did you destroy it?

So they've got all of these questions to answer, and we have to lay that marker down now. If we don't, what's going to happen, I can assure you, is that we'll have more of these inspections; they will turn up little, if anything. Then there will be pressure on the United States to relieve the Iraqi people of any sanctions, and that is his goal -- get rid of the inspectors, get rid of the sanctions, and he can go back to doing business again.

If we, at the last moment, come in and say, by the way you haven't given us evidence of the destruction of those weapons, it will look as if we're moving the goal posts once again at the last moment. No one will be there to support us.

So this is something that we have to focus on now, and not allow that to slip. Until that's done, we cannot claim there has been any successful resolution of this crisis.

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