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Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2004/ 28 Teves, 5764

Larry Elder

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On WMDS — what did the Dems say?

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Did Saddam Hussein and his interest in weapons of mass destruction pose a threat to the United States? Just ask the Democrats.


Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D), appearing on "Face the Nation" in September 2002, said, "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies." In February 2003, during an address at Drake University, Dean said, "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, on "Meet the Press" in March 2003, said he believed that Iraq "is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons." Yet, in his now familiar flip-flop style, candidate Dean later declared, "I never said Saddam was a danger to the United States."

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In the left-leaning New Republic, Ryan Lizza wrote: "Did Howard Dean actually support a war resolution giving Bush authority to attack Iraq? The answer is: pretty much.


. . . Dean himself admitted . . . that he did indeed support (the Biden-Lugar resolution). . . . According to Biden-Lugar, all Bush had to do was 'make available to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate his determination that the threat to the United States or allied nations posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program and prohibited ballistic missile program is so grave that the use of force is necessary, notwithstanding the failure of the Security Council to approve a resolution.' Isn't this exactly what happened?"


Gen. Wesley Clark, before he became an anti-war Democratic presidential candidate, testified on Sept. 26, 2002, before the House Armed Services Committee: "There's no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to take the actions they deem necessary in their self-defense. . . . Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He's done so without multilateral support if necessary. He's done so in advance of conflict if necessary. . . . When we took action in Kosovo, we did not have United Nations approval. . . . 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 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.


". . . I want to underscore that I think the United States should not categorize this action as pre-emptive. . . . This is a problem that's longstanding. It's been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this. . . . There's no question that . . . there have been such contacts (between Iraq and al Qaeda). It's normal. It's natural. These are a lot of bad actors in the same region together. They are going to bump into each other. They are going to exchange information. They're going to feel each other out and see whether there are opportunities to cooperate. That's inevitable in this region, and I think it's clear that, regardless of whether or not such evidence is produced of these connections, that Saddam Hussein is a threat."


Former President Bill Clinton, more recently, visited Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso in October 2003. The prime minister said, "When Clinton was here recently he told me he 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."


John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), ranking minority member of the Intelligence Committee, said on Oct. 10, 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."


So, forget President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the pro-war "neo-cons." Just listen to the Democrats. On the issue of the "unilateral" invasion of Iraq, they make a pretty strong case.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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