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The Democrats and WMD
by Trevor Bothwell
05 February 2004WMD

Just for the record, here's what prominent Democrats have had to say about the existence of Saddam's weapons programs over the years.

David Kay, who resigned last week as chief U.S. weapons investigator in Iraq, came to the conclusion recently that "we are very unlikely to find large stockpiles of weapons. I don't think they exist."

Predictably, the Bush-lied-us-into-war crowd considers this proof that President Bush knew full well that Saddam Hussein didn't possess weapons of mass destruction, but dragged the country into war anyway.

On the contrary, Kay reported last June his suspicions that he would find chemical and biological weapons rather quickly. These suspicions were gleaned largely from interviews with Iraqi scientists and international intelligence agencies, all of which believed Saddam possessed these weapons.

That weapons stockpiles have not yet been found in Iraq should not so clearly indicate that Bush knowingly lied about their existence as it should point out that he -- not to mention Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and the United Nations Security Council -- fell victim to the same inaccurate intelligence information as did Mr. Kay. In fact, last Monday (January 26) David Kay told Tom Brokaw, "I think if anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president of the United States rather than the other way around."

Now that all indications seem to be pointing to John Kerry gaining his party's nomination for president, it will be interesting to watch the seemingly distant hopefuls -- not to mention other liberals like Ted Kennedy who have already slung accusations Bush's way regarding WMD -- to see to what lengths they'll go to try to spin Kay's remarks into further proof that Bush is a lying liar.

But just for the record, here's what prominent Democrats have had to say about the existence of Saddam's weapons programs over the years (since the war was drummed up in Tax-is, after all):

"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." -- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

"(Saddam Hussein) will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983." -- Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Clinton, Feb. 18, 1998.

"We 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 program." -- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Tom Daschle and John Kerry, among 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, Dec. 16, 1998.

"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." -- John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), ranking minority member of the Intelligence Committee, Oct. 10, 2002.

"We know that (Hussein) has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." -- Former V.P. Al Gore, during a speech in September 2002.

And finally...

"We have known for many years [many years!] that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sept. 27, 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. 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." -- Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, February 2003, during a speech at Drake University.

"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." -- Gen. Wesley Clark, Sept. 26, 2002, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee.

"We did not empower the president to do regime change," -- John Kerry on "Meet the Press," after supporting legislation in 2002 specifically citing regime change in Iraq.

For purposes of full disclosure, I've never thought the president's decision to invade Iraq should have hinged so heavily on the existence of weapons of mass destruction, if for no other reason than the failure to find them would provide the current fodder Democrats are now using to paint him as a warmonger. However, President Bush is fighting a just war, removing a brutal dictator who has manufactured chemical and biological weapons, used them against his neighbors and his own people, and contributed to the volatility of an unstable Middle East.

That said, keep this list handy once the debates heat up and the Democrats' television ads begin to air in more frequency as we draw ever nearer the November election. Then decide for yourselves which candidates are committed to keeping us safe, and which are merely committed to keeping a job.

Trevor Bothwell is the editor of The Right Report

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