Skip to comments.Kerry: "We must be firm with Saddam Hussein" (Senate - November 9, 1997)
Posted on 10/01/2004 10:20:40 AM PDT by edfrank_1998
found via searching (keyword "hussein" and selected SEN Kerry): http://thomas.loc.gov/home/r105query.html
WE MUST BE FIRM WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN (Senate - November 09, 1997)
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I will speak tomorrow on the subject of fast track. I wish to talk this evening about another subject that has not received as much conversation on the floor of the Senate as it merits--because, while we have been focused on fast track and on a lot of loose ends which must be tied up before this first session of the 105th Congress can be brought to a close, a very troubling situation has developed in the Middle East that has ominous implications, not just for our national security but literally for the security of all civilized and law-abiding areas of the world.
Even after the overwhelming defeat that the coalition forces visited upon Iraq in and near Kuwait in the Desert Storm conflict, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's truculence has continued unabated. In the final days of that conflict, a fateful decision was made not to utterly vanquish the Iraqi Government and armed forces, on the grounds that to do so would leave a risky vacuum, as some then referred to it, in the Middle East which Iran or Syria or other destabilizing elements might move to fill.
But instead of reforming his behavior after he was handed an historic defeat, Saddam Hussein has continued to push international patience to the very edge. The United Nations, even with many member nations which strongly favor commerce over conflict, has established and maintained sanctions designed to isolate Iraq, keep it too weak to threaten other nations, and push Saddam Hussein to abide by accepted norms of national behavior. These sanctions have cost Iraq over $100 billion and have significantly restrained his economy. They unavoidably also have exacted a very high price from the Iraqi people, but this has not appeared to bother Saddam Hussein in the least. Nor have the sanctions succeeded in obtaining acceptable behavior from Saddam .
Now, during the past 2 weeks, Saddam again has raised his obstinately uncooperative profile. We all know of his announcement that he will no longer permit United States citizens to participate in the U.N. inspection team searching Iraq for violations of the U.N. requirement that Iraq not build or store weapons of mass destruction. And he has made good on his announcement. The UNSCOM inspection team, that is, the United Nations Special Commission team, has been refused access to its inspection targets throughout the week and once again today because it has Americans as team members. While it is not certain, it is not unreasonable to assume that Saddam's action may have been precipitated by the fear that the U.N. inspectors were getting uncomfortably close to discovering some caches of reprehensible weapons of mass destruction, or facilities to manufacture them, that many have long feared he is doing everything in his power to build, hide, and hoard.
Another reason may be that Saddam Hussein, who unquestionably has demonstrated a kind of perverse personal resiliency, may be looking at the international landscape and concluding that, just perhaps, support may be waning for the United States's determination to keep him on a short leash via multilateral sanctions and weapons inspections. This latest action may, indeed, be his warped idea of an acid test of that conclusion.
We should all be encouraged by the reactions of many of our allies, who are evincing the same objections to Iraq's course that are prevalent here in the United States. There is an inescapable reality that, after all of the effort of recent years, Saddam Hussein remains the international outlaw he was when he invaded Kuwait. For most of a decade he has set himself outside international law, and he has sought to avoid the efforts of the international community to insist that his nation comport itself with reasonable standards of behavior and, specifically, not equip itself with implements of mass destruction which it has shown the willingness to use in previous conflicts.
Plainly and simply, Saddam Hussein cannot be permitted to get away with his antics, or with this latest excuse for avoidance of international responsibility.
Mr. President, I could explore other possible ominous consequences of letting Saddam Hussein proceed unchecked. The possible scenarios I have referenced really are only the most obvious possibilities. What is vital is that Americans understand, and that the Security Council understand, that there is no good outcome possible if he is permitted to do anything other than acquiesce to continuation of U.N. inspections.
As the world's only current superpower, we have the enormous responsibility not to exhibit arrogance, not to take any unwitting or unnecessary risks, and not to employ armed force casually. But at the same time it is our responsibility not to shy away from those confrontations that really matter in the long run. And this matters in the long run.
While our actions should be thoughtfully and carefully determined and structured, while we should always seek to use peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve serious problems before resorting to force, and while we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis whenever that is possible, if in the final analysis we face what we truly believe to be a grave threat to the well-being of our Nation or the entire world and it cannot be removed peacefully, we must have the courage to do what we believe is right and wise.
I believe this is such a situation, Mr. President. It is a time for resolve. Tomorrow we must make that clear to the Security Council and to the world.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Did anyone catch the name of the writer that Rush was reading from today, noon Central Time. It NAILED Kerry. I didn't hear the name of the author. Freepmail me if you know.