Skip to comments.(A MUST READ) The Clinton Administration's Public Case Against Saddam Hussein
Posted on 11/12/2005 9:10:44 AM PST by doug from upland
"The [Bush] Administration did not hesitate to heighten and distort public fear of terrorism after September 11th, to create a political case for attacking Iraq."
-- Former Vice President Al Gore, February 5, 2004
The Clinton Administration's Public Case Against Saddam Hussein
In June of 1997, Iraq officials had ratcheted up their obstruction of UNSCOM inspection efforts. They interfered with UNSCOM air operations and denied and delayed access of inspectors to sites. In September, they burned documents at sites while inspectors watched outside the front entrance. By mid-November, Saddam Hussein had demanded an end to U-2 surveillance flights over Iraq and called on American inspectors to leave Iraq.1 Iraqis also began moving equipment that could produce weapons of mass destruction out of the range of video cameras inspectors had installed inside key industrial facilities.2
At first, the Clinton administration adopted a generally reserved tone toward Saddam's provocations. "We believe that he needs to fulfill all the Security Council obligations and that that is an appropriate way to deal with him," commented Secretary Albright at a November 5 press conference with the German foreign minister.3
The next day Secretary Cohen held a ceremony unrelated to Iraq, but, citing "an unusual array" of journalists present, he also spoke on Iraq. "[I]t's imperative that Iraq comply with U.N. mandates," said Cohen, but "the task right now, however, is to persuade them to cease and desist from their obstruction." And when asked what would be the consequences should Saddam not comply, Cohen said simply, "it's important that we not speculate what those reactions might be."4
Striking a similar tone on November 10 at the Pentagon, Vice President Gore stated that "Saddam has taken steps that interfere with the ability of the inspection team to carry out its mission." He added, "The procedure chosen to deal with this situation is to engage him in discussions in which he can be made aware that this is not a smart thing for him to do, and he ought to change his mind."5
But Saddam remained defiant. So on Friday, November 14, President Clinton and his top advisors met at the White House and decided to launch a public campaign to build support for a possible war against Iraq.
"Prepare the Country for War"
The New York Times reported that at the November 14 meeting the "White House decided to prepare the country for war." According to the Times, "[t]he decision was made to begin a public campaign through interviews on the Sunday morning television news programs to inform the American people of the dangers of biological warfare."6 During this time, the Washington Post reported that President Clinton specifically directed Cohen "to raise the profile of the biological and chemical threat."7
"The War of Words Grows; U.S.: Poisons Are World Threat" headlined the New York Daily News Monday morning.9 CBS News said the White House had begun "a new tack, warning in the darkest possible terms of the damage which Saddam Hussein could inflict with his chemical and biological weapons."10 And in "America the Vulnerable; A disaster is just waiting to happen if Iraq unleashes its poison and germs," Time wrote that "officials in Washington are deeply worried about what some of them call 'strategic crime.' By that they mean the merging of the output from a government's arsenals, like Saddam's biological weapons, with a group of semi-independent terrorists, like radical Islamist groups, who might slip such bioweapons into the U.S. and use them."11
This message was echoed in a series of remarks President Clinton delivered the same week.
In Sacramento, November 15, Clinton painted a bleak future if nations did not cooperate against "organized forces of destruction," telling the audience that only a small amount of "nuclear cake put in a bomb would do ten times as much damage as the Oklahoma City bomb did." Effectively dealing with proliferation and not letting weapons "fall into the wrong hands" is "fundamentally what is stake in the stand off we're having in Iraq today."
He asked Americans to not to view the current crisis as a "replay" of the Gulf War in 1991. Instead, "think about it in terms of the innocent Japanese people that died in the subway when the sarin gas was released [by the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo in 1995]; and how important it is for every responsible government in the world to do everything that can possibly be done not to let big stores of chemical or biological weapons fall into the wrong hands, not to let irresponsible people develop the capacity to put them in warheads on missiles or put them in briefcases that could be exploded in small rooms. And I say this not to frighten you."12
Again in Wichita, November 17, Clinton said that what happens in Iraq "matters to you, to your children and to the future, because this is a challenge we must face not just in Iraq but throughout the world. We must not allow the 21st century to go forward under a cloud of fear that terrorists, organized criminals, drug traffickers will terrorize people with chemical and biological weapons the way the nuclear threat hung over the heads of the whole world through the last half of this century. That is what is at issue."13
In Washington, D.C., November 21, Clinton applauded the return of UNSCOM inspectors that day (after a three week absence) "to proceed with their work without interference, to find, to destroy, to prevent Iraq from rebuilding nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to carry them." He added: "We must not let our children be exposed to the indiscriminate availability and potential abuse and actual use of the biological and chemical and smaller-scale nuclear weapons which could terrorize the 21st century," said Clinton.15
With the end of Ramadan on January 29 and Saddam still failing to comply with his commitment to the U.N. to disarm, Clinton officials resumed public efforts to make the case on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
Secretary Albright flew to the Middle East to drum up support for possible war.21 "Saddam Hussein, armed with chemical and biological weapons, is a threat to the international community," she told journalists in Bahrain.22
The white paper also discussed Iraqi nuclear activity.
Under the White Paper's "nuclear weapons" section, it observed: "Baghdad's interest in acquiring nuclear or developing nuclear weapons has not diminished"; "we have concerns that scientists may be pursuing theoretical nuclear research that would reduce the time required to produce a weapon should Iraq acquire sufficient fissile material"; "Iraq continues to withhold significant information about enrichment techniques, foreign procurement, weapons design, and the role of Iraq's security and intelligence services in obtaining external assistance and coordinating postwar concealment."27
On February 17, President Clinton spoke on the steps of the Pentagon. The president declared that the great danger confronting the U.S. and its allies was the "threat Iraq poses now-a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed." Before the Gulf War of 1991, he noted, "Saddam had built up a terrible arsenal, and he had used it. Not once, but many times in a decade-long war with Iran, he used chemical weapons against combatants, against civilians, against a foreign adversary and even against his own people."28
Clinton furthered explained that:
"Saddam Hussein," Cohen said "has developed an arsenal of deadly chemical and biological weapons. He has used these weapons repeatedly against his own people as well as Iran. I have a picture which I believe CNN can show on its cameras, but here's a picture taken of an Iraqi mother and child killed by Iraqi nerve gas. This is what I would call Madonna and child Saddam Hussein-style."
Four days later, February 23, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reached a deal with Saddam for inspections of presidential sites. The Security Council endorsed the agreement on March 2 with UNSC Resolution 1154, which warned of the "severest consequences" should Iraq break the agreement. But within a few months, Saddam was again obstructing U.N. inspectors.
On May 22, 1998, President Clinton delivered a speech reminiscent of the comments he made on February 17 at the Pentagon.
The president warned Annapolis graduates that our enemies "may deploy compact and relatively cheap weapons of mass destruction - not just nuclear, but also chemical or biological, to use disease as a weapon of war. Sometimes the terrorists and criminals act alone. But increasingly, they are interconnected, and sometimes supported by hostile countries." The U.S. will work to "prevent the spread and use of biological weapons and to protect our people in the event these terrible weapons are ever unleashed by a rogue state or terrorist group or an international criminal organization." This protection will include "creating stockpiles of medicines and vaccines to protect our civilian population against the kind of biological agents our adversaries are most likely to obtain or develop."32
On August 5, 1998, Iraq halted no-notice inspections by UNSCOM but allowed UNSCOM's monitoring activities to continue.33
On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed public law 105-235, "Iraqi Breach of International Obligations," which had passed the Senate unanimously and by a vote of 407-6 in the House.34 Among the law's findings: "Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threaten vital United States interests and international peace and security." It concluded:
Six days later, August 20, the U.S. launched missiles strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan. According to the September 1, 1998 Washington Post, a U.S. intelligence operation "to investigate Sudan's nascent chemical weapons program ultimately linked Al Shifa [a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory] to Iraq's chemical weapons programs...."36
On October 31, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM.37 The same day President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which declared that "[i]t should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."38 In signing the Act, the President stated that the U.S. "looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life."39
Two week later, November 14, Iraq resumed cooperation with UNSCOM, averting U.S and British air strikes.40
On December 8, National Security Advisor Berger delivered an address at Stanford University on U.S. policy on Iraq. He stated:
On December 9, Iraq again resumed obstructing inspection activities and shortly thereafter UNSCOM withdrew inspectors from Iraq.42
On December 16, 1998, President Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox, a four-day missile and bombing attack on Iraq. "I acted quickly because, as my military advisors stressed, the longer we waited, the more time Saddam would have to disburse his forces and protect his arsenal," Clinton explained in his December 19 radio address to the nation. "Our mission is clear: to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction."43 (It should be noted that on July 27, 2003 President Clinton assessed the effectiveness of Desert Fox. He stated: "When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know." )44
Secretary Albright held a briefing on Desert Fox and was asked how she would respond to those who say that unlike the 1991 Gulf War this campaign "looks like mostly an Anglo-American mission." She answered:
Secretary Cohen replied much the same way to comments made in March of 1998 by Senator Campbell of Colorado, who chided the administration for not keeping the "coalition together" during an Appropriations Committee hearing. Cohen responded:
On December 19, Saddam Hussein declared that inspectors would never be allowed back in Iraq.47 Inspectors wouldn't return to Iraq for five years.
Great post Doug.
The only thing missing is the failed coup attempt that Clinton's CIA tried to engineer in 1996. Due to its failure, we lost alot of humint in Iraq; made the truth harder to get to in 2000/2001/2002.
You're right, the MSM tries to hide the facts by not presenting them. Like, See BS could have a 10 hour version of 60 Minutes just covering all the statements by leading Democrats and Clintonistas about what a threat Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed. But that wouldn't fit their agenda. The GOOD NEWS is that blogs like this and internet sources in general make the MSM obsolete. The last place to look for news is ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, Washington Post, NY Times, Boston Globe, Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, etc., etc. They are all obsolete, with shallow, dumbed-down coverage, "reporting" inaccurate info and even lies. The current issue of Forbes even has a cover story attacking blogs in general, and an editorial piece supporting the notion of "global warming" as scientifically correct! Hey, who needs socialists when you can read Forbes? :)-
The *Crintons bring out everyone in their defense from the felon Berger to the cleaning lady if they have to. I don't recall Cohen being ANYWHERE speaking about ANYTHING that happened on his watch.
You are simply amazing. Bookmarked. Thanks. :)
Very interesting reading, Gang. Not specifically Wisconsin-related, but very noteworthy.
That is an excellent idea, Doug. This information has got to see the light of day as often and as many places as possible. It's not just the MSM that's covering this up. My son is in 10th grade, and he might well be the only kid in his school who knows a single thing about the 1st Gulf War, or that it even happened, much less the fact that thousands of tons of WMDs were found and destroyed by us.
The history of our nation defending itself and it's allies has simply not been taught in this state, or at least not in the district he's in, yet there's been plenty of indoctrination lectures by groups such as the "young demoncrats". Jim McDermott tells one auditorium full of high schoolers that because of the republicans, anyone over 15 is going to drafted into the Iraq war, while a dozen counties away Patty Murray is touting Osama Bin Laden's progressive social programs.
Unless these kids have been taught by their parents and pressured to balance their tv time watching "friends" with the History channel and War Stories with Oliver North, none of know enough to know when they're getting lied to. We need to find a way to reach Generation X.
Print this out from the original source and have you son take it to his teacher.
Great info here. Don't miss it.
Has this ever been posted before? I don't ever remember seeing this.
If it was, I never saw it. This is all new to me.
Doh! It has been published here three times. How did I miss this?
Well, I missed it too, so don't feel bad.
Did you know Kerry was in Vietnam!?
Great work, Doug.
Great work was done earlier by other FReepers. I missed this the first three times.
Save for later reading.