Skip to comments.The Clinton Administration's Public Case Against Saddam Hussein (Must Read Repost;Loaded With Info)
Posted on 11/01/2005 4:14:38 PM PST by RWR8189
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
On November 16, Cohen made a widely reported appearance on ABC's This Week in which he placed a five-pound bag of sugar on the table and stated that that amount of anthrax "would destroy at least half the population" of Washington, D.C. Cohen explained how fast a person could die once exposed to anthrax. "One of the things we found with anthrax is that one breath and you are likely to face death within five days. One small particle of anthrax would produce death within five days." And he noted that Iraq "has had enormous amounts" of anthrax. Cohen also spoke on the extreme lethality of VX nerve agent: "One drop [of VX] from this particular thimble as such -- one single drop will kill you within a few minutes." And he reminded the world that Saddam may have enough VX to kill "millions, millions, if it were properly dispersed and through aerosol mechanisms."8
"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.
"I say this not to frighten you"
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
On November 19, at a White House signing ceremony for an adoption bill, Clinton warned that Iraq must "let the weapons inspectors resume their work to prevent Iraq from developing an arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons." To achieve this, "we are prepared to pursue whatever options are necessary" because, Clinton added, "I do not want these children we are trying to put in stable homes to grow up into a world where they are threatened by terrorists with biological and chemical weapons."14
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
But with the return of the UNSCOM, Iraqi officials began delaying entry of inspectors to "sensitive sites."16
"Clear and Present Danger"
On November 25, the Pentagon released "Proliferation: Threat and Response." A few things stand out in the report. In the section on Iraq, the word "terrorism" (in any form) is not mentioned. It is, though, cited in the sections on Libya and Iran. The report stated that Iraq "probably has hidden" chemical munitions, "may retain some missile warheads" from its old biological program, and could jump-start production of chemical and biological weapons "should UN sanctions and monitoring end or be substantially reduced."17
Cohen began his press briefing on the Pentagon report by showing a picture of a Kurdish mother and her child who had been gassed by Saddam's army. A bit later, standing besides the gruesome image, he described death on a mass scale. "One drop [of VX nerve agent] on your finger will produce death in a matter of just a few moments. Now the UN believes that Saddam may have produced as much as 200 tons of VX, and this would, of course, be theoretically enough to kill every man, woman and child on the face of the earth." He then sketched an image of a massive chemical attack on an American city. Recalling Saddam's use of poison gas and the sarin attack in Tokyo, Cohen warned that "we face a clear and present danger today" and reminded people that the "terrorist who bombed the World Trade Center in New York had in mind the destruction and deaths of some 250,000 people that they were determined to kill."
Asked whether Iraq had moved "any of his programs underground into these hardened facilities," Cohen responded that he didn't know whether Saddam had "moved these chemicals or biological agents and materials --- not only the agents themselves, but documentation .... So we don't know whether they've moved them into hardened shelters or underground bunkers." He spoke of Iraqi weapons as fact, not a probability or likelihood.18
By mid-December, the Pentagon had announced that all members of the military would be vaccinated against anthrax with the first vaccinations going to those "assigned or deployed to the high threat areas of Southwest Asia and Northeast Asia."19 At the same, time, Iraqi officials announced a ban on inspections of "presidential sites" and restricted access to other "sensitive sites." With the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaching on December 31, the administration decided that any military strike had to wait. "Dragging things out to get past Ramadan" is how a senior Clinton official characterized administration policy during this period to the Washington Post.20
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
A few days later, on February 7, Clinton, joined by Prime Minister Blair, devoted his Saturday radio address to Iraq. Noting the two were speaking from the same room where FDR and Churchill "charted our path victory in World War II," Clinton told Americans that we now face "a new nexus of threats, none more dangerous than chemical and biological weapons, and the terrorists, criminals and outlaw states that seek to acquire them." He warned that "Iraq continues to conceal chemical and biological weapon[s]," "has the "missiles that can deliver them" and "has the capacity to quickly restart production of these weapons."23
How fast Saddam could "restart production" was discussed in a 10-page U.S. Government white paper on "Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction" released on February 13.24 "In the absence of UNSCOM inspectors," the report stated, "Iraq could restart limited mustard agent production with[in] a few weeks, full-production of sarin within a few months, and pre-Gulf war production levels - including VX - within two or three years." It had a chart listing how many were killed by Saddam's chemical weapons in the 1980s. It noted that although inspections severely curtailed Iraq's wmd programs, Saddam "is actively trying to retain what remains of his wmd programs while wearing down the will of the Security Council to maintain sanctions." But, "even a small residual force of operational missiles armed with biological or chemical warheads would pose a serious threat to neighboring countries and US military forces in the region."25
It detailed the biological and chemical agents and munitions for which Iraq had not accounted. It stated that Iraq "provided no hard evidence to support claims that it destroyed all of its BW agents and munitions in 1991" and "has not supplied adequate evidence to support its claim that it destroyed all of its CW agents and munitions."26
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:
Iraq "admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability, notably, 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production. . . .
"Over the past few months, as [the weapons inspectors] have come closer and closer to rooting out Iraq's remaining nuclear capacity, Saddam has undertaken yet another gambit to thwart their ambitions by imposing debilitating conditions on the inspectors and declaring key sites which have still not been inspected off limits . . . .
"It is obvious that there is an attempt here, based on the whole history of this operation since 1991, to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, the missiles to deliver them, and the feed stocks necessary to produce them. The UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons. . . .
"Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal. . . . 29
"Madonna and Child Saddam Hussein-style"
On February 18, Secretaries Cohen and Albright and National Security Advisor Berger held a global town hall meeting on the campus of Ohio State University. They noted that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and had used them.
"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."
Berger declared that "in the 21st century, the community of nations may see more and more of this very kind of threat that Iraq poses now, a rogue state with biological and chemical weapons."
The "record will show that Saddam Hussein has produced weapons of mass destruction," Albright stated, "which he's clearly not collecting for his own personal pleasure, but in order to use." She continued: "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."30
"If the world had been firmer with Hitler"
At Tennessee State on February 19, Albright told the crowd that the world has not "seen, except maybe since Hitler, somebody who is quite as evil as Saddam Hussein." In answering a question, she sketched some of the "worse" case scenarios should Saddam "break out of the box that we kept him in."
One "scenario is that he could in fact somehow use his weapons of mass destruction."
"Another scenario is that he could kind of become the salesman for weapons of mass destruction -- that he could be the place that people come and get more weapons."
One of the lessons of history, Albright continued, is that "if you don't stop a horrific dictator before he gets started too far -- that he can do untold damage." "If the world had been firmer with Hitler earlier," said Albright, "then chances are that we might not have needed to send Americans to Europe during the Second World War."31
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:
"Resolved ... [t]hat the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations, and therefore the President is urged to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations."35
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:
"As long as Saddam remains in power and in confrontation with the world, the positive evolution we and so many would like to see in the Middle East is less likely to occur. His Iraq remains a source of potential conflict in the region, a source of inspiration for those who equate violence with power and compromise with surrender, a source of uncertainty for those who would like to see a stable region in which to invest.
"Change inside Iraq is necessary not least because it would help free the Middle East from its preoccupation with security and struggle and survival, and make it easier for its people to focus their energies on commerce and cooperation.
"For the last eight years, American policy toward Iraq has been based on the tangible threat Saddam poses to our security. That threat is clear. Saddam's history of aggression, and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance. Year after year, in conflict after conflict, Saddam has proven that he seeks weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, in order to use them."
"We will continue to contain the threat Iraq poses to its region and the world. But for all the reasons I have mentioned, President Clinton has said that over the long-term, the best way to address the challenge Iraq poses is 'through a government in Baghdad - a new government - that is committed to represent and respect its people, not repress them; that is committed to peace in the region.' Our policy toward Iraq today is to contain Saddam, but also to oppose him."41
On December 9, Iraq again resumed obstructing inspection activities and shortly thereafter UNSCOM withdrew inspectors from Iraq.42
Desert Fox and a "threat of the future"
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:
"We are now dealing with a threat, I think, that is probably harder for some to understand because it is a threat of the future, rather than a present threat, or a present act such as a border crossing, a border aggression. And here, as the president described in his statement yesterday, we are concerned about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's ability to have, develop, deploy weapons of mass destruction and the threat that that poses to the neighbors, to the stability of the Middle East, and therefore, ultimately to ourselves.45
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:
And that's one of the reasons why you haven't seen the kind of solidarity that we had before; much harder when the case is the threat of weapons of mass destruction versus Saddam Hussein setting off 600 oil wells in the field of Kuwait and seeing that kind of threat, which is real and tangible, as opposed to one which might take place some time in the future, as far as the use of his chemical and biologicals.46
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.
1. Remind the left that every single Democrat of note said in 1998 that Iraq's WMD posed a danger to the United States.
2. Remind the left that Clinton's Justice Department obtained a federal indictment of Osama bin Laden which stated that AQ had a deal with Iraq. They agreed not to attack Iraq in exchange for weapons development.
3. 9/11 Commission reaffirms Bush administration view of Iraq/AQ ties.
June 21, 2004. RNC.
4. Long List of Clinton Administration Officials who Believed There was an AQ/Iraq connection.
July 12, 2004. NewsMax.
5. List of CIA and various Reports regarding Iraq's support for terrorists, terrorism and AQ.
September 16, 2004. The Weekly Standard.
6. Osama bin Laden was considered an Iraqi Intelligence asset.
October 14, 2004. National Review.
Funny how in the 90's the world was concerned about the growing relationship between OBL and Saddam and now the left is revising history.
Saddam reaching out to OBL
January 1, 1999. Newsweek
ABC news reports on the Osama/Saddam connections
January 14, 1999. ABC News
Osama and Saddam Work Together
January 27, 1999. Laurie Mylroie interview. She is a former Clinton terrorism czar.
A Much Shunned Terrorist Takes Refuge In Iraq (Abu Nidal)
New York Times. January 1999.
Western Nightmare: Saddam and OBL versus the World. Iraq recruited OBL.
February 6, 1999. The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,12469,798270,00.html
Saddam's Link to OBL
February 6, 1999. The Guardian
Saddam offered asylum to bin Laden
February 13, 1999. AP
Son of Saddam coordinates with OBL.
Iraqi Special Ops coordinates with Bin Laden's terrorist activities.
August 6, 1999. Yossef Bodansky, National Press Club
That and more here:
Awesome resource. Thanks.
Unless this information is printed in the MSM, it means not much. It is not good enough for us to know, we already had much of the information, but the deaf ears of the sick will never know. The RATS control millions and they will be kept captive with lies, and distorted reporting.
December 18,1998 was the day the articles of impeachment were adopted. Saddam showed his disdain for the fecklessness of Desert Fox by making permanent the expulsion of the inspectors. Thus the "umpire had had sand thrown in his eyes"for 4 years before Bush acted on the dire predictions of the Clinton gang.
An "incredibly relevant" post and BUMP!! Thank you so much for posting this, RWR8189. chena
Great stuff! I don't know how you keep track of all of this but thanks for all you do.
Bookmarked for later.
If "Bush lied" in 2003 about the intelligence THEY developed in 1998, can we expect to see the resignations of all the current leaders of the Democrat Senate Caucus in the "news" tomorrow?