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WARNING: Gathering WMD storm a crock. See what Clinton told nation in 1998...
CNN archives ^ | 6/2/03 (from 12/98 speech) | Bill Clinton

Posted on 06/02/2003 6:14:58 PM PDT by Wolfstar

Edited on 04/29/2004 2:02:38 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Before anyone goes too far down the road of trying to bring down either the Bush or Blair administrations over questions about where the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction are, a short detour into recent history is in order.

CLINTON: Good evening.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 1998; bush; clinton; iraq; notagainandagain; wmd; x42
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In October 1998, Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made regime change in Iraq the national policy of the United States. He gave the above speech in December 1998. As was typical for Clinton, he failed to carry through on this very tough speech. His military action was half-hearted, short-lived, and seemingly undertaken as a means to distract from the impeachment process then underway. But the point relevant to today is that the entire top echelon of the Clinton administration were saying the exact same things the Bush administration had been saying in the 14-month lead-up to this year's overthrow of Saddam Hussein. President Bush and his team merely followed through on what the United States Congress, the Clinton administration (and Tony Blair) started back in 1998.
1 posted on 06/02/2003 6:14:59 PM PDT by Wolfstar
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To: Wolfstar
2 posted on 06/02/2003 6:17:37 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (
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To: Wolfstar
You do not seem to understand the Left. It does not matter what Bill Clinton said or did. They (the Left) know that what matters is what they can make people believe today.

Yesterday is history. A history they are trying to rewrite, as we speak. The let fully beieves that most votersare to stupid to pay attention to trivial things like the facts.

And unfortunately, they are all too often right.

3 posted on 06/02/2003 6:29:23 PM PDT by Michael.SF. ('Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on Paul's vote' - G. B. Shaw (mod.))
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To: Fiddlstix; Howlin; The Great Satan; OldFriend; rintense; kattracks; ladyinred
The fact that the Senate scumbags from both parties are going to investigate the Bush administration stinks to high heaven. Most senators were in office in 1998, voted for the Iraq Liberation Act, and knew what the evidence was then. They set a policy of regime change in motion. What did they base THEIR actions on?
4 posted on 06/02/2003 6:31:53 PM PDT by Wolfstar (If we don't re-elect GWB, who is a truly great President, we're NUTS!)
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To: Wolfstar
"Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America."--President William J. B. Clinton

And, 48 hours later, with God's blessings, the impeachment vote was taken...

5 posted on 06/02/2003 6:37:30 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE.)
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To: Wolfstar
6 posted on 06/02/2003 6:39:04 PM PDT by redbaiter
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To: Michael.SF.
This is one subject and one time when I refuse to just sit back and let events wash over me. Septemebr 11th, 2001 and the follow-on anthrax attacks changed everything for me about the way I see politics and foreign affairs. A witch-hunt into the Iraqi WMD question is and would be based on a FALSE PREMISE — that there were no WMD. Well, Hussein USED chemical weapons on his own people and on Iranians. Iraqi defectors told anyone who would listen that Hussein was stockpiling WMD. Hussein's own army had gas masks and chemical weapons protective suits on the battlefield as our soldiers were racing toward Baghdad this Spring.

If Hussein had no WMD, what were the last 12 years of inspections, and bombings, and U.N. resolutions all about?

7 posted on 06/02/2003 6:40:20 PM PDT by Wolfstar (If we don't re-elect GWB, who is a truly great President, we're NUTS!)
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To: Michael.SF.
They (the Left) know that what matters is what they can make people believe today.


8 posted on 06/02/2003 6:45:58 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Wolfstar
"If Hussein had no WMD, what were the last 12 years of inspections, and bombings, and UN resolutions all about?"

You answered your own question.....UN....anti American a$$hole's paying off terrorists like Saddam and his evil sons in order to make oil deals. In short, they gave to get!
9 posted on 06/02/2003 6:49:31 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: Wolfstar
This is good. Check out Rush's website ... he hammered this all day today.
10 posted on 06/02/2003 6:53:31 PM PDT by holdonnow
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To: Wolfstar
An attack on Iraq would of never happened back in 1998. You should know the reasons already but if you would like them explained to you, then start by going back to September 11th 2001 and you might find an answer.
11 posted on 06/02/2003 6:56:07 PM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: Wolfstar
Thanks for a great post!
12 posted on 06/02/2003 7:00:16 PM PDT by trustandobey
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To: Wolfstar
Some very good points are made in this post, but it just feels dirty to use arguments made from the man who finds an angle on is.
13 posted on 06/02/2003 7:09:08 PM PDT by TBall
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To: Wolfstar
The "Former Occupnat of the Oval Office, 1993-2001" had access to reasonably good intelligence from the field, despite efforts to emasculate and dissuade the active intelligence services of the United States. Even in their enervated state, the CIA and other less publicized organizations was still picking up some very disturbing signals. But this same intelligence, transmitted by back channels to agents of the Saddam Hussein regime, would telegraph the probable course of action to be taken to conceal these targeted WMD, and ease off a lot of pressure for the domestic regime of the "Former Occupnat of the Oval Office, 1993-2001" to do anything at all about the Iraq problem. So while a great deal of noise was being made at the time, in 1998, to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein from power, an equally massive effort was being exerted to hustle the suspected objects of the search as far from scrutiny as possible. There were over four years to carry out this strategy.
14 posted on 06/02/2003 7:16:21 PM PDT by alloysteel
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To: Wolfstar
thanks for posting this
15 posted on 06/02/2003 7:22:31 PM PDT by votelife (FREE MIGUEL ESTRADA!)
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To: Wolfstar
Great catch. I do recall him saying these things, glad you found the transcripts!
16 posted on 06/02/2003 7:25:18 PM PDT by MizSterious (Support whirled peas!)
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To: Wolfstar
"First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years"

And yet, when the inspection team was kicked out - x42 did NOTHING to put the inspection team back in. x42 was right - the USA had lost it's will to enforce the UN demands. The reason was ... the leader of the USA didn't have the courage to do anything!!
17 posted on 06/02/2003 7:32:32 PM PDT by CyberAnt ( America - You Are The Greatest!!)
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To: Wolfstar
International Reactions to US Strikes on Iraq - December 17, 1998
Some interesting quotes I found & posted here. (Notice it was never called "Clinton's War"?)

Oh, and what ever happened to this story??? Some interesting tid bits --

Blix gives Iraq a week to start destroying missiles
Agence France-Presse 2/22/03

Exerpt: "However, in Tehran, where he is on a delicate mission to inspect Iranian sites Washington suspects are hiding a nuclear weapons programme, (Mohamed) ElBaradei said: "We have not yet finished our work and Iraq is not yet fully cooperating with us. "We particularly don't have full access to Iraqi scientists and we hope that Iraq would cooperate in the coming weeks..."

Makin' any progress there in Tehran, Mr. ElBaradei??.... (sound of crickets)... Didn't think so.

"... Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak expressed fears that it was already too late to avoid a war in Iraq, as American and British troops in the region were already on a war footing. "American and British troops are already on a war footing in the region, that's a big problem.

Will they be prepared to withdraw if Saddam Hussein shows that he no longer has weapons of mass destruction?"
he said in an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

18 posted on 06/02/2003 7:41:02 PM PDT by 24-7Freeper
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To: Wolfstar
I posted this same 1998 Clinton transcript last night in this thread:

I posted this related article in that same thread, too:

INSIGHT mag - Powell's trip to Syria.

The May 3 meeting in the presidential palace on the hilltop overlooking Damascus was short and to the point.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, flanked by State Department Arabists, told Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that the U.S. victory in Iraq had changed the way America plans to do business in the Middle East.

The days of the cozy deals and of winking and nodding at Syrian support for terrorism were ended. He then presented Assad with a list of U.S. demands that was nothing short of breathtaking.

Powell told the Syrian president that the United States requires him to help in the search for hidden Iraqi weapons.

The United States believes the weapons were taken in convoys of tanker trucks to Syria last fall, along with key production equipment, and buried in the Syrian desert shortly before U.N. arms inspectors returned to Iraq.

Powell demanded that Syria locate and turn over Iraqi weapons scientists and top-ranking Ba'ath Party officials who had been granted sanctuary by Syria once Gulf War II began.

He also summoned Assad to close terrorist offices in Damascus and to shut down terrorist training camps in Lebanon.

Even more chilling for Assad: Powell informed him, and repeated this demand in public in Beirut, that the United States expected Syria to end its 27-year military occupation of Lebanon, where it continues to control all prime ministers and puppet presidents in utter defiance of the popular will.

For Syria's power elite Lebanon has been a cash cow, feeding luxurious lifestyles with an orgy of illicit drugs, counterfeit U.S. dollars and assorted contraband. Many observers believe that for Assad to abandon the occupation of Lebanon begun in 1976 would mean the end of Alaouite rule in Syria. And yet, that's what Powell was insisting he do. "The United States supports an independent and prosperous Lebanon, free of all - all - foreign forces," Powell said before the cameras in Beirut. This was the language Lebanese patriots have been asking the U.S. government to utter for years.

The only fig leaf left to disguise the hard ultimatum in Powell's presentation to Assad was his failure to use the words "or else." That was the one concession the State Department Arabists managed to convince him to adopt.

Just hours after Powell left Damascus, the Syrian leader phoned him in Beirut as he was about to walk into a meeting with Lebanon's Syrian-appointed president, Emile Lahoud. Assad told Powell that he had ordered close the offices of Palestinian and Lebanese terror groups headquartered in Damascus.

It looked like a victory, but Powell was circumspect. "They did some closures. I expect them to do more ... and I expect to hear back from them in the future," he told reporters.

Powell's diplomatic dance with the younger Assad, who succeeded his dictator father, Hafez, when the latter died in June 2000, was part of a careful U.S. effort to ratchet up the pressure on Syria that has been going on for several weeks. President George W. Bush had warned Syria on April 14 that the United States knew it was hiding Iraqi weapons and "we expect cooperation." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had accused Syria during the war of resupplying Iraqi forces with weapons, including night-vision goggles, and revealed that Syria had conducted chemical-weapons tests last year. Rumsfeld was alluding to an August 2002 test flight of an extended-range Scud missile equipped with a chemical warhead that Iraq had provided.

With 150,000 U.S. troops taking a breather after their victory in neighboring Iraq, Powell's series of demands was nothing less than a target list. His message was simple: We know where you are hiding the weapons, the scientists and the terrorist bases. Give them up, or we will go get them ourselves.

Powell heard back from the Syrian leader just a few days later. But Assad dared not reply directly this time. Instead, he chose as his messenger Newsweek senior correspondent Lally Weymouth, who had gone to Damascus to get Assad's reaction to the U.S. ultimatum.

"These are not offices, really," Assad said, referring to the Damascus headquarters of terrorist groups Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah. "They are houses where these groups do media activities, and I talked with Mr. Powell about stopping 'activities,' not closures." Using the cute double-talk for which his father was famous, he added: "No one in our area calls it terrorism. They are talking about freedom." As for the allegations that Syria was hiding Iraqi weapons, he just shrugged. "Why would Syria let them put these weapons in this country? There's no benefit for Syria."

On May 12, Powell returned to the region, where he delivered more straight talk. Speaking to an Israeli television interviewer, Powell acknowledged Assad's lies: "He did mislead me once before. If he chooses not to respond, if he chooses to dissemble, if he chooses to find excuses, then he will find that he is on the wrong side of history. He will find that he will not have better relations with the United States, and he can take his choice. Does he want to have good relations with the United States, or does he want to have good relations with Hamas? His choice."

Powell's blunt words were just the leading edge of what one senior administration official described as "seething anger" over the behavior of the young Syrian dictator. "At one point toward the end of the conflict, the Syrians thought we were coming," the official said. While Powell made clear that was not then the case, administration officials point to the sobering presence of 150,000 U.S. troops just across the border in Iraq as an inducement to get Assad to change his ways.

But if he does not, the United States has a well-developed target list. It begins with the obvious: the terrorist training camps in Lebanon's Bekáa Valley run by radical Palestinian groups, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. Some of these camps have been used to stage cross-border attacks into Israel. Others have been used as halfway houses for terrorists on the run from their former bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Located in farmhouses surrounded by lush hashish fields, most will make easy targets for U.S. warplanes based in western Iraq or flying off U.S. aircraft carriers.

Next come the terrorist offices in Damascus itself. U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials say these offices are not just media centers but operations bases used to funnel funds and weapons to terrorists on the ground inside Israel and elsewhere. Iranian-backed terrorists are believed to have used Syria as a staging area for the attack on the Khobar barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1996 in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed. On quiet days, terror "spokesmen" creep out from under the rocks to deliver soliloquies to the press. But when they come under scrutiny for their involvement in terrorist operations, spokesmen of Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah regularly go to ground, as this reporter found during a trip to Damascus in the 1990s.

Syria's network of weapons plants and dual-use chemical, pharmaceutical and industrial facilities provides another series of targets for U.S. war planners, should they choose to use force against Assad.

Neither the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency nor the Pentagon would agree to Insight's requests to provide a background briefing on Syrian special-weapons capabilities - on the grounds that the subject was "too sensitive." However, the CIA regularly has acknowledged Syrian efforts to develop and deploy an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in biannual reports to Congress.

In its most recent Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, the CIA noted that Syria "already held a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin, but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents." In addition, the report stated, "it is highly probable that Syria also is continuing to develop an offensive BW [biological-weapons] capability." Since 1997, the CIA has reported publicly on Syria's efforts to acquire solid-fuel missiles and production facilities from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

A more voluminous Pentagon report, Proliferation: Threat and Response, states that Syria has "several hundred Scud-B, Scud-C and SS-21 SRBMs [short-range ballistic missiles]. Syria is believed to have chemical warheads available for a portion of its Scud missile force." The report also notes that Syria has received "considerable North Korean help in producing Scud-Cs," missiles that allow Syria to reach all of Israel and most of Turkey.

Behind the dry language, however, lies a vast network of weapons plants, missile bases and extensive relationships with foreign technology suppliers, not just in North Korea and China, but also in France and in Germany. In fact, it was the French who helped Syria build its scientific establishment, under a 1969 agreement with the French state-run Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique. Even today, the Syrian Scientific Research Center more commonly is known by its French acronym, CERS (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques), and has maintained its government-to-government relationship with France and French state-owned weapons companies.

Intelligence analysts in the United States, Israel and Western Europe agree that CERS is the lead agency in Syria that handles research and development of both conventional and unconventional weapons. So critical is the role of CERS in the procurement of technology and materials for Syria's special-weapons programs that the U.S. and German governments have blacklisted it as a warning to exporters who might otherwise seek its business. CERS is funded and reports directly to the Office of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic. During the 1980s and 1990s, it focused extensively on military research involving radar, missile-telemetry systems, telecommunications, plastics, high-performance lubricants and artificial intelligence, with teams of buyers scouring Europe for dual-use technologies likely to further chemical-, biological- and nuclear-weapons programs.

Today, CERS is in charge of procurement for Syria's strategic-weapons programs. In 1999, it purchased 10 tons of powdered aluminum from Communist China for use as a solid-fuel propellant, according to the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

In February 2001, the French Atomic Energy Agency sent a team of physicists to explore nuclear-cooperation projects at Syria's four state universities and at CERS subsidiary ISSAT, known in English as the Higher Institute for Applied Science and Technology. It was set up with assistance from the French Embassy in Damascus in 1983 to facilitate French technical assistance to Syria.

Syrian chemical-weapons plants have been operating for nearly 20 years, and were first mentioned publicly in the United States by then-director of the CIA, William Webster, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on Feb. 9, 1989. "Syria began producing chemical-warfare agents and munitions in the mid-1980s, and currently has a chemical-warfare-production facility," Webster said.

In 1991, Israeli chief of staff Ehud Barak (who later became prime minister) told an audience of leading industrialists in Tel Aviv that Syria's chemical-weapons capability was "larger than Iraq's." Over the years, chemical-weapons plants were identified just north of Damascus, outside of Homs and near Hama, where Syria was believed to be producing VX agents in addition to sarin and tabun. A fourth production facility near Cerin was believed to be manufacturing biological-warfare agents.

Industrial facilities that could be potential targets include a pharmaceuticals plant in Aleppo, a large urea and ammonia plant in Homs, and a superphosphates complex in the desert near Palmyra, where Iraqi technicians reportedly have transferred technology Iraq used with success to extract uranium from raw phosphates ore. Another dozen government-run pharmaceuticals plants are spread across the country, some of which were built by major French, Swiss and German firms and could be used to produce biological-warfare agents.

Last year, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot identified a major chemical-weapons plant and Scud-C missile base in northern Syria, near the village of As-Safirah, and published satellite photographs of the site that it had commissioned.

The photographs show an extensive industrial complex, several munitions-storage depots, a missile-silo complex and a separate command-and-control site with a large phased-array radar. The complex is protected by SAM-2 surface-to-air missiles. Three tunnel entrances protected by box-canyon walls give access to buried parts of the site.

The As-Safirah complex, just west of Aleppo near Syria's Mediterranean coast, was built as part of a $500 million deal with North Korea signed in Damascus on March 29, 1990, by North Korean Vice President Yi Chong-Ok.

Bill Gertz, of Insight's sister daily, the Washington Times, first reported on the delivery of Scud-C kits from North Korea to Syria in March 1991. Today, the Israelis believe Syria has assembled several hundred Scud-Cs and is developing "multiple-warhead" clusters in an effort to defeat Israel's Arrow antitactical ballistic-missile system, according to defense analyst Anthony H. Cordesman.

The United States repeatedly has imposed sanctions on Chinese and North Korean state-owned companies for selling Syria missile kits, production technology, guidance kits and solid-fuel components. But U.S. officials acknowledge that the sanctions, which bar those companies from competing for U.S. government contracts, essentially are meaningless.

"We need to take a new look at the proliferation problem," one administration official tells Insight. "We need to start thinking about active intervention, new tools and tactics, and methods of preventing the actual shipment of weapons and weapons technology."

49 posted on 06/01/2003 8:30 PM EDT by Matchett-PI
19 posted on 06/02/2003 8:04:55 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (Marxist DemocRATS, Nader-Greens, and Religious Zealots = a clear and present danger to our Freedoms.)
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To: Wolfstar
20 posted on 06/02/2003 8:12:52 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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