April 25, 2003

RANDOM REPRISALS

Reason for War?: White House Officials Say Privately the Sept. 11 Attacks Changed Everything (John Cochran, April 25, 2003, ABC News)
To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war ? a global show of American power and democracy.

Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans.

"We were not lying," said one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis." [...]

[T]he Bush administration decided it must flex muscle to show it would fight terrorism, not just here at home and not just in Afghanistan against the Taliban, but in the Middle East, where it was thriving.

Officials deny that Bush was captured by the aggressive views of neo-conservatives. But Bush did agree with some of their thinking.

"We made it very public that we thought that one consequence the president should draw from 9/11 is that it was unacceptable to sit back and let either terrorist groups or dictators developing weapons of mass destruction strike first at us," conservative commentator Bill Kristol said on ABCNEWS' Nightline in March.

The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target. [...]

The Bush administration could probably have lived with the threat of Saddam and might have gone after him eventually if, for example, the Iraqi leader had become more aggressive in pursuing a nuclear program or in sponsoring terrorism.

But again, Sept. 11 changed all that.

Listen closely, officials said, to what Bush was really saying to the American people before the war.

"I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th," Bush said on March 6. "The lesson is, is that we're vulnerable to attack, wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don't have to deal with them all militarily, but we have to deal with them."

With this Administration, any time you suggest a good idea, they're already doing it. Forget whether there is an al Qaeda connection--we took out Saddam because of 9-11 and after the next 9-11 we'll take out Syria, Libya, etc., whether they're involved or not. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2003 1:25 PM
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