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The Collective
Sunday, October 16, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Crooks and Liars takes SecState Rice to task for her statements about why the administration chose to launch a war with Iraq.

From the MTP transcript the site quotes: :

The fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al Qaeda…or we could take a bolder approach…

Now, C&L makes this sound like a startling revelation, as if Rice let something slip.

However, the idea expressed above, whether one likes it or not (that’s a different argument/issue) has always been part of the administration’s rationale to invade Iraq. Indeed, it always was the crux of the argument-the idea that Iraq was the kind of state that would generate more terrorists and that was why the WMD were considered to be so important.

Now, again, one can find that whole Hard Wilsonian/Democratic Domino Theory business to be nonsense, but to act as if this is some startling admission is to have either a) not been paying attention, b) having swallowed the overly simplistic “Bush Lied; People Died” routine, or a combination of both.

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Filed under: Iraq, War on Terror, World Politics | |
The views expressed in the comments are the sole responsibility of the person leaving those comments. They do not reflect the opinion of the author of PoliBlog, nor have they been vetted by the author.

5 Responses to “Forgetting the Past on Iraq”

  1. alhjfk Says:

    You must have missed Powell’s speech to the Security Council on 5 Feb. 2003. The rationale for war was Iraq’s failure to comply with UN Resoluton 1441 which required the government of Iraq to deal with the issue of WMDs through monitoring by UNMOVIC and IAEA. It certainly has no mention of al Quaeda or 9/11.

    Bush’s speech on March 19, 2003 announcing the beginning of the war made no mention of terrorism. Rather, he said: ” Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”

    A couple of days before, Bush said: ” Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council’s long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.”

  2. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    You can’t conflate the entire issue into the UN. Of course the UN focus was WMD, as that was what had been the basis for something on the order of twelve previous UN resoutions on Iraq and the way the US got 1441 was the WMD issue and the administration thought that the WMD issue would garner more support in the UN by making an international law-based argument.

    However, the totality of the administration’s thinking and public pronouncements were not all about WMD by any stretch. The focus on the UN made that, however, a major focus.

  3. alhjfk Says:

    “You can’t conflate the entire issue into the UN. Of course the UN focus was WMD”

    Are you suggesting, as Wolfowitz did, that the whole WMD rationale was just developed as a convenient selling point, an “issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason.” (WOlfowitz)?

    If that’s the case, isn’t this strategy extremely misleading and a horribly dishonest way to advance one of the most important policy decisions an administration can make?

    Why in the world did Bush invoke 1441 at all? The cavalier utilization of international law is shameless.

  4. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    I don’t have time for a full on debate at the moment, but I would argue that the WMD argument was one part of a multipart argument.

    I would further argue that the WMD issue became the centerpiece in the public mind because of the UN.

  5. Honza Prchal Says:

    How odd those responses are. We explicitly went to the UN as an expedient to make life easier on Tony Blair and our European allies and “allies”. The reason we emphasized WMD there is taht State, correctly, realized that no one cared about any of the other violations of UN resolutions and certainly not about Saddaam’s culture of violence insofar as it did not oppress Sunni Arabs as a class. To conflate our argument before the UN into our rationalle to threaten war absent full compliance with our demands is either to take a crabbed view of history or to deny the legitimacy of any action without the UN imprimatur.


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