In searching for a rationale to go to war, Bush settled on the notion of Saddam as an incarnation of evil, basically, and convinced himself that Saddam was fundamentally Adolf Hitler reborn. I think his feelings towards Saddam were in fact quite genuine and quite legitimately hostile. He was not play acting.
The British government believes we must be resolved to disarming Saddam Hussein. It must be done before the terror weapons he possesses can be used by Saddam himself or by others with his blessing. We must steel ourselves to the consequences of that resolve and send a clear message to Saddam Hussein: You cannot win. You can only comply and disarm or be defeated. The choice is entirely yours.
I believe, if done correctly, eliminating Saddam and liberating Iraq could be the 'Normandy Invasion' or 'fall of the Berlin Wall' of our generation... the Iraqi people are eager to be rid of Saddam, and there is equally encouraging evidence that republican principles could thrive there.
Even before September 11, there was a debate in the administration about whether or not military force should be used to oust Saddam Hussein. You're not going to find one person in the top echelons of the foreign policy and national security establishment in the U.S. government who's going to say that Saddam Hussein should not be out of power.
Imagine the consequences if Saddam fails to comply and we fail to act. Saddam will be emboldened, believing the international community has lost its will. He will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And some day, some way, I am certain, he will use that arsenal again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
William J. Clinton
For the last eight years, American policy toward Iraq has been based on the direct threat Saddam poses to international security. That threat is clear. Saddam's history of aggression leaves little doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination and his quest for weapons of mass destruction if he had the chance.
The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong. I acknowledge that and accept it. I simply point out, such evidence was agreed by the whole international community, not least because Saddam had used such weapons against his own people and neighbouring countries.
Well, I think the most realistic ways to keep them [Saddam Hussien & Slobadon Milisevic] isolated in the world of public opinion and to work with our alliance is to keep them isolated. I'm just as frustrated as many Americans are that Saddam Hussein still lives. I think we ought to keep the pressure on him. I will tell you this: If we catch him developing weapons of mass destruction in any way, shape or form, I'll deal with that in a way that he won't like.
George W. Bush
There's no telling what might have happened to our defense budget if Saddam Hussein hadn't invaded Kuwait that August and set everyone gearing up for World War II. Can we count on Saddam Hussein to come along every year and resolve our defense-policy debates? Given the history of the Middle East, it's possible.
P. J. O'Rourke
We must recognize that there is no indication that Saddam Hussein has any intention of relenting. So we have an obligation of enormous consequence, an obligation to guarantee that Saddam Hussein cannot ignore the United Nations. He cannot be permitted to go unobserved and unimpeded toward his horrific objective of amassing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
John F. Kerry
If Saddam's regime and survival are threatened [by invasion], he will have nothing to lose, and may use everything at his disposal... If weapons of mass destruction land on Israeli soil, killing innocent civilians, the experts I have consulted believe Israel will retaliate, and possibly with nuclear weapons... Nor can we rule out the possibility that Saddam would assault American forces with chemical or biological weapons.
Saddam's politics was the politics of the thug, of violence from the outset of his reign. Realism suggests that some people are not going to be tractable in response to purely peaceable overtures. Indeed, it certainly appears that some individuals, including notably Saddam Hussein, will cheerfully help themselves to a yard for every inch offered by well-meaning peacemakers. When we are dealing with customers as tough as that, there is no alternative to being tough ourselves.
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
Colin Powell has said over the years that Saddam Hussein is like a toothache. It recurs from time to time, and you just have to live with it. At other times, he's compared Saddam Hussein to a kidney stone that will eventually pass. But he has never said, 'You have to operate and take out the kidney stone.'
Muqtada belongs to the most famous religious family in Iraq, which is the al-Sadr family. He's really the third in line. [Muqtada's father] drew his power from the first really important al-Sadr, Muhammad Baqir, who was executed by Saddam in 1980, together with his sister. So it's really a family of martyrs, and that's why Muqtada suddenly emerged from nowhere with the fall of Saddam.
There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.
To overcome this obstacle, and to discover and dismantle Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC and the IAEA must interview relevant persons securely and with their families protected, even if they protest publicly against this treatment. Hans Blix may dislike running ''a defection agency,' but that could be the only way to obtain truthful information about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction
I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein. ... Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons.
There is no question that Iraq possesses biological and chemical weapons and that he [Saddam Hussein] seeks to acquire additional weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. That is not in debate. I also agree with President Bush that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must be disarmed, to quote President Bush directly.
Let's note, that in what I consider the most disgraceful performance abroad by an American official in my lifetime - something not exampled since Jane Fonda sat on the anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi to be photographed - Mr. McDermott said in effect, not in effect, he said it, we should take Saddam Hussein at his word and not take the President at his word. He said the United States is simply trying to provoke. I mean, why Saddam Hussein doesn't pay commercial time for that advertisement for his policy, I do not know.
Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be President, or the credibility to be elected President. No one can doubt or should doubt that we are safer - and Iraq is better - because Saddam Hussein is now behind bars.
John F. Kerry
The essential facts are known. We know of the weapons in Saddam's possession: chemical, biological, and nuclear in time. We know of his unequaled willingness to use them. We know his history. His invasions of his neighbors. His dreams of achieving hegemonic control over the Arab world. His record of anti-American rage. His willingness to terrorize, to slaughter, to suppress his own people and others. We need not stretch to imagine nightmare scenarios in which Saddam makes common cause with the terrorists who want to kill us Americans and destroy our way of life.
So here's a question from one who believed, only a week ago, that Baghdad might just collapse, that we might wake up one morning to find the Baathist militia and the Iraqi army gone and the Americans walking down Saadun Street with their rifles over their shoulders. If the Iraqis can still hold out against such overwhelming force in Umm Qasr for four days, if they can keep fighting in Basra and Nassariyeh the latter a city which briefly rose in successful revolt against Saddam in 1991 why should Saddam's forces not keep fighting in Baghdad?
Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real...
John F. Kerry
I like to call a spade a spade in politics and in everything else. That's why the zionists and the americans... The top officials hate Saddam Hussein. The White House is lying once again. He's a liar. He's the world's number one liar. He said there were chemical weapons in Iraq, and that Iraq is connected with terrorism. Later he declared: 'We didn't find any of this in Iraq.' What I want to say is that he also declared that what Saddam Hussein says is not true... This is defamation of your president of thirty five years.
I think when I close my eyes what I think is 4,500 days or so, 4,250 I guess days, was long enough to give Iraq to come into compliance with the international order. And I think to myself how many Iraqi citizens died under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein during those 4,200 odd days, and I think to myself how many more citizens of how many nations, the United States, Israel, or any other neighbor would die if Saddam Hussein went unchecked, though I am just grieved by the sacrifice of our brave men and women, but I think ultimately the greater good is served.
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapon stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.
[D]rawing up 'secret war plans' for a possible attack on Iraq wasn't irrational. The low-level war against Saddam was 12 years old, with no end in sight. American and British pilots were getting shot at, sanctions weren't working, and Bush was getting warnings that Saddam had all those terrible weapons and would use them against America. Bush would have been a fool not to draw up plans. Gee, wait till the critics find out that FDR, without ever informing the media, was plotting to fight Japan and Germany before Pearl Harbor.
It is regrettable that Senator Kennedy has chosen Veteran's Day to continue leveling baseless and false attacks that send the wrong signal to our troops and our enemy during a time of war. It is also regrettable that Senator Kennedy has found more time to say negative things about President Bush then he ever did about Saddam Hussein. If America were to follow Senator Kennedy's foreign policy, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, he would be oppressing and occupying Kuwait.
There has been a good deal of comment "" some of it quite outlandish "" about what our postwar requirements might be in Iraq. Some of the higher end predictions we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post- Iraq, are wildly off the mark. It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army "" hard to imagine.
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.
What we said publicly is that we know that Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons, he's used them; we know about his biological weapons programs; and in the nuclear equation, left to his own devices, with no fissile material, by the end of the decade, he'll have a nuclear weapon. But if fissile material is provided to Saddam Hussein, he'll have a nuclear weapon within a year, so I'd say the year is the outside timetable.
I got hold of a copy of the video that showed how Saddam Hussein had actually confirmed himself in power. This snuff-movie opens with a plenary session of the Ba'ath Party central committee: perhaps a hundred men. Suddenly the doors are locked and Saddam, in the chair, announces a special session. Into the room is dragged an obviously broken man, who begins to emit a robotic confession of treason and subversion, that he sobs has been instigated by Syrian and other agents. As the (literally) extorted confession unfolds, names begin to be named. Once a fellow-conspirator is identified, guards come to his seat and haul him from the room. The reclining Saddam, meanwhile, lights a large cigar and contentedly scans his dossiers. The sickness of fear in the room is such that men begin to crack up and weep, rising to their feet to shout hysterical praise, even love, for the leader. Inexorably, though, the cull continues, and faces and bodies go slack as their owners are pinioned and led away. When it is over, about half the committee members are left, moaning with relief and heaving with ardent love for the boss. (In an accompanying sequel, which I have not seen, they were apparently required to go into the yard outside and shoot the other half, thus sealing the pact with Saddam. I am not sure that even Beria or Himmler would have had the nerve and ingenuity and cruelty to come up with that.)
In the spring of 1990 I flew to Aspen, Colorado, to cover a summit meeting between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President George Herbert Walker Bush. This fairly routine political event took on sudden significance when, on the evening before the talks were scheduled to begin, Saddam Hussein announced that the independent state of Kuwait had, by virtue of a massive deployment of military force, become a part of Iraq. We were not to know that this act-and the name Saddam Hussein-would dominate international politics for the next decade and more, but it was still possible to witness something extraordinary: the sight of Mrs. Thatcher publicly inserting quantities of lead into George Bush's pencil. The spattering quill of a Ralph Steadman would be necessary to do justice to such a macabre yet impressive scene.