But Clinton Said So…

Ken AshfordIraq, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

The silliest talking point coming out of the right these days is actually a rather old one.

It’s the point that "everyone thought there were WMD".  To bolster this talking point, winger inevitably offer up statements by President Clinton.

I’m not sure this what wingnuts think this appeal to Clinton is supposed to do.  Do they think liberals all worship Clinton, and it will silence our criticism of Bush (since the two supposedly "agreed")?

It should be pointed out that whatever Clinton believed, he didn’t believe that invading Iraq was the solution.

But for the rest of the story, I hand the wheel to Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest:

A standard Republican talking point about Iraq is that "everyone thought there were WMD" and then they cite statements by President Clinton and others.

Here’s what they are leaving out. At the end of 1998, after Iraq expelled UN weapons inspectors, President Clinton ordered a bombing campaign that completely wiped out Iraq’s weapons capabilities. For good.

Clinton statement to the nation, Dec 16, 1998:

“Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

… Warplanes aboard the USS Enterprise combined with more than 200 cruise missiles from eight Navy warships to converge on Iraqi targets at 5:06 p.m. EST (1:06 a.m. Baghdad time).

The attack by U.S. and British forces against Iraq broadened and intensified yesterday, as salvos of missiles pounded scores of targets throughout the country and the skies over the Iraqi capital filled with the flash of huge explosions, the smoke of distant conflagrations and the brilliant red tracings of antiaircraft fire.

The second wave of strikes by allied cruise missiles – by far the heaviest attack against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 – came as Washington continued to be roiled by the historic question of President Clinton’s possible impeachment. The twin crises, each compelling enough to transfix the nation, overlapped and crescendoed throughout an extraordinary day.

… Officials said the latest strikes included about 100 cruise missiles – about half as many as on Wednesday, but with 2,000-pound warheads that were twice as large as those used the first night. Among the targets of the raid were air fields, chemical plants, missile production and storage facilities, air defense systems and Iraq’s surface-to-air missile sites, according to Pentagon officials.

Not a single U.S. or British casualty has been reported in about 70 hours of intensive airstrikes involving 650 sorties against nearly 100 targets. A total of 415 cruise missiles were launched, Pentagon officials said, including 325 Tomahawks fired by U.S. Navy forces and 90 heavier cruise missiles deployed from Air Force B-52s.

… "Saddam may rebuild, and attempt to rebuild, some of this military infrastructure in the future, just as he has replaced many facilities, including lavish palaces, after Desert Storm," Cohen said, referring to the aftermath of the Gulf War. "But we have diminished his ability to threaten his neighbors with both conventional and nonconventional weapons."

And then, following that attack, "Between 1999 and 2001, the U.S. and British-led air forces in Iraq dropped 1.3 million pounds of bombs in response to purported violations of the no-fly zones and anti-aircraft fire from Saddam Hussein." (Thanks to Raw Story)

And, of course, the Republican reaction to Clinton wiping out Iraq’s WMD capabilities? (Keep in mind as you read this all their bluster about the supposed threat of WMD as they ramped up the propaganda leading to the war…) Republicans skeptical of Iraq attack on eve of impeachment vote

"I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," Lott said in a statement. "Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."

"The suspicion some people have about the president’s motives in this attack is itself a powerful argument for impeachment," Armey said in a statement.

And THAT’S the rest of the story.