[What if Saddam Hussein] fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.
If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." The stakes, he says, could not be higher. "Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal.
Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave the lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports. For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM. In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and chief organizer of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more. Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth.
Now listen to this: What did it admit? It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability--notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And might I say, UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production.
Next, throughout this entire process, Iraqi agents have undermined and undercut UNSCOM. They've harassed the inspectors, lied to them, disabled monitoring cameras, literally spirited evidence out of the back doors of suspect facilities as inspectors walked through the front door. And our people were there observing it and had the pictures to prove it.
We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century," he argued. "They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein.
From other sources
"The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people,"
But it wasn't President Bush. It was William Jefferson Clinton in 1998.
And what does he say now?
RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Speaking in the morning, Washington time, before the announcement of the evening press conference with President Bush, former president Bill Clinton, questioned why America appears so quick to rush to war.
BILL CLINTON: And I, you know, from my perspective, if we have to go in there and kill a bunch of people to disarm him, well we may have to do that but we could do that next week as well as today and so I would very much like to see an effort made to get this thing done without conflict.
The tune changes when you don't have impeachment hanging over your head. In 1998 we had to go right now, but in 2003, we can afford to wait and see.