“Good evening. Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security forces 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.
“Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.
“Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons….Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing
Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in northern Iraq.
“The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again….Faced with Saddam?s latest act of defiance…we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam’s actions and to demand that he immediately come into
“….The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. 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. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our
engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.
“The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm?s way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq?s military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties. Indeed, in the past Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm’s way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.
“….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. Because we’re acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.
“….May G-d bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may G-d bless America.”
Where, readers are no doubt wondering, did the Monitor come up with this stirring call to arms? After all, these must be the very words that George W. Bush will in all probability be speaking to the nation any day now. Does the Monitor have a mole in the White House? A contact among the president’s speechwriters?
Fact is, the above speech was already delivered to the American public – not by President Bush but by President Bill Clinton, on Dec. 16, 1998. Clinton being Clinton, the operation was called off after a few days of air strikes, and Saddam continued on his merry way. But the
point here is that this all took place more than four years ago, and yet The New York Times, Congressional Democrats and antiwar agitators insist on speaking of Bush’s “obsession” with Saddam and America’s “rush to war.”