Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bill Clinton Continues Effort To Rewrite History

Former President Clinton tried to clarify his recent unbelievable claim that he was against the Iraq war "from the beginning." On the CBS program "The Early Show" he changed his story. He now wants you to believe he always said United Nations weapons inspectors should have been given more time to complete their work in Iraq prior an invasion:

Had the inspectors been given that time, Mr. Clinton told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Monday, "There would have been no war."

But Mr. Clinton remarked to Smith Monday that he's said "a hundred times" that the weapons inspectors needed more time on the ground. "Nobody ever said it before because everybody who knows what was going on and knows me knows that I was trying to get even a new U.N. resolution passed," the former president said. "I was involved with an effort behind the scenes to talk to some people around the world to try to see if we could get another resolution passed to give (the inspectors) some more time."

"I supported threatening Saddam so we could do the inspections, but I believe -- I even believe the Senate resolution, if you read it, said that the force was authorized if the diplomatic efforts -- i.e. -- the inspections -- failed."

"The mistake we made was not letting the inspections finish. If they had, there would have been no war. And i was always against doing it without the inspections."

"Now, after Saddam was deposed, the united nations' position was we should all do what we can to make it work, and everybody was hoping it would. And still, I think we should still hope it works. We should hope those people have a government that's representative and that they can work out their oil deals and their conflicts and go on to a better life."

"But I believe it was a serious error to go in there before the inspectors finished. And as you (Smith) pointed out, most of my speeches weren't getting covered by the press, and we didn't copy them or anything back then. But we do have several records, including one six days before the invasion where I said I don't think they should do this until the inspections finished. That was the deal."

"And if we had done it, there would have been no war."
First of all there is a big difference between Clinton's claim to have been against the war "from the beginning," and his new story that thought we invaded too soon. This Washington Post report undermines Mr. Clinton's absurd statements:
Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was "shocked" and "astonished" by Clinton's remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams "coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that 'we have Clinton's support.' "

Leverett, a former career foreign service officer who said she is not involved in any presidential campaign, said the incident affected her because of her own doubts about the wisdom of an attack. "To hear President Clinton was supportive really silenced whatever questions I had," she recalled. Leverett, who worked in the same office as Abrams at the time, said Rice and Abrams "made it a high priority" to get Clinton's support, meeting with him at least twice. Abrams was tasked to answer Clinton's questions and "took the responsibility very seriously," Leverett said. "Elliott was then very focused on making sure that we followed up on Clinton's questions to keep Clinton happy and on board."
As to the former president's claim that he has said this nonsense "a hundred times," if that were true, should there not be dozens of references to a statement repeated so many times? Where are those references?

A review of previous remarks by Mr. Clinton reveal that, among other things, he said in May 2003, "I supported the president (Bush) when he asked for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." I posted additional references of Mr. Clinton saying he supported the war last month.

We also shouldn't forget how Saddam relentlessly frustrated United Nations' inspection efforts:
"The U.N. orders its weapons inspectors to leave Iraq after the chief inspector reports Baghdad is not fully cooperating with them."
--Sheila MacVicar, ABC World News This Morning, 12/16/98

"The Iraq story boiled over last night when the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Richard Butler, said that Iraq had not fully cooperated with inspectors and--as they had promised to do. As a result, the U.N. ordered its inspectors to leave Iraq this morning"
--Katie Couric, NBC's Today, 12/16/98

"The chief U.N. weapons inspector ordered his monitors to leave Baghdad today after saying that Iraq had once again reneged on its promise to cooperate--a report that renewed the threat of U.S. and British airstrikes."
--AP, 12/16/98

"The United Nations once again has ordered its weapons inspectors out of Iraq. Today's evacuation follows a new warning from chief weapons inspector Richard Butler accusing Iraq of once again failing to cooperate with the inspectors. The United States and Britain repeatedly have warned that Iraq's failure to cooperate with the inspectors could lead to air strikes."
--Bob Edwards, NPR, 12/16/98

"Immediately after submitting his report on Baghdad's noncompliance, Butler ordered his inspectors to leave Iraq."
--Los Angeles Times, 12/17/98

"This is the second time in a month that UNSCOM has pulled out in the face of a possible U.S.-led attack. But this time there may be no turning back. Weapons inspectors packed up their personal belongings and loaded up equipment at U.N. headquarters after a predawn evacuation order. In a matter of hours, they were gone, more than 120 of them headed for a flight to Bahrain."
--Jane Arraf, CNN, 12/16/98

"Butler abruptly pulled all of his inspectors out of Iraq shortly after handing Annan a report yesterday afternoon on Baghdad's continued failure to cooperate with UNSCOM, the agency that searches for Iraq's prohibited weapons of mass destruction."
-- Newsday, 12/17/98

"As Washington debates when and how to attack Iraq, a surprise offer from Baghdad. It is ready to talk about re-admitting U.N. weapons inspectors after kicking them out four years ago."
--Maurice DuBois, NBC's Saturday Today, 8/3/02

No comments: