I was invited on MSNBC the other day to discuss Karl Rove’s book with anchor Davis Shuster and journalist David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and the author of “The Lies of George W. Bush” only to be am-BUSHED with the worn allegation by the left that President Bush lied his way into war with Iraq.
The left is consumed with charges that somehow Bush and his “gang” were able to bamboozle Congress, the U.N., and everyone else on the planet with regard to why it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power and bring him to justice. Both Shuster and Corn ganged up on me charging that Bush lied and would not let me get a word in edge wise. They interrupted and would not let me finish a thought. In a desperate attempt to “prove” he was right, Corn offered to bet me $1,000.00 that he could “prove” Bush lied. And, who was going to be the judge? Yep, you guessed it, David Shuster. Does that not sound like an impartial and “fair and balanced” wager? I think not.
All this in light of the fact that just last month, Vice President Joe Biden went on Larry King and bragged that “Iraq could be one of the greatest achievements of this administration.” This from a man who as a US Senator was against the war and the surge and sided with many Democrats who declared in 2003 that the “war was lost.”
The left distorts the facts with regard to the lead up to the Iraq war to fit their conspiratorial theories. However here are the facts:
*November 1997: Hussein ordered all American weapons inspectors in Iraq to leave in violation of UN Security Council Resolution.
*December 1998: President Bill Clinton orders “Operation Desert Fox” a robust four day aerial bombing mission by US and UK Air Forces. This operation was in retaliation for Iraq’s failure to obey UN Security Council Resolutions and their obstruction of UN Weapons Inspections.
Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the following about the attack:
"I don't think we're pretending that we can get everything, so this is - I think - we are being very honest about what our ability is. We are lessening, degrading his ability to use this. The weapons of mass destruction are the threat of the future. I think the president explained very clearly to the American people that this is the threat of the 21st century. [. . .] [W]hat it means is that we know we can't get everything, but degrading is the right word."
*1998-2002: Saddam Hussein allowed no UN weapons inspections.
*September 2002: President Bush Addresses the UN General Assembly and sets forth a long list of complaints against the Iraqi government with regard to their continued threat to the region, our allies and the world including but not limited to:
1. Support of terrorist organizations that directs violence against its neighbors and the West;
2. UN Commission on Human Rights finding in 2001 that Iraq was engaged in “extremely grave” human rights violations;
3. The failure to let UN weapons inspectors conduct their work to insure and prevent Iraq is not pursuing WMD in violation of UN Resolutions;
4. They used proceeds from the UN “oil for food” program to purchase weapons rather than to feed its people.
*October 2002: After extensive debate, the US Congress overwhelmingly passes a Resolution giving President Bush the power and authority to use military force to enforce UN Security Council Resolution.
Here are some comments made by prominent Democrats at that time:
DICK GEPHARDT: HOUSE DEM LEADER
"The issue is how to best protect America. And I believe this resolution does that."
TOM DASCHLE: SENATE MAJ. LEADER
"I believe it is important for America to speak with one voice," said Daschle, D-S.D. "It is neither a Democratic resolution nor a Republican resolution. It is now a statement of American resolve and values."
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
In the closing hours of debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said the decision to back the resolution was "the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I cast it with conviction. I want this president, or any future president, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country, at the United Nations or at war."
*November 2002: The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441. The Resolution stated that Iraq was in material breach of the terms of UN Resolution 687, which prevented Iraq from developing WMD as well as other prohibited arms, and the failure to compensate Kuwait for the looting that took place during the illegal 1991 invasion and occupation. The Resolution called for a new round on inspections and demanded that Iraq prove to the UN’s satisfaction that it has surrendered its WMD efforts will disarm as well as account for all weapons existing, destroyed and missing within 30 days of the Resolution being passed. Iraq refuses to comply with Resolution 1441.
*March 6, 2003: In his March 6, 2003, report to the U.N. Security Council, Hans Blix reported that the declared stocks of anthrax and VX remained unaccounted for. In the last chance given to Iraq by Resolution 1441, Iraq had failed to provide answers. As Blix reported again in May 2003, "little progress was made in the solution of outstanding issues.... the long list of proscribed items unaccounted for and as such resulting in unresolved disarmament issues was not shortened either by the inspections or by Iraqi declarations and documentation."
*March 20, 2003: The Iraq War begins.
Here is what former president Bill Clinton said on July 22, 2003 about the danger Iraq faced to the world:
"When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions."
The fact that the U.S. never found WMD does not mean Saddam did not have it or that he did not desire the ability to amass it whenever he saw the need. Let us not forget that Hussein used WMD against his own people, killing thousands of Kurds.
Saddam Hussein was interrogated while detained in Iraq by FBI agent George Piro and this is what agent Piro had to said in an interview with Scott Pelley for “60 Minutes”:
"He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s. And those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq," Piro says.
"So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?" Pelley asks.
"It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq," Piro says.
Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight-year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.
"He believed that he couldn't survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?" Pelley asks.
He told me he initially miscalculated President Bush and President Bush's intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox. Which was a four-day aerial attack. So you expected that initially," Piro says.
Piro says Saddam expected some kind of an air campaign and that he could he survive that. "He survived that once. And then he was willing to accept that type of attack. That type of damage," he says.
"Saddam didn't believe that the United States would invade," Pelley remarks.
Bush did NOT lie. President Bush acted in the best interests of the United States. Was our intelligence faulty? Yes. Did that change the fact that Saddam should be removed? No.
The truth will never be accepted by those who refuse to accept it. However, I will continue to fight for the truth even if it means being “am-BUSHED” on MSNBC.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.
Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a political consultant and Republican Media Consultant and was a member of President George W. Bush's Senior White House Staff 2001-2004. Follow him on Twitter @BlakemanB.