Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rumsfeld and Cheney take on Democrats trying to rewrite history
from the mind of  ME=mc^2.

DoD News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 1:18 p.m. EST

SEC. RUMSFELD: Good afternoon, folks. A few days ago, President Bush noted that some critics seem to want to rewrite the history of the coalition's involvement in Iraq. It might be useful to take a moment to retrace the actual history.

In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act. That law specified 10 findings of Saddam Hussein's violations of international norms and stated, quote, "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime," unquote. That legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 360 to 38, and it passed the Senate without a single vote in opposition.

In December of that year, 1998, President Clinton ordered military action in response to Iraq's decision to expel the U.N. weapon inspectors. In an address to the nation, he stated, quote, "Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there's one big difference: he has used them. The international community had little doubt then and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again," unquote.

Justifying President Clinton's decision, then-vice president, Gore, asked, if you allow -- quote, "If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons?" unquote.

The then-secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, said, "Iraq is a long way from Ohio, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face," unquote.

And the then-national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said, "He will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983," unquote.

Four years later, in October 2002, by a large margin, a bipartisan majority of the Congress authorized President Bush to use force, if necessary, to deal with the continued threat posed by Saddam Hussein. In the legislation, the U.S. Congress stated that Iraq, quote, "Poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States by continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations," unquote. These assessments were echoed by foreign intelligence agencies from countries that included Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia, and by the United Nations Security Council in more than a dozen different Security Council resolutions between 1990 and the year 2002.

In early 2004, weapons inspector David Kaye, while acknowledging he had not found weapons of mass destruction, testified that Iraq, quote, "Maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs," unquote. Later that year, weapons inspector Charles Duelfer noted, quote, "Saddam Hussein wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted," unquote.

This is the history that brought us to where to we are today. These are simply facts. The times we live in are serious. We're in the midst of a global war that threatens free people across the world, as evidenced by attacks here in Washington, D.C., in New York City, in Bali, London, Madrid, Beslan, Jerusalem, Riyadh, and most recently at a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan. Innocent people -- mothers, fathers, children -- have been murdered by a network of Islamic extremists -- Islamofacists, if you will -- seeking to impose their dark vision on free people. They seek to build in Iraq what they once had in Afghanistan -- a safe haven -- and then to expand throughout the region and beyond. Their terms are not negotiable.

While the American people understandably want to know when our forces can leave Iraq, I believe they do not want them to leave until our mission is accomplished and the Iraqis are able to sustain their fledgling democracy. As the president has said, one cannot set arbitrary deadlines. Timing of the handover of responsibility to Iraqis depends on conditions on the ground. And already some responsibilities are being assumed by the Iraqi security forces. We must be careful not to give terrorists the false hope that if they can simply hold on long enough, that they can outlast us.

Vice President's Remarks at the Frontiers of Freedom Institute Ronald Reagan Gala
The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 7:14 P.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much and good evening to all of you. And I'm -- when I heard about your gathering, and since I work just down the street from here I thought I'd drop in and say hello.

Let me thank the good people of Frontiers of Freedom, of course, George Landrith, Kerri Houston, Al Lee, for bringing us all together this evening. And I see many good friends in the room, including current and former office holders, as well.

It's a pleasure to see all of you. I'm sorry we couldn't be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment. (Laughter.) I'll let you think about that one for a minute. (Applause.)

I hope you'll permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to say a few words that were not part of my remarks that I'd planned originally this evening but which concern a matter of great importance to our entire nation.

Most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington back in the late 1960s. I know what it's like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully. In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition. And the suggestion that's been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city. (Applause.)

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions. They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq's capabilities and intentions that -- made by this Administration and by the previous administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat, that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and that, in a post-9/11 world, we could not afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of weapons of mass destruction programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, whose nation had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder. Those are the facts. (Applause.)

What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures -- conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers -- and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone -- but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. (Applause.)


Blogger Lyric Mezzo said...

It is about damn time someone stepped up and said what conservative bloggers have been saying for a long time!

1:00 PM  

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