Iraq Amnesia

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The Article

This piece happens to be a nice fit with my “Joel’s Handy Iraq War Reality Check” that I posted yesterday.

Iraq Amnesia
The real “coalition of the bribed” was at the U.N.

Wall Street Journal via the OpinionJournal.com

Friday, October 8, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Judging from the current Iraq debate, you might think Saddam Hussein didn’t use poison gas on the Kurds and the Iranians in the 1980s. Or that 500,000 American troops hadn’t been sent to the Gulf in 1990-91 to reverse his invasion of Kuwait. Or that Saddam hadn’t tried to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush in 1993, or long harbored one of the bombers who attacked the World Trade Center that year.

It might also be easy to forget that Saddam never came clean about his weapons of mass destruction, resulting in Bill Clinton’s Desert Fox bombing of 1998 and the ejection of U.N. inspectors. Or that he necessitated a huge U.S. troop presence in the region, which Osama bin Laden cited in his 1998 fatwa as one of his primary grievances against America.

It’s clear why John Kerry doesn’t want to talk about these things, having decided for now that Iraq was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Count us a bit mystified, however, that the incumbent hasn’t done a better job putting his Iraq policy in this context. Fortunately for President Bush, Congressional Oil for Food hearings and Charles Duelfer’s final weapons inspections report for the CIA have come along this week to remind us all that the “containment” of Saddam was neither as blissful as certain partisans remember it, nor even sustainable.

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Joel Johannesen
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