Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Is Paul just covering his ass? Looks like you'll just have to read the book to find out.

Indeed, Clinton did make Iraq regime change our official policy back in 1998. One thing that might be noteworthy is the fact that that the timeframe of HR 4655 is September/October 1998, which is well after the January 1998 PNAC letter sent to Clinton.

The notion that plans were merely a "continuation" doesn't hold up to scrutiny because TB (Team Bush) didn't automatically follow suit on Clinton's policies (as if this needs to be said...). Remember in the 2000 election when TB stated its opposition to "nation-building"? I can't find a quote, so I could be wrong on this part, but I could swear that Condi Rice even referred to endeavors like those taking place in the Balkans as "silly little nation-building exercises." Of course, when the time came that TB felt as if it had no choice but to become a nation-builder, they were all for it.

Clearly, Clinton's signing of the Iraq Liberation Act was somewhat of a token measure - it said that we think Saddam is a bad guy, and it'd be cool if he were gone. Doesn't mean we were going to do much of anything that would bring about that conclusion. The PNAC guys, on the other hand, were keen on using military force to oust Saddam, so it's not inconceivable that once they came to power, they stepped things up a notch from the Clinton days. In addition to adopting Clintonian policy when they felt they had to, TB also "inherited" policy when they simply wanted to. Lucky for them they helped talk congress and Clinton into making some of their ideas into government "policy" well before ascending to the throne.

Finally, even if this was merely a "continuation," that still fails to change the basic argument that TB was planning to remove Saddam from day one. The only remaining question is to just how active they were in these plans: was it merely a contingency, or was planning in an advanced stage and they were simply looking for an excuse (like 9/11) to go forward? Considering that the PNAC had been clamoring for the removal of Saddam long before they came to power, it's kind of hard to believe that they would have given up on that after winning the election, and then magically come back to it post-9/11.

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