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Quotes & Sources Against Attacking Iraq

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"There's no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in January. "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons," said Vice President Dick Cheney in March.  Time Magazine June 2003

 

1/31/03   General Clark   "...likely to create new recruits for America's main enemy....a plan with a fatal flaw......they picked War over Law."    Interview Washington Post

2/2/03  Senator Bill Bradley  Those who preach American hegemony might well be trapped in the swamp of American hubris....... Bush's strong remarks ignored the fact that military actions often have unpredictable consequences. For example, the 1991 Persian Gulf War led to a continuing U.S. presence in the Islamic holy land -- something the British and French always avoided -- and radicalized a generation of Muslims, helping to create the atmosphere for the emergence of Osama bin Laden. This time, what will happen when the shooting stops is far from clear. If we are to be seen as more than transparent hypocrites, we will have to not only win a war and maintain a military presence in Iraq, but also to preside over the development of democracy in a country that makes the former Yugoslavia seem homogeneous.  This is a multi-year commitment that could take thousands of U.S. lives and billions of dollars, yet there appears to be no plan for carrying it out."

1/28/03  Desert Caution     Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq --- "Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made," says Schwarzkopf.     He contrasts Cheney's low profile as defense secretary during the Gulf War with Rumsfeld's frequent television appearances since Sept. 11, 2001. "He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it." That, Schwarzkopf admonishes, is a sensation to be avoided when engaged in war.  He expresses even more concern about the task the U.S. military might face after a victory. "What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That's a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan."

1/27/03  Jack Kemp    Win Without War    "Now the rationale for war seems to be shifting again as some high-level officials contend that a smoking gun will never be produced."

12/17    Nelson Mandela   "We would want to urgently appeal to the US and its leadership to demonstrate their strength in the world by respect for those democratic principles they hold dear in their domestic affairs," Mandela told delegates at the African National Congress' party convention.and 12/31 "wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust"

11/11     Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb gave a speech last Thursday at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey slamming the Bush administration's threatened war with Iraq,................We should not occupy territory in Iraq," he said. "Do you really want the United States on the ground in that region for a generation? ........."I don't think Iraq is that much of a threat," said Webb, an opinion rarely heard among current or former Republican administration officials. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/11/10/MN190150.DTL

9/25   ""It is impossible to succeed against terrorism unless we have secured the continuing, sustained cooperation of many nations," Mr. Gore said. "And here's one of my central points. Our ability to secure that kind of multilateral cooperation in the war against terrorism can be severely damaged in the way we go about undertaking unilateral action against Iraq."  Al Gore  Gore Calls Bush's Policy a Failure on Several Fronts   NY TIMES

9/24   "a diversion from real issues of dysfunctional security agencies, a sinking economy, devastated budget and a tattered relationship with our allies."         "Almost without exception, the cost of acquiring and defending a colonial empire greatly exceeded even a generous accounting of its benefits."   NY TIMES / Paul Krugman  The Morning After

9/11  Ron Paul  35 Questions that won't be asked about attacking Iraq.

9/15  If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what (America) is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world. Nelson Mandela interview in NEWSWEEK.

9/1    In the CNN interview, he cited another former Republican official, James Webb, who was Navy secretary during the Reagan administration. He recently sent Mr. Hagel a letter in which he pondered whether war buffs have "thought through, if we invade, how long we would be there." Mr. Webb suggested in his letter that it would take "many years" for nation building to be successful in a post-Saddam Iraq.
     Like other skeptics, Mr. Webb also raised questions about the cost of such a war, the extent of the loss of life and potential damage to U.S. prestige in the war on terrorism. He suggested that the war could "turn maybe the entire Muslim world against us if we don't do it right."   http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020901-24509055.htm  

 

8/31  Elsewhere, China, a permanent U.N. Security Council member, said Iraq should implement U.N. resolutions, but force was not the answer. "Using force or threats of force is unhelpful in solving the Iraq issue and will increase regional instability and tensions," Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was quoted as saying in Beijing. Taku Yamasaki, secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said that Tokyo had a duty as an ally to oppose Washington. "If the U.S. attacks alone it will produce distrust of the United States throughout the world," Yamasaki said. "As an ally, we should oppose this."  India, a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, said its opposition to a war on Iraq had not wavered. "There is a consistency in our policy, and it is not going to change in the next few days or weeks," a foreign ministry official said.  http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1026144671801&

call_page=TS_World&call_pageid=968332188854&call_pagepath=News/World&col=968350060724

 

8/28 In a speech to the Economic Club of Florida in Tallahassee, reported in the Tampa Tribune, General Zinni said war against Iraq would alienate U.S. allies in the region. "We need to quit making enemies that we don't need to make enemies out of," Zinni said.

In Friday's speech, Zinni argued that the United States would be wiser to negotiate peace between Israelis and Palestinians and to pursue the al Qaeda network before going after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"It's pretty interesting that all the generals see it the same way," Zinni said, "and all the others who have never fired a shot and are hot to go to war see it another way," the newspaper reported.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4616-2002Aug27.html  

 

That talk is reason enough to act, according to arch-hawk Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon think tank. He responded to Scowcroft's critique by warning, "The failure to take on Saddam after what the president [has] said would produce such a collapse of confidence in the president that it would set back the war on terrorism."

We cannot allow our policy toward Iraq to be linked to the Arab-Israeli dispute, as Saddam Hussein will cynically demand, just as he did in 1990 and 1991. But to avoid that, we need to move affirmatively, aggressively, and in a fair and balanced way to implement the president's vision for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, as laid out in his June speech. That means, of course, reform by Palestinians and an end to terror tactics. But it also means withdrawal by Israeli forces to positions occupied before September 2000 and an immediate end to settlement activity. New York Times 8/25

 

In The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Scowcroft wrote that if the United States "were seen to be turning our backs" on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute "in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us."......He added: "There is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive."

Mr. Scowcroft, who helped build the broad international coalition against Iraq in the Persian Gulf war, warned that "an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken." An attack might provoke Iraq to use chemical or biological weapons in an effort to trigger war between Israel and the Arab world, he said.  "Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals," he wrote. "There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression. Rather, Saddam's problem with the U.S. appears to be that we stand in the way of his ambitions. He seeks weapons of mass destruction not to arm terrorists, but to deter us from intervening."

 

Richard N. Perle, a former Reagan administration official and one of the leading hawks who has been orchestrating an urgent approach to attacking Iraq, said today that Mr. Scowcroft's arguments were misguided and naïve...........................

Also today, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, who was briefly secretary of state for Mr. Bush's father, told ABC News that unless Mr. Hussein "has his hand on a trigger that is for a weapon of mass destruction, and our intelligence is clear, I don't know why we have to do it now, when all our allies are opposed to it."

Senator Hagel, who was among the earliest voices to question Mr. Bush's approach to Iraq, said today that the Central Intelligence Agency had "absolutely no evidence" that Iraq possesses or will soon possess nuclear weapons.

He said he shared Mr. Kissinger's concern that Mr. Bush's policy of pre-emptive strikes at governments armed with weapons of mass destruction could induce India to attack Pakistan and could create the political cover for Israel to expel Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

"You can take the country into a war pretty fast," Mr. Hagel said, "but you can't get out as quickly, and the public needs to know what the risks are."     http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/16/international/middleeast/16IRAQ.html?ex=1030530683&ei=1&en=7a4ef10d8a269fa0     

 

"I think Scowcroft has done us all a great favor by his article saying don't do it," former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said Friday. "My own personal view is that basically Gen. Scowcroft is correct. Unless the president can make a very compelling case that Saddam Hussein has his finger on a weapon of mass destruction and is about ready to use it, I do not think that now is the time to go to war against Saddam Hussein."

A Kissinger op-ed in the Washington Post said in part, "The objective of a regime change should be subordinated ... to the need to eliminate weapons of mass destruction from Iraq as required by the U.N. resolutions. It is necessary to propose a stringent inspection system that achieves substantial transparency of Iraqi institutions. A time limit should be set. The case for military intervention then will have been made in the context of seeking a common approach." http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,60626,00.html     

 

The difficulty that lack of proof is causing the administration was evident in comments Thursday by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Rice told the BBC that Washington believes it has a ''moral case'' for removing Saddam, but she was careful not to say that Iraq currently possesses chemical, biological or nuclear arms.  Instead, Rice spoke of the danger Saddam would pose ''if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.'' .......... The most recent unclassified CIA report on the subject goes no further than saying it is ''likely'' that Iraq has used the four years since United Nations inspectors left the country to rebuild chemical and biological weapons programs.  http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020816/4367770s.htm    

 

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a top contender for the 2004 Democratic nomination, says a pre-emptive strike would be premature and may not be necessary since the policy of containment seems to be working in the short term. Kerry said Bush hasn’t yet gained “legitimacy” for an attack by winning backing from the American people and from other countries.
       “We lived with Russia for almost 50 years with the capacity to destroy us many times over and a policy of containment worked there,” Kerry said during the recent Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Iraq. “Why could not a policy of containment also work here, at least while you build up to that point of legitimacy?”  http://www.msnbc.com/news/794036.asp   

 

The United States has expressed official displeasure with statements by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that ruled out German participation in an American-led war on Iraq, which he described as "an adventure," officials said today.

But Mr. Schröder's comments, in the heat of politics, were sharper and more openly critical of the Bush administration, and appeared designed to appeal to the majority of voters who oppose German participation in any war against Iraq, even with a United Nations mandate.  Opening his election campaign earlier this month, Mr. Schröder said Germany would "not make itself available for an adventure" in Iraq, would not participate in or help to pay for any such war, and would pursue its own interests by taking "the German way," or path. He said an attack on Iraq "would be less easily understood as an act of defense and could destroy the international alliance against terror."

He cautioned the Bush administration, "I can only warn against discussing a war in Iraq now without thinking of the political consequences and without having a political concept for the entire Middle East.......But Washington "is not happy at the accusation that it is not consulting with its allies" or that Mr. Bush is "a trigger-happy Texan," in the words of one senior American official. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/17/international/europe/17BERL.html   

 

Mr. Scowcroft wrote in the article that an attack on Iraq at this time would jeopardize the global counterterrorist campaign........"Scowcroft didn't want to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the first Persian Gulf war. He felt from the beginning that a successor might be worse. His position just reflects the same view he had back then."   http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/17/international/17PREX.html  

 

NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF, the US general who commanded allied forces during the Gulf War, joined a growing number of senior US military and political figures yesterday who are opposed to a unilateral invasion of Iraq and said President Bush “should not go it alone”. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-387997,00.html

 

Wesley K. Clark, a retired general who led the NATO alliance during the Kosovo war, added his voice to the debate today. He warned in an article in the September issue of The Washington Monthly that America's success in Afghanistan had emboldened it to act rashly, without consultation with its allies.

"The early successes seem to have reinforced the conviction of some within the U.S. government that the continuing war against terrorism is best waged outside the structures of international institutions — that American leadership must be `unfettered,'" wrote General Clark, who feuded with former President Clinton and made a reputation in his military career as a contrarian.

"This is a fundamental misjudgment. The longer this war goes on — and by all accounts, it will go on for years — the more our success will depend on the willing cooperation and active participation of our allies to root out terrorist cells in Europe and Asia, to cut off funding and support of terrorists and to deal with Saddam Hussein and other threats."  http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/17/international/17PREX.html  

 

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, House Majority Leader Dick Armey and top foreign policy voices have all warned against unilateral moves to attack Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein that they believe could undermine the war against terror, destabilize the Middle East and create an ungovernable post-war Iraq. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,60626,00.html   

 

In an article in the Spectator magazine Thursday, Gerald Kaufman, a former Labor minister, encapsulated the views of much of the media and intellectual elite in Britain when he wrote, "Bush, himself the most intellectually backward American president of my political lifetime, is surrounded by advisers whose bellicosity is exceeded only by their political, military and diplomatic illiteracy."

The newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and several bishops have condemned a potential attack as immoral and illegal. And a poll published Monday in the Daily Telegraph found that only 28 percent of Britons thought the United States would be justified in attacking Iraq, while 58 percent disagreed. Only 19 percent thought that Britain should join the battle.    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/08/16/MN8668.DTL  

 

Former Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter said he would support attacking Iraq, under certain circumstances.

"I believe that, if Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, we have a case for war. And I believe we'd have a right and an imperative to go to war to eliminate such a threat," he said.

"But the fact that no credible, factually-based information has been brought forward to substantiate allegations of Iraq's continued possession or attempts to reacquire weapons of mass destruction, to date, means that we have to look very carefully at these allegations," he added. "We cannot go to war based upon rumor. We cannot go to war based upon speculation."

Ritter accused the Bush administration of not wanting a peaceful resolution with Hussein over the issue of U.N. weapons inspectors returning to Iraq.

"If you return weapons inspectors to Iraq, you trigger the machinery of international diplomacy set forth by the Security Council resolution that, if there is a finding of compliance, it calls for the lifting of economic sanctions," Ritter explained.  http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPentagon.asp?Page=\Pentagon\archive\200208\PEN20020821a.html

 

Lawrence Eagleburger, secretary of state in the first Bush administration.So all I'm saying is, all of this furor now about let's do something -- don't just stand there, let's do something -- I don't know what the do something is in terms of what it is it would take to do it, why it is we're doing it now, and what it is we would do after we succeed. I think all of those things have to be laid out.

And I think Scowcroft is correct when he says don't do it now because we don't have the allies with us and because it may really foul up our war against terrorism. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,60704,00.html (full interview)

 

Wimps on Iraq

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

.1.  Can we overthrow Saddam swiftly and at a reasonable cost in lives? Saddam will be smart enough this time not to send his 350,000 troops out into the desert where they are obvious targets. Instead he may keep them in the cities, surrounded by civilians, where the U.S. cannot easily bomb them.

2. Will an invasion trigger chemical attacks instead of preventing them? It's hard to see why Saddam, if left in power, would risk his future by using anthrax or smallpox for terrorism. But if we invade, he has every incentive to use 'em or lose 'em. In particular, military planners worry that he could send nerve gas raining down on Tel Aviv, in hopes of turning an invasion of Iraq into an Arab-Israeli war. There is force in the contrary argument that it's better to face a modest threat today than a nuclear-armed Saddam tomorrow; but hey, Saddam is 65 years old. Tomorrow he may fall into a coffin on his own.

3. Do we have a plan for a post-Saddam Iraq? We must not simply hand the country over to another general who comes from the 20 percent Sunni minority. Yet is the Bush administration really prepared, given its concerns about Shiite Iran, to hand power democratically to the 60 percent Shiite majority?

4. Is the Iraqi desert the best place to spend $55 billion? Fighting a war will cost perhaps $35 billion, and it will take $20 billion more to rebuild Iraq. That's more than the federal government spends in a year on elementary and secondary education and health research combined.

5. Will a war on Iraq set back the war on terror? Outrage around the Arab world at our invasion of Iraq could lead to a surge of anti-Americanism, growing support for Al Qaeda and the collapse of governments in Cairo and Riyadh. What if we won in Iraq but lost in Saudi Arabia?

President Bush may well be able to meet these five tests. For example, if we can figure out how to win swiftly and establish a flourishing democracy in Iraq, that would boost the fight against terrorism, not set it back — and then I'm a jingoist too.

So if Mr. Bush were really addressing these concerns, weighing them and then concluding that on balance it's worth an invasion, I'd be reassured. But instead it looks as if the president, intoxicated by moral clarity, has decided that whatever the cost, whatever the risks, he will invade Iraq.

And that's not policy, but obsession.   http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/27/opinion/27KRIS.html