Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It was Saddam all along

Dick Cheney interview with ABC News (full text) --

JONATHAN KARL: You probably saw Karl Rove last week said that if the intelligence had been correct, we probably would not have gone to war.

CHENEY: I disagree with that. I think -- as I look at the intelligence with respect to Iraq -- what they got wrong was that there weren't any stockpiles. What we found in the after-action reports, after the intelligence report was done and then various special groups went and looked at the intelligence and what its validity was. What they found was that Saddam Hussein still had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction. He had the technology, he had the people, he had the basic feed stocks.

They also found that he had every intention of resuming production once the international sanctions were lifted. He had a long reputation and record of having started two wars. Of having brutalized and killed hundreds of thousands of people, some of them with weapons of mass destruction in his own country. He had violated 16 National Security Council resolutions. He had established a relationship as a terror-sponsoring state, according to the State Department. He was making $25,000 payments to the families of suicide bombers.

This was a bad actor and the country's better off, the world's better off, with Saddam gone, and I think we made the right decision, in spite of the fact that the original NIE was off in some of its major judgments.

It's becoming clear that one component of the Bush Legacy Project is to state plainly what crazy bloggers already knew: that the "debate" over whether Saddam was a threat or indeed had WMD was a sham. The decision had already been made.

But we shouldn't be surprised at being told in 2008 that it was a war of regime change, because we were told that 10 years ago. But are wars whose objective is regime change legal?

UPDATE: Cheney can't even get his selective spin about Saddam's WMD "capability" right.

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