The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election
January 23, 2004
Edwards | John Edwards in 2002: "Saddam Hussein . . . has weapons of mass destruction and . . . is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons"

Now that he has re-emerged as a serious candidate, it’s worth looking again at where John Edwards stood on the Iraq war when it came to a vote in the fall of 2002. At the time, Edwards - who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and thus has his own access to our intelligence on Iraq - gave full-throated support for what has become the most controversial justification for the war: that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction. Of course, this puts Edwards seriously at odds with a substantial and vocal faction of his party; I address the potential fallout from this more on my own blog. Here’s Edwards, in his own words:

1. September 12, 2002: Edwards gives a speech on why the “IRAQI DICTATOR MUST GO,” coinciding with Bush’s speech to the UN:

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I firmly believe that the issue of Iraq is not about politics. It’s about national security. We know that for at least 20 years, Saddam Hussein has obsessively sought weapons of mass destruction through every means available. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons today. He has used them in the past, and he is doing everything he can to build more. Each day he inches closer to his longtime goal of nuclear capability — a capability that could be less than a year away.

I believe that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime represents a clear threat to the United States, to our allies, to our interests around the world, and to the values of freedom and democracy we hold dear.

[snip]

What’s more, the terrorist threat against America is all too clear. Thousands of terrorist operatives around the world would pay anything to get their hands on Saddam’s arsenal, and there is every possibility that he could turn his weapons over to these terrorists. No one can doubt that if the terrorists of September 11th had had weapons of mass destruction, they would have used them. On September 12, 2002, we can hardly ignore the terrorist threat, and the serious danger that Saddam would allow his arsenal to be used in aid of terror.

2. October 10, 2002: Edwards speaks as not only a supporter but a co-sponsor of the legislation authorizing the use of force in Iraq:

Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.

Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council. It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf War and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

By ignoring these resolutions, Saddam Hussein is undermining the credibility of the United Nations, openly violating international law, and making a mockery of the very idea of collective action that is so important to the United States and its allies.

We cannot allow Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons in violation of his own commitments, our commitments, and the world’s commitments.

This resolution will send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

[snip]

[W]e must be prepared to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, and eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction once and for all.

Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts: that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons; that he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region, to vital allies like Israel, and to the United States; and that he is thwarting the will of the international community and undermining the United Nations’ credibility.



Posted by Baseball Crank at January 23, 2004 08:59 AM | TrackBack
Comments

John Edwards a Liar?! He’s a Liiiiiaaaarrr!! Liiiiiiarrrrrrrrrrrr BOOM!

Posted by: Jeff MacMillan at January 23, 2004 01:13 PM

I think it would be funny if Bush in a presidential debate (or whoever the GOP nominates as VP in a vice presidential debate) would give a statement like Edwards’ above, word for word, in response to a question. Then when Edwards (or Clark, or Kerry, or whoever) criticizes it, they just say “gee, that was word for word what you said….” Wouldn’t work with Dean, of course.

Posted by: samuelv at January 23, 2004 02:29 PM

I think it would be funny if Bush in a presidential debate (or whoever the GOP nominates as VP in a vice presidential debate) would give a statement like Edwards’ above, word for word, in response to a question. Then when Edwards (or Clark, or Kerry, or whoever) criticizes it, they just say “gee, that was word for word what you said….” Wouldn’t work with Dean, of course, though you could paraphrase what he said about Kosavo.

Posted by: samuelv at January 23, 2004 02:30 PM

I think it would be funny if Bush had to explain on live TV how an axis spins on three points (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea). Also, what may bear some explaining is how factions and states such as communist N. Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Queda, Shuria, Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Wahhabi, Diobandi, and all their separate militias and armed forces that bear radically different agendas and divergent beliefs will cooperatively execute planning and coordinate possible attacks as envisioned by the administration.

Again, no one has ever expained to me how chemical artillary shells arc over 6,000 miles (they would have to enter outer space) without the benefit of ballistic missiles. Or how small pox would be placed in our water supply when there is no weaponized form available anywhere in the known world. Or how nuclear weapons could be readied in 45 minutes that would terrorize the Western Hemisphere by a country that had no missiles that could launch downrange more than 90 miles. Or how a country with known WMDs being actively deployed was assisted with precursers and technology by the U.S. during the salad days of its program only to be invaded later when we ceased to be friends (after Iraq ceased to neutralize Iran).

Arab unity is a myth. WMD threat is a myth. We are executing a strategy of flanking Iran with our armed forces to get it to acquiesce to a threat of force. Iran has a nuclear device. When the Moderates failed in their bid to secularize Iran, Neoconservatives decided we better get ready to invade them. The cost of this proffitless folly will be extraordinary.

Posted by: obelus at July 6, 2004 01:52 PM

Hey, at least one-half of the ticket is sound on the issue.

Posted by: popd at July 6, 2004 01:53 PM

Yeah, those WMD are a myth. All those Kurds and Iranians gassed with some of them would agree if they were still alive.

I’d like to know what you’re smoking so I could light up and be somebody too.

Posted by: Buster at July 6, 2004 02:56 PM

…no one has ever expained to me…

Actually, all of the things on your list (well… the ones that anyone actually said) have been explained numerous times but I guess it’s sort of hard to hear with your head in the sand.

Posted by: Lynn S at July 6, 2004 03:43 PM

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