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Topics in the News: WMD


Tom Steyer on War & Peace : Nov 7, 2019
Diplomatic measures must always be the first choice

The best way to keep us safe is to show our allies and adversaries that a steady hand and cool temper is commanding the United States armed forces, and that our country has no intention of attacking others first. We must continue to work with our partners and adversaries to curtail the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and reduce existing stockpiles. Diplomatic measures through multilateral or bilateral channels must always be the first choice.
Click for Tom Steyer on other issues.   Source: USA Today on 2019 Democratic primary

Pete Buttigieg on War & Peace : Feb 12, 2019
2002: opposed Iraq War because believed WMDs would be used

It turns out that most of us, for and against the war, were wrong about the Saddam's WMDs. He didn't have any--and so they were not there to be used against American troops.

Iraq fell quickly, and for a moment it seemed that the invasion was a vindication of American intervention abroad. Protesters like me looked foolish. Sure, the pretext for war was actually false, but who could quibble over that, as a brutal dictatorship was being turned into a model democracy at relatively little cost to America?

Then the suicide bombings began. We were not, as the administration had promised, "greeted as liberators." A well-functioning democracy did not emerge. And the ensuing chaos made it clear that the administration had not planned for the aftermath of the invasion, as Iraqi cities became a kill zone for our troops. We who were against the invasion had been wrong about the weapons, but right about the war. The administration had been wrong about both.

Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 52

Marianne Williamson on Homeland Security : Jul 24, 2018
Remove pathological romanticization of the military

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I was one of many Americans saying, "This is Vietnam all over again." At the time, we were described by officialdom as facile thinkers who simply didn't understand the severity of the situation. What we did understand was that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11; there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq; and even if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, let us be adult enough to remember we do business with countries that have WMD every day. Oh, and Saddam Hussein killed his own people? So have the Chinese, and we did not invade them.

We need a miracle of God to remove from us what has become an almost pathological romanticization of the military. I have a great respect for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, but their idealization as ultimate and exclusive saviors in times of national distress is a disservice to them and to us all. If America spent more time and resources waging peace, we would find ourselves waging far less war.

Click for Marianne Williamson on other issues.   Source: Healing the Soul of America, by Marianne Williamson, p.105-6

Mike Pence on War & Peace : Jul 15, 2016
Supported Iraq war and sending more US troops there in 2007

Pence, near the beginning of his 12-year tenure in the U.S. House, voted for the resolution authorizing the 2003 Iraq invasion. Pence, who chaired the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, was also a prominent backer of the 2007 "surge" strategy sending more U.S. troops to the faltering effort in Iraq, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the time that "the surge is working" while also defending the original decision to invade despite the absence of weapons of mass destruction.
Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: CNN.com 2016 Veepstakes, "Pence foreign policy"

Lincoln Chafee on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
There was no real evidence of WMDs in Iraq before invasion

CHAFEE: If you're looking ahead, and you're looking at someone who made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I know because I did my homework, and, so, that's an indication of how someone will perform in the future. And that's what's important.

Q: He's questioning your judgment.

CLINTON: I recall very well being on a debate stage about 25 times with then Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State. He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him in the Situation Room.

Click for Lincoln Chafee on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Lincoln Chafee on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
American credibility suffered because of Iraqi WMD lies

We have to repair American credibility after we told the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he didn't. So there's an issue of American credibility out there. We have repair work to be done. I think we need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president.
Click for Lincoln Chafee on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Lincoln Chafee on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
I never believed Saddam had WMDs

What I'm most proud of is my judgment, particularly in the Iraq war vote. There was a lot of political pressure, public pressure. But I did my homework and I did not believe that the evidence was there that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And we live now with the consequences. I'm running for president to end the wars. I want to be the peacemaker. I am a proven peacemaker.
Click for Lincoln Chafee on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Deval Patrick on War & Peace : Apr 12, 2011
Bush was careless in starting Iraq war

Kerry was given a perfect opportunity to distinguish himself from Bush in the summer of 2004 when a bipartisan commission issued a damning report on the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq. The weapons of mass destruction, used by Bush to justify his decision to go to war, did not exist. Both candidates were asked: Had you known then what you know now--that there were no weapons of mass destruction--would you have still invaded Iraq?

Bush immediately said yes. Kerry dawdled for 3 days, and many assumed he was conducting a poll to determine the best answer or the best way to frame it. I furiously shot off emails to Kerry's brother, a prominent Boston lawyer who was central to the campaign. I thought Kerry had a chance to present a different vision for using American military force while confronting the Bush administration for its carelessness in starting the war. Instead, he answered the question by agreeing with Bush. I was certain it was not what he believed.

Click for Deval Patrick on other issues.   Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p.204-205

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
2002: Saddam gave sanctuary to terrorists including Al Qaeda

Bill Clinton saw Iraq as a major threat. His secretary of state called the ability of states like Iraq to use their weapons "the greatest security threat we face." Clinton's national security adviser stated with certainty that "Saddam will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." In 2002, Hillary Clinton also warned the Saddam was working to rebuild his nuclear program and had "given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members."
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Last Best Hope, by Joe Scarborough, p. 36-7

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 1, 2008
2002: Saddam gave aid to Al Qaeda terrorists

"Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts. That he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons."
--Sen. John Edwards, Sept. 12, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members."
--Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002

"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that."
--Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Nov. 17, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
--Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2003

"If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be too late."
--Sen. Joseph Biden, Sept. 4, 2002

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 28-29

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 1, 2008
2002: Waiting to be sure of Saddam danger could be too late

"Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts. That he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons."
--Sen. John Edwards, Sept. 12, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members."
--Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002

"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that."
--Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Nov. 17, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
--Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2003

"If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be too late."
--Sen. Joseph Biden, Sept. 4, 2002

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 28-29

Mike Gravel on Government Reform : May 2, 2008
Senators can & should reveal secret war plans with impunity

The significance today of my 1972 Supreme Court case could not be greater. In April 2007, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip, said about Iraq WMD evidence, “In the Intelligence Committee we were sworn to secrecy. We can’t walk out the door and say, ‘The statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that’s being given to this Congress.’ We can’t do that.”

Durbin is dead wrong. If his staff had only researched my case he could have indeed walked out that door and onto the Senate floor and spoke his mind about the lies the administration were weaving about Iraq. Had he and other senators done so, a catastrophe may have been averted. Instead, as Durbin said: “I listened to this heated debate about invading Iraq, thinking the American people are being misled. I didn’t feel at the time that the American people knew the real facts.” If only Durbin had recognized his rights and dared to act.

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: A Political Odyssey, by Mike Gravel, p. 64-65

Lincoln Chafee on War & Peace : Apr 1, 2008
Only Republican vote against Iraq War

I had cast the only Republican vote against the war in Iraq.

Like every American, I looked at the facts and reached my own conclusion on whether Pres. Bush and V.P. Cheney knew, before they ordered our troops into Iraq, that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Behind the scenes, I think, key figures in the administration had a variety of reasons for wanting to topple the dictator. But none were willing to suggest to the American people that their sons and daughters should fight and die for any of these reasons. Instead, the White House marketed the war on chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the threat of "the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

Click for Lincoln Chafee on other issues.   Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.164&203

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jan 31, 2008
Iraq war vote was meant to be used as coercive diplomacy

Q: Why can’t you just say right now that vote was a mistake?

A: I did an enormous amount of investigation and due diligence to try to determine what if any threat could flow from the history of Saddam being both an owner of and a seeker of WMD. The ide of putting inspectors back in was a credible idea. I believe in coercive diplomacy. You try to figure out how to move bad actors in a direction that you prefer in order to avoid more dire consequences. If you took it on the face of it and if you took it on the basis of what we hoped would happen with the inspectors going in, that in and of itself was a policy that we’ve used before. We have used the threat of force to try to make somebody change their behavior. What no one could have fully appreciated is how obsessed Bush was with this particular mission. Unfortunately, I and others who warned at the time, let the inspectors finish their work do not wage a preemptive war, use diplomacy, were just talking to a brick wall.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jun 3, 2007
Iraq war wouldn’t have happened had the inspectors been sent

Q: Do you regret not reading the National Intelligence Estimate before the Iraq war vote? A: I feel like I was totally briefed, I knew all of the arguments that were being made by everyone from all directions. I thought the best way to find out who was right in the intelligence community was to send in the inspectors. If Bush had allowed the inspectors to finish the job they started, we would have known that Saddam Hussein did not have WMD and we would not have gone and invaded Iraq.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Apr 29, 2007
In 2002 Saddam posed a threat of purchasing a nuclear bomb

Q: In 2002 you said about Saddam: “He must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.”

A: I was correct about that. I also said at the time that I did not think he had weaponized his material, but he did have these stockpiles everywhere.

A: It turned out they didn’t, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. What he did with them, who knows?

Q: Gen. Zinni, when he heard the discussion about WMD that Saddam had, said, “I’ve never heard that” in any of the briefings he had as head of the Central Command. How could you as a US Senator be so wrong?

A: I wasn’t wrong. When asked about aluminum tubes, I said they’re for artillery. I don’t believe they’re for cascading.

Q: But you said Saddam was a threat.

A: He was a threat.

Q: In what way?

A: If Saddam was left unfettered, with sanctions lifted and billions in his coffers, then he had the ability to purchase a tactical nuclear weapon.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Apr 29, 2007
Vote for war allowed war only after all else failed

Q: Should you have sought out people who had a dissenting view on WMD?

A: Oh, I did. I called every intelligence agency before the Foreign Relations Committee, had them all sit there at once. I pointed out to all my colleagues who came that there was vast disagreement among the intelligence community.

Q: But despite the doubts you heard, you voted for the war.

A: I voted to give the president the authority to avoid a war. We had a more constrictive amendment, but he had 55 votes no matter what.

A: It allowed the president to go to war. It did not authorize him to go to it. You make it sound like it said, “Mr. President, go to war.” It said, “Mr President, don’t go to war.” It said “go to the United Nations. Try to get a deal. Get the inspectors back in. Tell us that that’s what you’re about to do. And, Mr. President, if all else fails, you have authority to use force.” That’s what it said.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Hillary Clinton on Principles & Values : Apr 26, 2007
Biggest mistakes: mishandling healthcare; believing in WMDs

Q What is the most significant political or professional mistake you have made in the past four years?

A: Well, I don’t have enough time to tell you all the mistakes I’ve made in the last many years. Certainly, the mistakes I made around health care were deeply troubling to me and interfered with our ability to get our message out. And, you know, believing the president when he said he would go to the United Nations and put inspectors into Iraq to determine whether they had WMD.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
Protecting nuclear power plants is of utmost importance

We have utterly failed to deal with what may be one of the most significant potential terror threats to this country, and that is how we protect our chemical plants across the nation. These plants are stationary weapons of mass destruction spread across the country. Their security is light, their facilities are easily entered, and their contents are deadly.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p.160

Joe Sestak on War & Peace : Nov 7, 2006
We’ve achieved our goals; withdraw from Iraq by end of 2007

Withdraw from Iraq by end of next year: We must use our prompt military disengagement from Iraq to force the three major parties to understand that America has achieved its ends: (1) no weapons of mass destruction threaten us; (2) we have provided a framework for democracy; (3) we have provided resources to begin to revive their economy; and (4) a torturous dictatorship has been removed.
Click for Joe Sestak on other issues.   Source: 2006 House campaign website, sestakforcongress.com, “Issues”

Howie Hawkins on War & Peace : Nov 1, 2006
Immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq

Q: Should the US support the creation of a Palestinian state?

A: Yes.

Q: Should the US withdraw its troops from Iraq?

A: Yes.

Q: Discuss your proposals for an exit strategy in Iraq.

A: Immediate and unconditional withdrawal. The real US military mission was to establish military bases and control the oil, not WMDs, terrorism, and democracy as the politicians spun it. The mission was imperialistic. It was wrong and it should stop.

Click for Howie Hawkins on other issues.   Source: 2006 Congressional National Political Awareness

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2006
Regrets Bush’s handling of war, but not her war vote

Q: You’ve been critical of Pres. Bush’s handling of the war. But you have not apologized for your vote to authorize that action.

CLINTON: I regret the way the president used the authority that Congress gave him. I thought it made sense to get inspector back into Iraq, and backing it up with coercive diplomacy. I was worried that there were residual WMD, and that Saddam could have done something quite irrational. We know now that this administration never intended to let the inspectors do their job and contain Saddam. I take responsibility for my vote. I regret that we’ve had strategic blunders and misjudgments. But if we knew then what we know now, there never would have been a vote, and there never would have been a war. This president chose that war and unfortunately, was ill-prepared for what was needed to be done to be successful.

Q: Do you regret voting that way at the time?

CLINTON: I regret the way he used it. I don’t believe in do-overs in life. I made the best judgment at the time.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: NY 2006 Senate Debate, moderated by Bill Ritter

Amy Klobuchar on War & Peace : Aug 15, 2006
Supported invading Afghanistan, but not Iraq

While I support the invasion of Afghanistan, I disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq. After 3 years, it has become obvious to those who favored the war & to those who opposed it that the Bush-Cheney administration was not truthful about the reasons they gave for invading Iraq, nor were they truthful about having a plan to secure the peace & protect our troops once we invaded.

Whether it was their categorical (but false) assertions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or their repeated (but unsupported) claims of Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda, or their frequent (but untrue) assurances that America would go to war only with broad international support, or their constant (but divisive) attempts to “spin” the war by going after those who disagreed with them, the Bush-Cheney administration did not give honest information to the American people. This conduct has not only damaged America’s credibility throughout the world, but also undermined the American people’s confidence in our own government.

Click for Amy Klobuchar on other issues.   Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues”

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 26, 2004
Saddam did not own and was not providing WMD to terrorists

It’s simply not true that Saddam was providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. This incursion into Iraq has resulted in a situation in which terrorist recruits are up. It’s been acknowledged, now, by the Pentagon, that the insurgents active in Iraq are far higher. Terrorist attacks worldwide are the highest in 20 years. The notion that somehow we’re less vulnerable in the US as a consequence of spending 200 billion dollars and sacrificing thousands of lives is simply not borne out by the facts
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: IL Senate Debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 12, 2004
Terrorists are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran

OBAMA: The Bush administration could not find a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. WMD are not found in Iraq. And so, it is absolutely true that we have a network of terrorists, but it takes a huge leap of logic to suddenly suggest that that means that we invade Iraq. Saudi Arabia has a whole bunch of terrorists, so have Syria and Iran, and all across the globe. To mount full-scale invasions as a consequence is a bad strategy. It makes more sense for us to focus on those terrorists who are active to try to roll them up where we have evidence that in fact these countries are being used as staging grounds that would potentially cause us eminent harm, and then we go in. The US has to reserve all military options in facing such an imminent threat- but we have to do it wisely.

KEYES: That’s the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bush’s hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: [Xref Obama] IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Jul 12, 2004
Increase funding to decommission Russian nukes

More than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia still has more nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and enough nuclear material to produce 50,000 more. At the current rate of spending, it will take 13 years to secure all the potential bomb material from the old Soviet Republic. We should increase funding to do it in four years. We must also strengthen the existing Non-Proliferation Treaty, and lead in the efforts to prevent countries with the proven capability to build WMDs from doing so.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Press Release, “Renewal of American Leadership ”

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2004
2002 Iraq speech criticized both Saddam and U.N.

[On the 2002 Iraq war vote], she managed to sound vehemently anti Saddam without sounding pro Bush. In a floor speech on the measure to authorize the use of force in Iraq, Hillary managed quite a juggling act. She criticized the United Nations for puttin limits on inspection sites. She warned of Saddam Hussein’s ambitions for weapons of mass destruction. she concluded that going to war against Iraq ‘on the present facts is not a good option’ but voted to enable George W. Bush to lead the nation into war.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrell, p. 48-49

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