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Sunday, November 28, 2004

 

Nous Sommes Désolés...

"Saddam's goal... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed."
A quote from George W. Bush, in early 2003, right? Or maybe Cheney or Rumsfeld... or surely one of those power-crazed neocons, maybe Wolfowitz or Perl.

Wrong!

This is a quotation from our former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, and she said it in 1998.

How about this one:
"[Saddam] will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983."
Would you believe Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security advisor?

So long as Saddam remained "in power and in confrontation with the world," Berger argued, Iraq would remain "a source of potential conflict in the region," and perhaps more important, "a source of inspiration for those who equate violence with power and compromise with surrender."

In the end, Berger explained, containment of Saddam would not be enough. The "immediate military threat" might be held at bay for the moment. "But even a contained Saddam" was "harmful to stability and to positive change in the region." And in fact, containment was probably not "sustainable over the long run." It was "a costly policy, in economic and strategic terms." The pattern of
the previous years--"Iraqi defiance, followed by force mobilization on our part, followed by Iraqi capitulation"--had left "the international community vulnerable to manipulation by Saddam." The longer the standoff continued, Berger warned, "the harder it will be to maintain" international support. Nor was there any question what Saddam would do if and when containment collapsed. "Saddam's history of aggression, and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance. Year after year, in conflict after conflict, Saddam has proven that he seeks weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, in order to use them."

For this reason, Berger continued, the Clinton administration had concluded it would be necessary at some point to move beyond containment to regime change.

Now as a lifelong Democrat and Clinton-supporter (I voted for him both times,) I'm pleased and proud that Mrs. Albright and Mr. Berger got it right way back when.

Anyone who listened to or has read Charles Duelfer's recent testimony before the Senate should be impressed with how prescient Albright and Berger were. Mr. Duelfer's report makes clear that the prewar threat posed by Iraq was serious and inevasible. Had the United States not acted against Saddam in roughly the time frame that it did, it is hard to argue that we would not now be faced with a Saddam freed of sanctions and in unfettered pursuit and production of WMDs.

What's all this got to do with that French ("we're sorry...") title for today's post?

Well, there is a subset of Americans that believes that we should apologize to the rest of the world for having chosen President Bush in a democratic election. You can see some of them at Sorry Everybody, a website for posting pictures of yourself holding signs disowning and apolizing for our election results. For example, this guy, sitting with his toddler and infant and claiming to represent all 56.5 million Kerry voters. How silly. And what chutzpah!

Well I'm sorry too. But not for our election. I feel sorry for those millions of people on the other side of the Atlantic whose leaders don't get it... or maybe they get it quite well, but choose to ignore it, as Mrs. Albright and Mr. Berger regrettfully did over the past year.

Skipjack at City Dock, Thanksgiving 2003And to show how sorry I am, I've decided to make a self-portrait-with-expression-of-sympathy of my own, as you can see right here. For those of you who didn't pay attention in Mrs. Anthony's eighth-grade French class, my sign says, "Chirac... too bad!" Yes, I feel very bad for the people of la République that they have to put up with M. Chirac, a politician who seems to be perpetually awash in the tainte of corruption. In fact, maybe that's why he refused to support UN military action against Saddam under any circumstances - perhaps there were too many of his copains who were making beaucoup de fric off of Oil for Food?

Now let's see you join me! How about doing one for the Germans - a photo of yourself holding a sign that says, Es tut ich Leid, dass Sie mit Gerhard Schroeder gesteckt sind! ... that's machine-translated German for "I'm sorry you're stuck with [German Chancellor] Gerhard Schroeder!" You could even draw a cartoon face with a little cartoon tear... good stuff!

No need to send your apologies to the people of countries like Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and of course, Great Britain. Their leaders get it.

Send me your US-friendly "I'm sorry" photo, and I'll publish it here on my blog!


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