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July 14, 2004
Clinton: No Government Could Have Avoided Iraq, Post-9/11

The BBC reports that Bill Clinton, speaking on tour while promoting his autobiography, not only says he agreed that action had to be taken against Iraq after 9/11, but that the UN Security Council's failure to approve a final resolution threatening war left no choice to Tony Blair:

Bill Clinton says that no government could have failed to act against Iraq after the 11 September 2001 attacks in view of intelligence provided. The former US president told the BBC that UK intelligence on the activity of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was more "aggressive" than Washington's.

He added that the world was right to demand weapons inspections in 2002. But he said war could have been avoided if the UN had passed a resolution threatening military action. ...

He said that while containment of Iraq was working the situation regarding Saddam Hussein was different after the 11 September attacks. ... UK intelligence presented more compelling reasons for action than US intelligence, he said.

"The British intelligence, whatever Lord Butler says about it, was clearly even more forward-leading than the American intelligence in believing that Saddam was trying to get nuclear materials, in believing that Saddam had some kind of relationship with al-Qaeda," he said.

So Clinton supports the Iraq war, and rather unequivocally, as opposed to the Democratic ticket for the White House this year. Unlike John Kerry, Clinton lays the blame for the lack of UN support on the torpedoed final resolution, which died as a result of French and Russian intriguing. That's a far cry from Kerry, who reflexively blamed Bush and the American government for alienating its allies at the UN and building a "fraudulent coalition", which excluded only those nations getting rich off the UN Oil-For-Food program.

I wonder how Kerry will square his rhetoric with Clinton's interview? More likely, he won't have to worry about it; I doubt the BBC story will get a lot of play on this side of the Atlantic.

Predictably, Clinton also rehashes the canard that he was poised to strike at al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but the CIA held him back:

Turning to Afghanistan, Mr Clinton said he had been ready to send in special forces to defeat the former Taleban regime at the end of his time in office, but the operations had been called off at the last minute because the CIA did not trust its own intelligence.

It had not yet been confirmed that al-Qaeda, whom the Taleban was accused of harbouring, was in fact responsible for the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

Of course, this doesn't mention the fact that the CIA had been held to a law-enforcement standard in presenting its intelligence -- a standard still being applied today by the Left, for whom only a certainty beyond all doubt justifies any action. Most of us know better after 9/11, and Clinton's (and previous administrations') inaction on terror unfortunately enabled the lesson to occur.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2004 12:58 PM

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» Clinton Defends Bush. Again. Democrats ignore. Again. from QandO
Captain Ed points me to this interesting story on Bill Clinton's recent comments in Great Britain... Bill Clinton says that no government could have failed to act against Iraq after the 11 September 2001 attacks in view of intelligence provided.... [Read More]

Tracked on July 15, 2004 10:55 AM

» Bill's Plain English in England from A Stitch in Haste
Why hasn't this story jumped the pond? "Bill Clinton says that no government could have failed to act against Iraq after the 11 September 2001 attacks in view of intelligence provided. " [Read More]

Tracked on July 15, 2004 11:49 AM

» Invisi-Bill from Ipse Dixit
Bill Clinton rarely has any trouble getting the American media to pay attention to him. Quite the opposite, really; usually... [Read More]

Tracked on July 16, 2004 11:30 AM

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