Bush Forcefully Attacks Iraq Critics
Nov 11 12:53 PM US/Eastern
By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press Writer
President Bush forcefully attacked critics of the war in Iraq on Friday, accusing them of trying to rewrite history and saying they are undercutting American forces on the front lines.
"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges," the president said in his combative Veterans Day speech.
Defending the march to war, Bush said that foreign intelligence services and Democrats and Republicans alike were convinced at the time that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and mislead the American people about why we went to war," Bush said.
He said those critics have made those allegations although they know that a Senate investigation "found no evidence" of political pressure to change the intelligence community's assessments related to Saddam's weapons program.
He said they also know that the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing Saddam's development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.
"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said.
The president's remarks at the Tobyhanna Army Depot were part of the administration's effort to bolster waning U.S. public support for the war in which at least 2,059 U.S. troops have died. Bush offered a forceful defense of the war in Iraq, saying it is the central front in the war on terror and that extremists are trying to establish a radical Muslim empire extending from Spain to Indonesia.
"We will never back down. We will never give in. We will never accept anything less than complete victory," he said Friday.
Bush said the United States and its allies are determined to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of extremists and prevent them from gaining control of any country.
Bush singled out Syria for particular criticism, saying its government had taken "two disturbing steps" in recent days. He cited the arrest of Syria pro-democracy activist Kamal Labwani and a "strident speech" by President Bashar Assad. In that speech, Assad said his government would cooperate with a U.N. investigation that implicated Syrian officials in the killing of a Lebanese leader, but warned he would no longer "play their game" if Syria "is going to be harmed."
Bush said Syria "must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy."
Bill Clinton's statment on Hussein:
"Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too." http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/02/ ... nton.iraq/