The misconceptions of strategy and contingency plans are wholly lost on one Toronto Star writer, who goes so far as to gloat over former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s statements that President Bush had Iraq war plans prior to 9/11.
Right up to the March, 2003, invasion, Bush led the world to think war might be avoided.
“I believe the free world . . . can disarm this man (Saddam) peacefully,” he said five months before the troops landed. While the U.S. had wanted “regime change,” Bush hinted Saddam could yet redeem himself.
“If he were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations . . . that in itself will signal the regime has changed,” Bush said.
Now we know differently. Saddam’s fate had been sealed years earlier. Diplomacy was irrelevant.
But the author forgets just one thing: governments plan for this sort of thing all the time. Surely, we have contingency and war plans for every tenuous area of the world–God help us if we don’t–and we had them under Clinton as well. That’s how government works–through planning. Without it, government can accomplish nothing.
It wasn’t that diplomacy was irrelevant, merely that in the failure of diplomacy there must be a “plan b.” President Bush and his administration had such a plan, and were able to make use of it following Hussein’s attempts to hamper UN inspections and ignore the will of the world.
No, Saddam’s fate was not sealed, at least not by anyone except himself. Were he to have complied with demands that he account for and disclose information pertaining to his weapons arsenal, there would have been no Iraq war. It’s a shame Bush’s detractors can’t see that.
Update: Newsmax has the goods on Clinton’s Iraq war plans.
According to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, “The 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act was passed by an unanimous Senate and a near-unanimous House,” after which Mr. Clinton certified it as the law of the land with his signature.