Clinton changes tune on Iraq?

By WND Staff

Former President Clinton may be criticizing plans by the current administration to invade Iraq, but four years ago his rhetoric against Saddam Hussein was as strong as President Bush’s, Vice President Dick Cheney pointed out on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Host Tim Russert Sunday played a videotape clip of Clinton offering some advice to the new administration on fighting terror: “Saddam Hussein didn’t kill 3,100 people on September the 11th,” Clinton said. “Osama bin Laden did. And as far as we know, he’s still alive. We might do more good for America’s security in the short run and at a far less cost by beefing up our efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere to flush out the entire network and to find him. We know they still have a terrorist network around the world. And we’re already kind of changing the subject here, looking at Saddam Hussein, who’s not going anywhere.”

Cheney smiled wryly after watching the clip.

“I brought along a little piece of paper with me, Tim,” he said. “You always have props, so I brought one with me this morning, in terms of the issue of Iraq. This goes back – the president asked the nation to consider the question: ‘What if Saddam Hussein fails to comply? We fail to act or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of sanctions and ignore the commitments he’s made. Well, he will conclude that the international community’s lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on doing more to build an arsenal of devastating destruction. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow. The stakes,’ he says, ‘could not be higher. Some way, some way, I guarantee you he’ll use the arsenal.’ Bill Clinton, 1998, on Saddam Hussein.”

Cheney added: “Now, this was for him, supposedly, a top priority four years ago. There was a great deal of stirring around on it, a lot of debate, resolutions passed by the Congress. Tom Daschle talking about the need to use military force to deal with the threat that Saddam Hussein represented. Of course, what happened is nothing happened. And now four years later, we find ourselves in a situation where the situation has gotten worse. He has gotten more capability. And we’re going to have to deal with this situation. But the suggestion that President Clinton made last night, I think – I mean, obviously we continue the war on terror. Obviously, we continue the pursuit of Osama bin Laden. We’re heavily engaged in Afghanistan. None of that’s going to change, and we’ll continue to do that as we go along. But we can no longer ignore the threat that Bill Clinton himself talked about four years ago.”