December 29, 2003

Dean Goofs, Clarifies

In an interview with the Concorde Monitor, Howard Dean says a bunch of stuff that later has to be “clarified” on his blog. (Via Daniel Drezner.)

Dean said there was no evidence to suggest the Bush administration's use of force against Iraq had anything to do with Libya's move [to shut down its weapons of mass destruction programs].

"I have no way of knowing whether we could or could not have done it" before the Iraq war, Dean said.

Let me just repeat this quote, since it obviously hasn’t gotten across.

Gaddafi himself said:

I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
Case closed.

Back to Howard Dean.

We've had six or eight justifications of why [Bush] went to war in Iraq
Reminding everyone that there is a long list of reasons for going to war in Iraq is a poor strategy for an anti-war campaign.

Here are six or eight justifications, the existence of which do not boost Howard Dean’s position.

1. Saddam Hussein was in violation of the cease-fire agreements that put the 1991 Gulf War on hold by firing at British and American airplanes in the no-fly zones.

2. Saddam Hussein was in violation of more than a dozen UN Security Council resolutions, including one that threatened the use of force if he did not immediatly surrender all relevant documentation to Hans Blix regarding the production of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator guilty of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

4. Saddam Hussein publicly threatened to finish Hitler’s job by destroying the state of Israel.

5. Saddam Hussein was an obstacle to long-overdue political liberalization and democratization in the Arab Middle East.

6. Saddam Hussein’s support for Palestinian terrorists made a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict impossible.

7. Saddam Hussein was an ongoing threat to Saudi Arabia, and due to Saudi support for Al Qaeda and Islamic fascism generally, the United States was not able to continue protecting the House of Saud indefinitely, nor could the world afford to have Saddam Hussein in control of Saudi oil and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina if we abandoned the Saudis to their fate.

8. In the post-911 era of apocalyptic terrorism, mass-murdering anti-American dictators who align themselves with terrorists and who have produced and deployed the weapons of genocide are too dangerous to be allowed to remain in power.

The Monitor asked: Where should Osama bin Laden be tried if he's caught? Dean said he didn't think it made any difference, and if he were president he would consult with his lawyers for advice on the subject.
Howard Dean needs a whole team of high-priced lawyers to tell him that the mass-murderer of Americans ought to be put on trial in America instead of in France or Saudi Arabia or Micronesia. This reminds me of the time when the first president Bush, while running for re-election, had no idea how much a gallon of milk costs. A president has to be at least slightly in tune with how normal people think and live, and must be able to demonstrate that he doesn’t live on a rarified plane in another dimension.
But wouldn't most Americans feel strongly that bin Laden should be tried in America - and put to death?

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said.

Osama bin Laden admitted to planning the September 11 attacks, then laughed about it on camera.
I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials.
Dean issued a clarifying statement on his blog.
I share the outrage of all Americans.
Then why the need to clarify? Bush, Gephardt, and Lieberman never have to issue statements like this.
Osama bin Laden has admitted that he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well as scores of men, women and children around the world.
Then let’s not worry about prejudging jury trials. K?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 29, 2003 12:10 AM
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