If Bush didn't remove Saddam...

…he would pay a heavy political fine for it.

He would be constantly asked, “Mr. President, do you know that Clinton and Gore called Saddam ‘an immenent threat’ to US and made ‘regime change in Iraq’ a priority for US gov’t? Also many Congressmen, Politicians, Experts and Military leaders, both Democrat and Republican, explicitly supported Saddam removal. If Saddam was ‘an imminent threat’ in 1998, shouldn’t he been dealt with even more seriously after 9-11? Why have you done nothing about Saddam, Mr. President?”

And Bush would say, “I tried, I really did. I was fully prepared to commit troops and remove Saddam. But I couldn’t get UN approval. I was opposed by French, Russian and Chinese in Security Council. It’s not my fault. And inspections are working, just remember that. True, Saddam is still cheating, but we are getting to the bottom of it. True, our opponents in UN may have lucrative reasons to forestall our intention to remove Saddam, but we are working with them on resolving our differences, while globally pressuring Saddam to come clean.”

And Sen. Kerry would wag his finger and intone, “American President does not need a permission slip from foreigners to defend US… The world today is a more dangerous place then it was on September 11…”

NI: If Bush didn’t remove Saddam…he would pay a heavy political fine for it.

All you’re saying is that Bush, like Clinton, inherited a tricky political situation with regard to Iraq, in which there were serious downsides to any course he might take.

Tough. That doesn’t excuse him from having followed his chosen course in the worst way, for the worst reasons, with the worst carelessness about the consequences.

Bush was beating down the doors of the Florida legislature in his eagerness to assume the Presidency and take on the burden of tricky political situations like this one. (As was Gore, natch.) Just because it was tricky doesn’t mean he gets a pass for having fucked it up so bad.

Not that I can add much to Kimstu’s answer…

But France asked only that we wait for two more months. That doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

Why? He didn’t have anything to do with 9-11. And as it turns out, he wasn’t as much of an “imminent threat” as we had thought. What we were doing was apparently working.

But why would people be asking that. Unless Saddam had launched a WMD attack on one of his neighbours or something. Oh, but wait, that would have required actually having some WMD.

But the inspections were working, We know that with great clarity now. And surely he would have to say “Saddam still might have the intention of trying to cheat.” But we already knew that, didn’t we? Otherwise, why would we have the inspections in the first place.

Ah, yes, the ever-popular “if six was nine” argument again.

Jeez, you’re arguing that Bush had to invade Iraq to have a hope of winning the 2004 election? I don’t know if the quoted statement is accurate or not. Let me just hop over to the parallel universe where Bush DIDN’T commission the invasion and see. Er, unfortunately I seem to have forgotten how to cast the necessary spell. Guess we’ll never know. Sorry.

Wait, wait…isn’t starting a war to improve your chances of re-election considered reprehensible?

Or is that no longer a Republican viewpoint?

Do you have a cite for this?

Actually, I’d like a cite that Clinton, or Gore, or any Democrat of national standing was saying that Saddam’s Iraq represented an “imminent threat” to the national security of the US, anytime between 1998 and Bush’s election (or SCOTUS decision).

Everyone agreed that Saddam had WMD, and was a threat to use them (on his neighbors or his own citizens). The policy of the US was that of regime change. But that policy didn’t mean the removal of Saddam by force by a nearly unilateral effort. Hell, I’ve been a consistent critic of this Iraq war, and I fully supported the national policy of regime change in Iraq.

I happen to recall the second presidential debate between Gore and Bush. When asked about the differences in Middle East policy, Gore wasn’t aware of any significant differences. Bush immediately injected Iraq into the conversation, and suggested he could do better than Clinton.

Gore suggested a two pronged plan - a policy of containment and continued sanctions and to support the groups who would like to overthrow Saddam.

Bush’s suggestion? Rebuild the coalition against Saddam. On other foreign policy questions, Bush continually emphasized the importance of NATO and our allies in Europe. In the Balkans, he talked about letting the Europeans be the peacekeepers, so the US military could focus “on fighting and winning war.” He later emphasized the point by saying he didn’t think US troops “ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.”

That is the position upon which Bush was elected (sic). The OP has just assembled a strawman based on arguments no one was making back in 2000, why would 2004 be so different?

9-11 you say? Well, Bush was successful in gaining the backing of Russia, France, Germany, even China, in getting unanimous approval for UNSC 1441. He got UN inspectors, unfettered, into Iraq for the first time ever. If he simply had not committed forces into Iraq, and even if Saddam remained in power to this day, all else equal, he would have exceptionally strong arguments that he had been more successful since any administration since his father’s. The presumption the OP imagines is simply bunk.

The Bush admin never called Saddam an imminent threat. They were quite consistant in using the term ‘grave and gathering danger’; only occasionally sliping into ‘grave and gathering threat’. As has been argued extensively here, neither phrase has the same legal impact as ‘imminent threat’.
As far as Bush being damned whatever he did about Saddam, that’s just a normal part of the president’s job. It’s a hard job.

Snap!

The Link

John Bolton is Under Secretary for Arms Control and Intenational Security.

Uh, Squink and sevastopol, for the purposes of this OP, I don’t think whether the Bush administration considered Iraq an “imminent threat” is even relevent, the question is whether Bush’s political opponents considered it so (which makes the OP even more of a stretch).

(little hijack)

I sincerely hope that in a few months of time from now I can make an OP with the title:

"What if the US population didn’t remove Bush "

instead of having to write:

“What if the US population had removed Bush”. (/little hijack)
In my view the OP is convinced that invading sovereign nations with the clear intention to
kill its president,
his family,
his government,
while being busy occasionally murder rouglhly between 13000 to 15000 of the nation’s civilians (and still counting),
do occasionally a bit of torture,
create the greatest distruction,
hence have as result a staggering disaster at all levels of life and society,
keep that nation occupied
and label those who resist the invaders “terrorists”

is a completely normal reasoning and hence a completely normal thing to do for leaders of other nations.

I applaud his honesty, yet I have a few questions about where it shall end if all people on this globe and the leaders of all nations on this globe come to the same conclusion and act accordingly.

Salaam. A

How were inspections working? They didn’t give a definite answer whether Saddm has WMD or not for 12 years. Nobody ever said outright that Saddam has no WMD (except Scott Ritter, who resigned and went public). By that logic, if we still needed to give inspectors more time to look for WMD after 12 years, perhaps we need to give US Army more time to look for WMD after only 1.5 years?

So, you come back to your thread, address the WMD inspectors issue (in a non-sensical fashion), but fail to provide any cites that back up the premise of your OP?

And please remember, there were no UN inspections occuring in Iraq when Bush took office. They went back in on the leadership of this administration. I suppose you are now making the contention that Iraq remained an “imminent threat” even with the UN inspectors crawling through Saddam’s skivvys?

I think you are confused. The purpose of the weapons inspections was not primarily to find out whether Iraq had WMD. Afterall, when they first began we knew that they had WMD, the purpose was to ensure that the Iraqis were complying with the terms of the ceasefire agreement which committed them to eliminating the weapons. As this appears to have been completed, that would indicate that the inspectors did a fine job.

As to whether it is ever possible for any inspection regime to prove a negative, sorry can’t really help you there.

A singularly unfortunate choice of metaphor…

Why do you think this?

Actually, the inspectors had only been back in Iraq for a few months. They had been absent for 4 years before that. So, you should be comparing a few months to 1.5 years and that few months is under rather different conditions than the 1.5 years.

IMHO, the best theory as to why the U.S refused to give the inspectors more time is that, while it is true that it is hard for them to prove a negative, what they were showing was that the U.S. intelligence was based on fairytales rather than fact. That may be the real reason why it was necessary to cut inspections off and invade.

If you wan’t a sound bite answer, Bush could have just said “Afghanistan and Al-Queda was the priority, and we didn’t want to take away from that battle when Saddam was effectively contained”.

In fact, he could have even said something about keeping his eye on the ball! :wink:

He might have also wanted to add that he is not a huge believer in nation-building. He could have explained that we are doing it of necessity in Afghanistan but it is not a responsibility that we should take on lightly because it is a task fraught with difficulties and dangers.