That's the claim of an email I just received from the misnamed Institute for Public Accuracy. The email attacks many of Barack Obama's foreign policy advisers for their alleged militarism and service in the Clinton administration. It's mostly worth ignoring, but a couple of the entries stood out. One of the key talking points to emerge from the Obama campaign in the recent skirmishing on national security concerns John McCain's support for the Iraq War. "The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we'd be greeted as liberators," Obama said yesterday. "They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war." Obama wants voters to believe that such deception and poor judgment means John McCain should not be president. But he doesn't seem to mind that several of his top advisers said the same things and were every bit as unequivocal in their claims about Saddam Hussein as McCain or George W. Bush. The IPA release highlights comments from Susan Rice and Tim Roemer. Rice: "I think he [then Secretary of State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don't think many informed people doubted that." (NPR, Feb. 6, 2003) And: "It's clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It's clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that's the path we're on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side." (NPR, Dec. 20, 2002) And: "I think the United States government has been clear since the first Bush administration about the threat that Iraq and Saddam Hussein poses. The United States policy has been regime change for many, many years, going well back into the Clinton administration. So it's a question of timing and tactics. ... We do not necessarily need a further Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions. (NPR, Nov. 11, 2002) In October 2002, Roemer, according the release, called the threat from Saddam Hussein "grave and growing" and declared that it was a threat that had to be met in "the not-too-distant-future." The release neglects to mention John Kerry, who has been on Obama campaign conference calls each of the past two weeks and is reportedly under consideration as Obama's runningmate. (UPDATE: Kerry will be on another conference call this afternoon.) Was he, too, hyping the threat from Saddam Hussein? Did he mislead the American people when he said, in October 2002:
It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world. He has as much as promised it.
Or:
In 1991, the world collectively made a judgment that this man should not have weapons of mass destruction. And we are here today in the year 2002 with an uninspected 4-year interval during which time we know through intelligence he not only has kept them, but he continues to grow them.
Or:
I believe the record of Saddam Hussein's ruthless, reckless breach of international values and standards of behavior which is at the core of the cease-fire agreement, with no reach, no stretch, is cause enough for the world community to hold him accountable by use of force, if necessary. The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons.
Or:
I have said publicly for years that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein pose a real and grave threat to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. Saddam Hussein's record bears this out...It is clear that in the 4 years since the UNSCOM inspectors were forced out, Saddam Hussein has continued his quest for weapons of mass destruction. According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer restriction imposed by the United Nations in the ceasefire resolution. Although Iraq's chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 years. Evidence suggests that it has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. Intelligence reports show that Iraq has invested more heavily in its biological weapons programs over the 4 years, with the result that all key aspects of this program--R&D, production and weaponization--are active. Most elements of the program are larger and more advanced than they were before the gulf war. Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland. Since inspectors left, the Iraqi regime has energized its missile program, probably now consisting of a few dozen Scud-type missiles with ranges of 650 to 900 kilometers that could hit Israel, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region. In addition, Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs, capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents, which could threaten Iraq's neighbors as well as American forces in the Persian Gulf.
Or, my favorite, his apparent reference to the NIE:
According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop nuclear weapons. The more difficult question to answer is when Iraq could actually achieve this goal. That depends on is its ability to acquire weapons-grade fissile material. If Iraq could acquire this material from abroad, the CIA estimates that it could have a nuclear weapon within 1 year.
I know that bringing these quotes up causes eye-rolling among my colleagues in the Washington press corps. But in this instance I agree with the lefties from IPA. How can Obama trust Susan Rice to serve as one of his top foreign policy advisers when she "hyped" the threat from Saddam Hussein? And shouldn't somebody ask the Obama campaign why John McCain's claims about the Iraqi threat disqualify him from higher office and John Kerry's don't?
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