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Irate at Iraq?

Is George W. Bush trying to avenge his father’s failed attempt to oust Saddam Hussein?

February 15, 2002

Is George W. Bush trying to avenge his father's failed attempt to oust Saddam Hussein?

Among the legacies that the 41st U.S. President George Bush left to his son President George W. Bush, is Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator survivied the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. sanctions and United Nations weapons inspections. Now, the 43rd U.S. President has Saddam in his sights as a member of what he has dubbed an “axis of evil.” Our new Read My Lips feature explores the views on Iraq.

What was Saddam Hussein’s reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks?

“Regardless of human feelings on what happened, the United States is reaping thorns sown by its rulers in the world. He who does not want to reap evil should not sow evil.”

(Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein, September 2001)

Where does Iraq fit in to the U.S. view of the war on terror?

“There is no question but that Iraq is a state that has committed terrorist acts and has sponsored terrorist acts.”

(U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, October 2001)

What reasons might U.S. President George W. Bush cite as a rationale for military action against Iraq?

“This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens — leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections — then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.”

(George W. Bush, January 2002)

How has Iraq responded to such charges?

“Little Bush’s accusation against Iraq is baseless.”

(Iraqi legislator Salim Qubaisi, January 2002)

What makes Iraq so dangerous?

“Unlike Osama bin Laden, Hussein has billions of dollars in government funds, scores of government research labs working feverishly on weapons of mass destruction — and just as deep a hatred of America and civilized free societies.”

(Ken Adelman, former U.S. arms control director, February 2002)

Did President Bush go over the top by labeling Iraq as part of an “axis of evil?”

“I think we’ve got to be very careful with rhetoric of that kind.”

(Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), February 2002)

Did other prominent U.S. Democrats agree with Daschle?

“As far as I’m concerned, there really is something to be said for occasionally putting diplomacy aside — and laying one’s cards on the table.”

(Former U.S. Vice President and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore, February 2002)

How firmly do U.S. Republicans echo the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy?

“A day of reckoning is approaching, not simply for Saddam Hussein, but for all members of the Atlantic community, whose governments face the choice of ending the threat we face every day from this rogue regime or carrying on as if such behaviour, in the wake of September 11, were somehow still tolerable.”

(U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AR), February 2002)

What is Israel’s reaction to the tough U.S. rhetoric on Iraq?

“(It’s) music to our ears.”

(Moshe Arens, Israel’s Likud Party elder, February 2002)

How does Europe view the prospect of attacking Iran?

“We Europeans warn against it. There is no indication, no proof that Iraq is involved in the terrorism we have been talking about for the past few months. This terror argument cannot be used to legitimise old enmities.”

(Ludger Vollmer, then-Germany’s deputy foreign minister, February 2002)

What is the Bush Administration’s response to such criticism?

“The United States under President George W Bush is not going to pull any punches. I think we learned all the way back with Ronald Reagan that you don’t soften the edges. You call out a threat when you see it.”

(National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, February 2002)

Does Iraq believe that it has allies in the event of a U.S. attack?

“The Arab world is not going to tolerate that at all because they know that this is unjust and is sheer aggression.”

(Then-Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, October 2001)

Would the end of Hussein mean the end of terrorism?

“If you topple Saddam Hussein, there will be another Saddam Hussein somewhere else.”

(Christoph Bertram, director of the German Institute for International Affairs and Security, February 2002)

In what way are George W. Bush’s prospects of removing Saddam better than his father’s?

“In 1991, we engaged a grand international coalition because we lacked a domestic coalition.”

(Former U.S. arms control director Ken Adelman, February 2002)

But is Iraq ready for political changes?

“I’ve lost count of the number of supposedly intelligent people who’ve said to me: ‘The Iraqis don’t have the same tradition of political freedom.’ No they don’t — but I bet they’d like to.”

(British Prime Minister Tony Blair, October 2002)

How did Iraq reply?

” I have met many of Britain’s leading politicians. Although not this young and excitable Mr. Blair.”

(Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, January 2003)

Is Saddam concerned about the escalating U.S. pressure?

“Saddam Hussein is rightly preoccupied with the analogy with Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who went from being all-powerful to dead in a few days.”

(Patrick Clawson, Research Director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, January 2002)

And what’s the word form Baghdad?

“Everyone who tries to climb over its wall — be it an aggressor, an insolent, a wicked, a perfidious and an oppressor — will fail in his attempt.”

(Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein, January 2003)