July 25, 2003

Cheney Speech

Supporters of Bush's Iraq policy have been urging the administration to be more outspoken in defense of their actions and motives, in light of the endless media and Democratic carping on the "16 words".

Vice-President Cheney's speech to the AEI yesterday was clearly a step in that direction. I urge you to read it all, such is the importance of the message, but I have excerpted some key passages:

I've watched for more than a year now as President Bush kept the American people constantly informed of the dangers we face and of his determination to confront those dangers. There was no need for anyone to speculate what the president was thinking. His words were clear and straightforward and understood by friend and enemy alike.

When the moment arrived to make the tough call, when matters came to the point of choosing, and the safety of the American people was at stake, President Bush acted decisively with resolve and with courage.

Now the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone forever, and at a safe remove from the danger, some are now trying to cast doubt upon the decision to liberate Iraq. The ability to criticize is one of the great strengths of our democracy, but those who do so have an obligation to answer this question: How could any responsible leader have ignored the Iraqi threat?

Last October, the director of Central Intelligence issued a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's continuing programs of weapons of mass destruction. That document contained the consensus judgments of the intelligence community, based upon the best information available about the Iraqi threat.

The NIE declared, quote, "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade," end quote.

Those charged with the security of this nation could not read such an assessment and pretend that it did not exist. Ignoring such information or trying to wish it away would be irresponsible in the extreme.

And our president did not ignore that information; he faced it. He sought to eliminate the threat by peaceful diplomatic means and when all else failed he acted forcefully to remove the danger.

And later, a challenge to the critics:

Critics of the liberation of Iraq must also answer another question. What would that country look like today if we had failed to act? If we had not acted, Saddam Hussein and his sons would still be in power. If we had not acted, the torture chambers would still be in operation, the prison cells for children would still be filled. Mass graves would still be undiscovered. The terror network would still enjoy the support and the protection of the regime.

Iraq would still be making payments to the families of suicide bombers attacking Israel and Saddam Hussein would still control vast wealth to spend on his chemical, biological and nuclear ambitions.

All of these crimes and dangers were ended by decisive military action. Everyone for many years wished for these good outcomes. Finally, one man made the decision to achieve them: President George W. Bush.

And the Iraqi people, the people of the Middle East and the American people have a safer future because Saddam Hussein's regime is history.

Bottom line: Bush acted to protect Americans and liberate Iraqis. If our intelligence was faulty, then we need to improve and/or correct it. But it's quite a stretch to make the case that Bush lied about WMD's so he could invade and occupy a country where his lie would be immediately revealed as such.

Posted by dan at July 25, 2003 9:45 PM