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April 14, 2013

Bill Clinton to Condoleezza Rice in 2003: Invading Iraq Would Be Morally Right Thing to Do

Last week Glenn Greenwald interviewed Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, who both were National Security Council staffers during the Bush administration. At one point Hillary Leverett describes how "the entire American political apparatus," including Bill Clinton, supported the invasion of Iraq:

LEVERETT: It wasn't just ideologically-driven people, individual actors within the Bush administration, that were driving us to war. It was the entire American political apparatus. In a lot of ways, we thought, it was essentially tough to have checks and balances, to ask hard questions, when the United States was pursuing policies that could end up killing a lot of people and really do serious harm to our interests.

We saw the Bush administration, of course, make very bad decisions, but even more disheartening for us, even more disturbing to us as professional political analysts and policy-makers, was the opposition, the Democrats. We remember when Condi Rice came back from going to meet with – she was my boss at the time – going to meet with Bill Clinton, and she recounting how he put his arm around her, and told her that what the Bush administration was doing in gearing up for this invasion of Iraq, was not just the correct thing to do strategically but it was the morally right thing to do.

This was from the leader of the Democratic opposition, in a sense. The leading Democratic senators in Congress, the media, they were all not just supporting it, but hyping information that we didn't see – to read in the New York Times that there was this case of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that we didn't see with our top secret security clearances in the White House, was a really jarring experience on the negative side.

This isn't the first time Leverett has said this about Clinton and Iraq. In 2007, when Bill Clinton was campaigning for Hillary, he claimed he had "opposed Iraq from the beginning," which irritated Leverett so much she spoke to the Washington Post about it:

Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was "shocked" and "astonished" by Clinton's remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams "coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that 'we have Clinton's support.' "...

She recalled being told that Clinton made it clear to Rice and Abrams that they could count on his public support for the war if it was necessary.

And Clinton didn't just support the invasion of Iraq privately; as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting pointed out in 2007, he supported it publicly too. The day before the war started he wrote an op-ed for the Guardian headlined "Trust Tony's Judgement." And in 2004 he told Time Magazine "I supported the Iraq thing."

P.S. In a recent slam of Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick's book and TV series The Untold History of the United States, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz sneered at them for portraying "liberal anticommunism [after World War II] as virtually indistinguishable from – indeed, as complicit with – the anticommunism of the right." After all, if Untold History convinced viewers that was true, they might also begin to believe something even nuttier, like that liberal foreign policy today is virtually indistinguishable from conservative foreign policy. Wilentz is good friends with Bill Clinton, and they probably spend lots of time together shaking their heads sadly about people crazy enough to think that.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at April 14, 2013 03:20 PM

What clued me in was all the cheering while Baghdad burned.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 14, 2013 08:31 PM

I am making a video right now about a guy on Youtube who is enthusiastically calling for the bombing of North Korea and the killing of not only Kim Jong Un but his family and relatives too! This is a guy who calls himself a peace guy and on his channel page he has a picture of himself and Amy Goodman. He talks about "bombing them out of their misery."

The more I look into it, the mass media is perpetrating a massive fraud on the American people with regard to North Korea: How They Sell War on North Korea

And with the Iraq War crime, I see MANY so called liberals who play along as if there is any legitimacy at all. I have seen many ignore or deny an indisputable fact that Saddam DID allow the inspectors in. Don't forget that Bush halted an inspection process that was underway and committed a war crime. Bush has the audacity to justify his crime by claiming Saddam didn't even let the inspectors in! And the media has allowed him to get away with that lie. The UN were doing inspections and debunking all the intel. You see that many people claim the fault is "bad intel" when that can't be an excuse because it was checked and disproven BEFORE THE WAR.
 "By the time President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein of the deadly weapons he was allegedly trying to build, every piece of fresh evidence had been tested -- and disproved -- by U.N. inspectors, according to a report commissioned by the president" Panel: U.S. Ignored Work of U.N. Arms Inspectors By Dafna Linzer Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 3, 2005; Page A06
BEFORE THE WAR Hans Blix wrote, "Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far" with inspectors. "The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt."

I see Obama and many others talk about the Iraq war as if it wasn't a crime.

Posted by: Tom Murphy at April 15, 2013 07:17 AM


and many more to come!


April 15, 2004
A Tiny Revolution is Born!
... and like so many infants these days, it is a clone. In its case, it was cloned from the basic Movable Type template. However, sometime soon the design will become more creative and it will develop its own unique, revolutionary, tiny DNA.

Posted by: rupa shah at April 15, 2013 09:42 AM

Opportunism and double speak are, I guess required qualities in our so called "leaders"!!
Obama was against Iraq invasion but he had NO hesitation in carrying out surgical missile strikes against Iran or Pakistan EVEN BEFORE he became Illinois Senator!!

"U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs."


ps there is always an excuse.....WMD ( non-existent ) for Dubya, alleged nuclear weapons of Iran for Obama!

Posted by: rupa shah at April 15, 2013 10:08 AM

Speaking of movies, may I suggest "Atomic Cafe"? Not to be a spoiler, but early in the movie there are interviews from 1950 with several people, some clergy, ALL of whom call for the U.S. to nuke North Korea. WE've been waiting since 1950, ALL these years, for THIS MAGIC MOMENT, and its only a touch of a button, "just a kiss away".

WE ARE ALL Paul Tibbets,
Sitting in the cockpit,
Desperately waiting for
Just a word from Curtis LaMay,
To bring to the world
ANOTHER bright and shining
New day.

"Yobo say yo"!!!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 15, 2013 11:38 AM

I'm not really surprised at Clinton's view. I wonder what Jimmy Carter thought. In the run-up to invading Iraq Russ Feingold and Teddy Kennedy gave Senate speeches against it, so it was by no means unanimous, even among the power structure, that it was morally right to kill Iraqis. In fact, Wikipedia has a whole article about it:

Mass murderers very seldom are brought to justice by human institutions, but even though we little people are powerless in the face of oppression writ large we have some control over our own personal actions. For example, missus charley and I now eschew consuming almost all animal products. Who knows if it's good or bad?

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at April 15, 2013 01:28 PM

When WE all are called
To stand before THE LORD
HE'll call those too
Whom WE have killed
And probably ask a lot of embarrassing questions.

Happy TAX Day---keep paying, keep playing.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 15, 2013 02:32 PM

That is really weird that Carter was so quiet about it. Surely there's something on the internet...

Posted by: godoggo at April 16, 2013 12:48 AM

Yep, there is!

Posted by: godoggo at April 16, 2013 12:53 AM

Did that sound sarcastic? Wasn't meant to.

Posted by: godoggo at April 16, 2013 01:18 AM

"Bill Clinton: Criticize, Don't Demonize Officeholders"

that's right! think more 'Pauline Kael' than, e.g.,, Noam, Kuznick, Zinn, Bill Blum, etc...

criticisms, witticisms, etc., are ok--but NO..., uh, shitticisms (?)...

Got it? No matter what bloodbath they conjure up, no matter the charnel house they manifest, or the burning of children ("instead of paper"), etc.--NO shitticisms, just criticisms...(and tread LIGHTLY, too, please! toujours gaie! être attentif!)

Kosovo? une petite critique...

My Lai? encore! une critique...

Helmand province? voila! la critique, c'est si bon!...

East Timor? une fois de plus! critique...

'Cast Lead'? oui, c'est de rigueur, la critique...

'Collateral Murder'? critique

et ainsi de suite...

Posted by: Dean Taylor at April 19, 2013 07:04 AM