“We were right to remove Saddam Hussein from power. This man was a threat. He was a threat to the region. He was a threat to America. He was a threat to the United States’ interests in the region and to the peace of the world. We were absolutely right with our coalition partners to remove him from power. We have no excuses to make for it.”
The statement above followed a long litany by Rove of the atrocities of Saddam, as well as the various reports we had of Saddam’s interest in acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.
Pat Hynes, who videotaped the Rove speech in New Hampshire, has long argued that Republicans should “bring shame upon those Democrats in Washington who say we should have left Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq.” Hynes says, “It is my considered opinion that if Saddam Hussein is made to be the virtual running mate of every Democrat running for high public office in 2006, the tide of public opinion on Iraq will turn and Republicans will actually gain seats in Washington this election year.”
I have argued similarly that in addition to strongly defending Republicans for supporting the President in removing Saddam, the President and Republicans should be making the point that Dick Cheney made in July 2003 speech, that Democrats failed to act. Cheney said that knowing what we knew then, prior to invading Iraq, and looking at it in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks, it would have been irresponsible NOT to take action to remove Saddam Hussein.
In that speech Cheney said, “When the decision fell to him, President Bush was not willing to place the future of our security, and the lives of our citizens, at the mercy of Saddam Hussein. And so the President acted.” That is a powerful message that should be presented to the public this election season. Voters should be reminded that not only did many Democrats who were faced with the same information, fail to act, but many of those who supported the president’s decision to act, later withdrew that support when public opinion polls shifted.