Walter E. Williams

Listening to the political and media rhetoric about the war in Iraq, you?d think that only President Bush thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Here are just a few past statements made by Bush?s critics.

President Clinton (1998): "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (February 1998): "Iraq is a long way from here, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."

In 2002, Al Gore said, "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Also in 2002, Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Sen. John Kerry, Democratic presidential front-runner, said in 2002, "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

In January 2003, Kerry added, "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."

The fact of the matter is that former President Clinton, as well as many members of Congress, believed, just as President Bush did, that Saddam Hussein possessed or was developing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. The widespread attacks on President Bush are little more than political demagoguery and grandstanding and depend on public forgetfulness and ignorance to succeed.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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