During the most recent Republican candidates’ forum in New Hampshire, Mr. Romney made the following statement: “The question [about whether going to war in Iraq was the right decision]is, kind of, a non sequitur … . If you’re saying, let’s turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in. I supported the President’s decision based on what we knew at the time.”
That statement suggests that Gov. Romney didn’t know or had forgotten that prior to the war Saddam Hussein did allow UN weapons inspectors in, that the inspectors were able to visit most of the sites they wanted to, that they asked U.S. intelligence agencies for more information on specific sites where weapons were expected to be and inspected them, finding no weapons of mass destruction.
So we asked Mr. Romney Monday whether he wanted to correct this impression.
Mr. Romney reacted somewhat indignantly. What he meant, in context, he said, was that Saddam didn’t allow completely unfettered inspections, that he stonewalled and evaded the inspectors. His campaign later sent an e-mail to buttress this conclusion, including quotes from Condoleezza Rice, deputy secretary of defense Richard Armitage, and the Iraq Study Group. We then got a phone call from a campaign operative seeking to clarify his position further.
We’ll accept that clarification. It is certainly true that there was evasion and deception on the part of Saddam’s regime even during the inspections just prior to the war. It is also true, however, that the inspectors found no weapons of mass destruction, nor were any found later, and that it was President Bush, not Saddam Hussein, who informed the IAEA that it would be prudent to end the inspections, since, as we soon discovered, the United States had already decided to invade Iraq.
Read the rest, it’s actually pretty good.
The OCRegister is frustrating. Sometimes they faithfully follow Republican talking points, but other times, like now, they seem to have some, oh, I don’t know, independence, about them.
Still, it’s gratifying to see them actually speak truth to . . . , well, not power. Maybe the phrase should be “Truth to Plastic”. I’m just saying, because Romney is . . . well, you know.