Tags: Dear | John

Dear John

Monday, 23 February 2004 12:00 AM

Dear John, I want to congratulate you on the success that you are having in your quest to gain the democratic presidential nomination.

I realize that I'm not supposed to be taking sides here. Officially I don't care whether the nominee turns out to be you, Senator Edwards or even Al Sharpton. But I must tell you that, between you and me, I am very excited over the prospect of the two of us standing side by side during the debates in the fall. There are some things that I feel the American people need to know, and I can't think of a better forum for me to lay it on them.

I know what you're thinking. You think I'm going to read to them from your 1971 testimony to the Senate where you called our soldiers a bunch of baby killers and rapists, right? No, that's not it. In fact, I do plan to read them some of your own words, but they are much more recent.

They are words that helped to convince me that invading Iraq was indeed the right thing to do in the months following 9/11 and leading up to the invasion, and reinforced those beliefs well after the war began. I bet that you probably don't even remember what it was you said. Well, allow me to refresh your memory, Senator.

Very soon after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, you started talking about Saddam Hussein. On December 11, 2001, you went on "The O'Reilly Factor" and said: "The important thing is that Saddam Hussein and the world knows that we think Saddam Hussein is essentially out of synch with the times. He is and has acted like a terrorist, and he has engaged in activities ... that are unacceptable."

And it got even better on that same O'Reilly show: "I think we ought to put the heat on Saddam Hussein. I've said that for a number of years, Bill. I criticized the Clinton administration for backing off the inspections when Ambassador Butler was giving us strong evidence that we needed to continue. I think we need to put the pressure on no matter what the evidence is about September 11. But I think we have to do it in a thoughtful and intelligent way. ... The important thing is that Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein fired weapons on Israel! ... In addition to that he has refused to live by the terms of the treaty that he signed at the end of the war in which he agreed to do certain things."

Let's review: Saddam has acted like a terrorist, engaged in unacceptable activities ... we need to put the heat on him no matter what the 9/11 evidence ... he's used WMDs and has violated the treaty that ended the Gulf War.

Three days later, you went on with Larry King on CNN. All Larry had to do was ask you about enhancing the war on terror: "What are your thoughts about going further than Afghanistan, all terrorist places?"

It didn't take you long to mention Saddam, did it? You said: "Oh, I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue, for instance, Saddam Hussein."

Let's review: Once again you link Saddam Hussein to terrorism. You even bring up Iraq on your own, when asked about expanding the war on terror.

A couple of months later on "Hardball," there you were talking about Iraq and Saddam Hussein again. Chris Matthews wanted to know if we could get him to accept inspections and "Get past a possible war with him?" Your answer was "Outside chance. ... Could it be done? The answer is yes. But he would view himself only as buying time and playing a game, in my judgment.

"Do we have to go through the process? The answer is yes. ... I think you have to begin there no matter what. Whether Saddam Hussein begins that process today or we begin it, you have to put the challenge of the inspections on the line. Why? Because that's the outstanding issue unresolved from the war. That's what he agreed to do. And that's where we left off with Ambassador Butler and his rejecting it."

What you said next, Senator, was most convincing: "I mean, it's astounding, to me, frankly, that our country, as well as the United Nations, have allowed these years to go by with just a simple stonewalling."

Let's review: Once again you talk about the importance of going into Iraq and inspecting. You fear that even if he agrees, Saddam will probably be playing games. Most importantly, you express displeasure with the Clinton administration and the U.N. for failing to act on all these years of stonewalling.

Later, on the same "Hardball" show, Chris Matthews wants to know what makes you think that we now have the toughness to go in and insist on weapons inspections. Your answer was right on target: "September 11th. That's it, September 11th. I mean, that's changed the dynamic of this country. ..."

On January 23, 2003, you took your concerns about Saddam to the students at Georgetown University. "We need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. ... That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose and destroy its weapons programs. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it's not new. Since the end of the Persian Gulf War we've known this. ..."

Let's review: Saddam is brutal. At this point the world, including the United States, has given Saddam an ultimatum. We have known about his WMDs for more than a decade.

Back to the TV circuit, John. This time postwar. On September 2 of last year, speaking about your vote to give me the authority to go into Iraq, you told Larry King: "I believe that over time, as people realize why we voted to go with a legitimate threat of force and to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, it was in fact important to the security of our country. The vote was correct." I couldn't have said it better myself, John.

Two weeks later, on CBS's "Face The Nation," you were asked about a statement you had made. You had said that when you voted in October of 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq, it ended up being on the basis of information that you said turned out to be untrue. Doyle McManus asked you if you had known then what you know now, would you have voted the same way.

You said, "Well, it wasn't only on that basis. ... Saddam Hussein could not be left to his own devices based on everything we learned about him for seven and a half years while we were inspecting in Iraq. People have forgotten that for seven and a half years, we found weapons of mass destruction. We were destroying weapons of mass destruction. We were, the United States of America, together with Ambassador Butler and the United Nations."

I am so glad that you took it upon yourself to remind the folks in televisionland about all of those WMDs we found over those seven and a half years.

John, now that you know exactly what I plan to reveal to the American people should we meet in those Ffall debates, I'm sure that you can understand why I'm rooting for you to be the Democratic nominee. Please don't blow it, John. And please, keep talking. I can always use some more debating material.

Your friend,

President G.W. Bush

107-107-104

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Dear John, I want to congratulate you on the success that you are having in your quest to gain the democratic presidential nomination. I realize that I'm not supposed to be taking sides here. Officially I don't care whether the nominee turns out to be you, Senator...
Dear,John
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2004-00-23
Monday, 23 February 2004 12:00 AM
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