Bush and Iraq
Letter to the Editor

Supporting the Iraqi opposition with credible force is not the same thing as encouraging an invasion of the country.

Sir, Giles Whittell seems to have misunderstood the difference between "encouraging the invasion of Iraq" and "confronting Iraq" over its support for terrorism ("Key aide defends President's role before invasion of Iraq", Nov 10).

When he asked me about policy deliberations in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I explained that "I wasn't advocating invading Iraq and occupying Baghdad". Rather, I was arguing at that time for stopping state sponsorship of terrorism and confronting Saddam, who was praising the attacks of 9/11 and saying that Americans should "suffer" so that they would "find the right path". By then, America had already been flying combat missions for many years over northern and southern Iraq and, when attacked, firing missiles into Iraq.

I believed that there was a credible possibility that diplomacy, backed by increased support for the Iraqi opposition and a credible threat of force, might cause Saddam to abandon his support for terrorism, including sheltering Abdul Rahman Yasin (who was wanted by the FBI for making the bomb that blew up the World Trade Center in 1993), and end his defiance of a long series of UN resolutions, that had led President Clinton to sign into law the Iraq Liberation Act.

Paul Wolfowitz is a visiting scholar at AEI.
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Thursday, October 02, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
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