This post originally appeared at FrontPage Magazine, on June 20, 2008.
David Horowitz delivered the following speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center retreat in Santa Barbara, which was held at the Four Seasons Resort May 30-June 1. — The Editors.
We’re in an election year where a hawkish presidential candidate should win in a walk. Al Qaeda has been roundly defeated in Iraq. It’s on the run. Its leadership has been destroyed. Acts of terror these days are videos which it sends to Al Jazeera. The Iraqi military is more and more in control of the security in the country. What the Al Qaeda leaders have called the central front in the War on Terror, which is Iraq, has been denied to them and denied to Iran. And, yet, when McCain runs as a supporter of the war, that’s considered a tough argument for him.
I’ve written this book Party of Defeat, and I guess if you just saw the title, it might be about the Republicans. So, I want to talk a little bit about how we got here but just to set the scenery first for a while on what exactly happened in this war.
Sean Hannity has given a nice blurb to this book, saying it’s about the greatest betrayal, political betrayal in American history, which it is.
The first president to call for the violent removal of Saddam Hussein was Bill Clinton, which he did in 1998. He authored and signed the Iraqi Liberation Act, which basically said anybody who wants to overthrow Saddam Hussein by violence, we will provide military and economic support.
The entire Clinton national security teams — State, Defense, CIA — endorsed the war and the invasion ofIraq. The majority of Democratic senators voted for the war in Iraq, including, of course, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and John Edwards. And, yet, within three months of the start of the war, they had turned around 180 degrees and attacked the war.
Now, we live in a democracy, and criticism of government policy is the air we breathe. It’s essential to a democracy. And, of course, criticism of war policy is also important because the stakes are so high.
But criticism is one thing, and sabotage is quite another. In July 2003, that’s three months after the fall ofBaghdad or the liberation of Baghdad, the Democratic National Committee ran a national television ad which said, “Read his lips. President Bush deceives the American people.” And the gravament of the ad has been the theme of the Democratic attacks on the war for the last five years. Bush lied, people died. Iraq was no threat. United States, in other words, attacked a country that posed no threat to it and did so by deceiving the American people. In other words, the United States is the aggressor in the war. In other words, theUnited States is a war criminal.
Never in the history of this country have we faced a foreign adversary, let alone one as monstrous as the regime of Saddam Hussein and had a major political party accuse us of being the bad guys, of us of being the aggressor, of us being the international war criminal. The Democrats did this, said Bush lied. That was the key to the argument because otherwise they’d have to explain why they supported the war.
And just to forecast what I’m going to say throughout this and in the end, they were able to do this because of the ineptitude of the Bush administration itself. The greatest failure of the Bush administration has been the failure to provide political support to our troops in Iraq and to the war in Iraq, and, of course, then ultimately to the War on Terror.
Bush lied, people died — this is itself the biggest lie of the war, that Bush lied to deceive the Democrats into supporting the war, let alone the American people, because every Democratic senator, every single one who voted for or against the war had on his or her desk a 100-page report called the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing all of our intelligence on Iraq.
We live in a democracy, and that means that the opposition party gets to see all our secrets. The Senate Intelligence Committee has oversight over the intelligence agencies. The head of the CIA reports to the Senate Intelligence Committee. They’re the authority. John Kerry sat on that committee, Diane Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller, and other Democrats. If any of them had any question about the intelligence on Iraq, all they had to do was ask it, and the answer would be on their desk within 24 hours. And this is only one of the big Democratic lies about this war.
Another lie is, of course, that Iraq was no threat. Well, if Iraq was no threat in 2003, how do you explain that Afghanistan was a threat on September 10, 2001? Al Gore has said Iraq, in his recent book, The Assault on Reason — which is a perfect description of the book — he said, “Iraq posed no threat because it was a fragile and unstable nation.”
Well, Afghanistan is a much poorer country than Iraq, practically just out of the Stone Age. It is fragile and unstable, driven by tribal rivalries. Yet, it didn’t invade two countries the way Iraq had. It didn’t use poison gas on its own people the way Saddam Hussein had. It hadn’t tried to assassinate an American president the way Saddam Hussein had. But it did provide refuge for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
And what 9/11 showed, and what the Democrats are in absolute denial over, is that a very poor and fragile nation, because it has sovereignty, if it provides protection, provides an operating base for an organization like Al Qaeda, it can kill 3,000 Americans in half an hour, could’ve killed 100,000 in half an hour, and was able to do what the Japanese and the Germans could not do throughout six years of the Second World War, which is to attack America on its mainland. That is the danger that we face. That’s why we had to take down Saddam Hussein.
Actually, Al Gore was saying something quite different in 2002. On February 2, 2002, which was right after the “Axis of Evil” speech, Bush — the buildup to this war was a year coming, and really, the first announcement that Bush made of his intentions was the State of the Union speech in January 2002. We went to war the following year in March.