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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

1998: The Year the Democrats Forgot

The Democrats in the Senate pitched a screaming tantrum today in the Senate. Who could really blame them? The President has won back conservative base support with the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. The “Fitzmas” celebration was cut short when no indictments or findings of “outing” Valerie Plame Wilson. Karl Rove did not get “frog marched” to the pokey. The Iraqis overwhelmingly approved their new constitution. The Hammer came down on the MoveOn donating judge in Texas. All efforts to nail President Bush to the impeachment rail have failed despite Herculean efforts by the Liberals. Al Gore and John Kerry are still not occupying the Oval Office. The repeated failures have sent the Left into spinning fits of hate that has completely clouded all rational thought.

That has to be the reason that the Democrats have forgotten about the year 1998. Bill Clinton was President of the United States – the Commander in Chief. The situation in Iraq was simmering. Saddam Hussein was still defying the UN Weapons Inspectors.

On February 18, 1998, President Clinton delivered a nationally televised speech at the Pentagon. In his speech, Clinton wondered what Saddam Hussein would do if we continued with appeasement and inaction to Iraq’s non-compliance with UN resolutions. The President warned Americans that “If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” Clinton then said, “Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal.” Reading these words in the post 9/11 era sends chills down my spine.

Democrats in Congress took the bull by the horns and started blaring the trumpet of accountability in Iraq. Senator Daschle, Senator John Kerry, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Christopher Dodd and Senator Chuck Hagel began lobbying for legislation that would send a clear message to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235 into law. This public law claimed that Iraq was in “material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations”. Congress called for the President to “take appropriate action” to bring Iraq into compliance with its “international obligations”.

Congress then presented Clinton with a gift called the “Iraq Liberation Act of 1998” (ILA) in October 1998. It passed by an overwhelming majority in the House but received unanimous approval in the Senate. H.R. 4655 was signed by President Clinton on October 31, 1998. It may have been Halloween but it was certainly no trick. The specified purpose of the ILA was “to establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq”.

One thing about Congressional Acts – they always have “findings” or evidence to back up the need for the specific Act. Such was the case of the Iraq Liberation Act (ILA). Congress agreed that Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranians and the Kurds, confirmed the Iraqi plot to kill President George HW Bush and cited the pattern of deception and concealment regarding Iraq’s WMD programs. The ILA cited Iraq’s non-compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) that required the full disclosure and destruction of WMD with long term monitoring by the UN. It is important to note that these are not just Republican talking points. Every member of Congress that voted to pass the ILA agreed with the findings cited in Section 2.

President Clinton declared that “We have to defend out future from these predators of the 21st century. They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.” Clinton urged Americans to “just consider the facts”.

Now, seven years later, Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are yelling “liar, liar, pants on fire” at the Bush Administration. They want another Congressional investigation to see if President Bush told whoppers to win approval for war. The hypocrites now crying foul need a re-introduction to the facts. I recommend just repeating over and over “1998, 1998, 1998” when the tirades and tantrums begin.

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