Stunning – McCain pushing Iraq causus belli in 2000!
I was doing a little research on John McCain’s woeful ignorance of the Middle East when I came across a stunning transcript from 2000 in the aftermath of the USS Cole bombing. John McCain – weeks before what would become Bush’s “election”, used the bombing of the USS Cole – performed by what we came to learn were Al Qaeda – to push what would become, word for word, the Iraq War causus belli later used by the Bush administration.
At the end of the interview, McCain makes his “pitch”:
KAGAN: And then to take that a step further, for Americans who have not followed this as closely, explain to those people why it is in U.S. interests and why Americans need to care about what’s happening an ocean and a thousand miles away.
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, from the most crass viewpoint, a significant part of the world’s oil supply resides in that part of the world. If there were a cutoff of the oil supply, then it could be of great seriousness. There are weapons of mass destruction, perhaps, in places like Iraq. There are a part of the world that, if it erupted in flames, there could be another war that could even involve Egypt, whom the Israelis have been at peace with for many, many years.
This could involve a significant part of the world, the world’s oil supplies, and perhaps the loss of thousands of innocent lives. This is a very serious situation, one that has been simmering. We made great progress from Camp David on, although slow, and now all of that is at risk as we see more and more Arab nations being sucked into this situation, who have been able to stay out of it for a long time. And the shadow of Saddam Hussein looms throughout.
KAGAN: Sen. John McCain, you’ve been in this business a long time, appreciate your insight and your time today, sir.
MCCAIN: Thank you, Daryn.
KAGAN: Thank you much. Good to see you.
A terrorist attack in Yemen would have been immediately identifiable – if not in a way that could be immediately confirmed – as an attack by an Islamic Extremist group, most likely a Sunni group (given Yemen’s disposition).
But John McCain uses a terrorist incident to draw attention to the fact that Saddam Hussein (might) have WMD? And tries to tie fanatical Islamic terrorists to Hussein’s Iraq, which had been denounced as secular by known terrorist leaders? And then says that Hussein’s “shadow looms throughout” the region, as if the blockaded and reviled leader – a leader who had earned little sympathy even from his Muslim neighbors – was the key figure to all the Middle East’s problems, and indeed to all Islamic terrorism itself?
Ladies and gentlemen – this is almost verbatim the case for war against Iraq made by Bush two years later. Substitute the USS Cole for 9/11, and it’s a perfect fit.
We know that, just months after 9/11 Bush began planning the invasion of Iraq.
But here is a case of John McCain pitching the idea of invading Iraq because of a terrorist strike that it had nothing to do with – while Clinton was still in office.
John McCain has been chomping at the bit to get into Iraq before September 11th. Why would anyone think he would give up this “prize” – and the oil supplies he can’t seem to stop mentioning – after he takes office?