The Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 signed into law H.R. 4655, by Former President Bill Clinton on October 31 1998, makes it our policy to support Iraqi Democrats in getting rid of Saddam Hussein and provide assistance to them to do so.
When Gore and Bush were campaigning for the Presidency, both made claims to the Iraq National Congress to support the ousting of Saddam.
The problem was, little was done by the Clinton team to the fact that it had been more than 18 months since United Nations weapons inspectors have been on the job in Iraq, a situation that had no longer appeared to be a U-S foreign policy priority.
Clinton often used to stress the need for weapons inspectors to get back on the job, saying Saddam Hussein is determined to use weapons of mass destruction if he is allowed to rearm, yet he did little about it.
"Administration officials say Iraq has now resumed short-range missile tests. U-S officials are very concerned about such activity, saying it underscores the need to get U-N weapons inspectors back on the job. But privately, they say Washington does not want to provoke a fight with Iraq that could put American servicemen in harm's way before November's presidential election". July 6, 2000
Bush, on the other hand, took a more aggressive stance against Baghdad in his campaign. Bush said he would fully implement the Iraq Liberation Act. "We all understand what that means. It means a serious and sustained effort to assist the opposition with a view to bringing down Saddam's regime."
Bush had asked why more was not done during the Clinton/Gore years to oust the Iraqi leader. The Bush team called the Clinton/Gore policy toward Iraq a debacle. Bush claimed Clinton did not have the courage of his convictions.
Ahmed Chalabi, a member of the Iraq National Congress, concurred that although $97 million was allotted by the ILA, they had only seen $20,000. The Clinton administration had offered only nonlethal training in skills such as field medicine, logistics and communications. You can not liberate Iraq with training to treat the wounded.
"Unless the strategy is to bring down the Saddam regime by inducing fatal laughter ... this is not the way to advance the purposes of the Iraq Liberation Act," Richard Perle.
In a recent interview, Mr. Chalabi was asked about the connection between Saddam, Al Qada and Osama bin Laden:
Ahmed Chalabi: We reported back in 1999 in January that the Iraqi ambassador in Turkey - previously the head of the Iraqi Secret Operations Department of Intelligence - he went secretly and visited Bin Laden in Kandahar back in November of 1998.
The meeting of that man with another leader is beyond dispute, despite attempts by varies parties to cast doubt on it.
The Czech Government stands by it.
There is other evidence of Iraqi meetings with fundamentalists who are linked to bin Laden.
And also, one point that was neglected was the conferences of Islamic extremists that Saddam has been holding in Iraq since 1983.
Those are fertile recruiting grounds for the Iraqi intelligence service to get people and we have evidence also of training, of non-Iraqi Muslim fundamentalists in the arts and crafts of terrorism in a big, secret facility just south of Baghdad.
This facility has been used to train hijackers on how to hijack an airliner without weapons.
There is an airliner parked there for the purpose of this training.
We have detailed information about the other training that goes on there and we have detailed information about who is doing it, who controls it and who gets the candidates for the training into such facilities.
We have also evidence about Saddam's development of biological weapons as weapons of terror, his use of advanced aerosol technology to experiment with the dissemination.
We have evidence about the acts and how Saddam is using VX, storing VX as a weapon of terror in the future and also we have Saddam's efforts to develop conduits for getting these weapons in ways that are undetectable by western security services.
The evidence multiplies and the threat is there".
To say that Bush is only going after Saddam to finish what "Poppy" started would be accurate only in the respect that Clinton never bothered to do anything seriously about the threat.
However, Bush also needs to realize that the Iraq Liberation Act clearly states we will not use military force except under certain provisions. If what Mr. Chalabi has presented is factual, then yes, those provisions have been met and need to be made evident to the world.
Otherwise, we need to continue our policy to aid Iraq democrats to get rid of Saddam and help establish a democratic election within Iraq as we promised to by law in 1998.