- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2002

CRAWFORD, Texas A front-page New York Times story from Friday, saying that Henry A. Kissinger had joined a growing Republican chorus in criticizing administration strategy on Iraq, is being repudiated as inaccurate by the White House.
The report also is belied by a lengthy column the former secretary of state had written just five days earlier, and by remarks he made yesterday on a political talk show.
The Times article, which was picked up by wire services and TV news networks, reported that Mr. Kissinger was among "leading Republicans [who] have begun to break ranks with President Bush over his administration's high-profile planning for war with Iraq, saying the administration has neither adequately prepared for military action nor made the case that it is needed."
However, in a lengthy column in The Washington Post on Aug. 11 and an appearance yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mr. Kissinger voiced support for pre-emptive U.S. military intervention to remove Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, rather than questioning it.
"It mischaracterized his position," a senior White House official traveling with the president told The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.
In the Post column, Mr. Kissinger termed "eloquent" Mr. Bush's West Point commencement speech in June, where the president "stressed that new weapons of mass destruction no longer permit America the luxury of waiting for an attack, that we must 'be ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty.'"
Mr. Kissinger called for "bringing matters to a head with Iraq" and for showing that "a terrorist challenge or a systematic attack on the international order produces catastrophic consequences."
On NBC yesterday, he agreed that there were dangers in a U.S. military campaign against Saddam, but said President Bush should go to the public and "compare the danger today to the danger of, say, an attack on Israel or Saudi Arabia five years from now if we do nothing."
If the president makes that comparison, Mr. Kissinger said, "he will be able to carry our people with him."
New York Times reporters Todd S. Purdum and Patrick E. Tyler, who wrote the story, and their Washington bureau chief, Jill Abramson, did not respond to inquiries by The Washington Times.
The New York Times story lumped Mr. Kissinger, secretary of state for President Nixon, with several others in saying they believed "that the administration has not shown that Iraq poses an urgent threat to the United States."
In his article in The Washington Post, Mr. Kissinger said precisely the opposite.
"[P]olicies that deterred the Soviet Union for 50 years are unlikely to work against Iraq's capacity to cooperate with terrorist groups," the former secretary of state wrote in a detailed analysis of the situation and options for handling it.
"There is another, generally unstated, reason for bringing matters to a head with Iraq. The attack on the World Trade Center had roots in many parts of the Islamic, and especially, the Arab world. It would not have been possible but for the tacit cooperation of societies that, in the words of George W. Bush, 'oppose terror but tolerate the hatred that produces terror,'" Mr. Kissinger wrote.
He said that in the short term the United States simply has to show that such a stance "produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as their supporters, tacit or explicit."
Mr. Kissinger reviewed probable world reaction, country by country, ending up with the view that the administration should "be prepared to undertake a national debate because the case for removing Iraq's capacity of mass destruction is extremely strong."
He concluded that the United States should be prepared to act unilaterally but, through laying emphasis on Saddam's defiance of U.N. resolutions and by putting forth a program for postwar reconstruction, demonstrate that it is acting on behalf of all nations.
In his appearance on NBC yesterday, Mr. Kissinger also said he would "disagree with" an article in Friday's Wall Street Journal by former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft that argued that a war against Iraq would end worldwide cooperation with the war on terrorism.
"I would, in fact, make the contrary argument," Mr. Kissinger said. "What is important in that region is that people who challenge the United States and the international order by their behavior suffer grievous and unacceptable consequences. And therefore, I believe, that [afterward] the counterterrorism campaign will be strengthened."
Mr. Kissinger analogized the present situation with the runup to the 1991 Persian Gulf war and argued that strong American leadership brought other nations on board.
"President [George H.W.] Bush solved the problem by deploying a massive American force in the region well before he had a coalition. And so if countries wanted to gain any influence over our action, they were almost obliged to join the coalition."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide