- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. President Clinton's decision to let Saddam Hussein "off lightly" after Iraq's 1993 attempt on the life of former President George Bush may have emboldened the Iraqi leader, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Monday.
Saddam "was a little surprised he could be caught trying to murder a U.S. president and get off as lightly as he did," Mr. Wolfowitz told reporters at an electronic warfare conference here, adding that this may have emboldened the Iraqi leader.
Mr. Clinton launched 23 Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in June 1993, after receiving "compelling evidence" that the Iraqi dictator intended to kill Mr. Bush while he visited Kuwait.
"We must confront this enormous appetite for revenge and consider also that Saddam Hussein might have concluded from that event that he could risk an extraordinarily dangerous act and get away with it," Mr. Wolfowitz told the annual conference of the Association of Old Crows, a defense electronics-industry group.
U.S. officials cited the attack on Mr. Bush as one of the reasons the United States was asking the United Nations for a new resolution approving the use of force against Iraq.
"After all, this was a guy that tried to kill my dad one time," President Bush told an audience in Houston on Sept. 26.
Mr. Wolfowitz also said Iraq's flouting of U.N. disarmament resolutions after 1993 may have been a result of the Clinton administration's response and that the similarly weak response of the international community may have served to reinforce the attitude of the regime in Baghdad.
The soft approach has not gone unnoticed across the world, Mr. Wolfowitz said.
"Countries that have been involved with terrorism have paid relatively small prices for doing so," he said.


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