28 November 2007

Bill Clinton “Opposed Iraq”…Really?

Having just read that former President Bill Clinton "opposed Iraq from the beginning," according to the Washington Post, I have to shake my head and wonder under what Commander in Chief I served from 1998 to 2000. During that period of time, I (and countless others like me) made more than a few trips to the Middle East to enforce the No-Fly Zones over Iraq. While absolutely nothing of note happened during my early trips there, from December ’98 onward, it was a different story.

During President Clinton’s time in office, both the northern and southern No-Fly Zones became much more like war zones. Almost daily, Iraqis shot at Coalition (Brit and US) aircraft. In response, Coalition aircraft dropped ordinance on Iraqi facilities, particularly air defense facilities. (For more detailed information, see fas.org and its timeline, by year and month.) The exchanges began in December 1998 when Saddam Hussein kicked out the UN inspectors (again). In response, Operation Desert Fox was launched. 1999 was a particularly “busy” time in the No-Fly Zones, and the back and forth whet on, to some extent, until March 2003.

So when folks read that the former President Clinton is stumping for his wife to become the next President Clinton, folks should remember that a lot of history comes with that family. Where Senator Hillary Clinton says she would (eventually) get US troops out of Iraq, it is instructive to remember that her husband, now opposed to Iraq, got US airmen far more involved in Iraq during his tenure. When folks take the time to remember his actions, the former President’s current words ring hollow.

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