Thursday, July 31, 2003

Truly Weird

This really does deserve a re-run.

DR. WOLFOWITZ: Let me say a couple of things, Tim. People act as though the cost of containing Iraq is trivial. The cost of containing Iraq was enormous. Fifty-five American lives lost, at least, in incidents like the Cole and Khobar Towers, which were part of the containment effort. Billions of dollars of American money spent so...
MR. RUSSERT: Was Iraq linked to those?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Absolutely. Oh, no, not to the—I don’t know who did the attacks. I now that we would not have had Air Force people in Khobar Towers if we weren’t conducting a containment policy.
I know we wouldn’t have had to have the Cole out there doing maritime intercept operations. And worst of all, if you go back and read Osama bin Laden’s notorious fatwah from 1998 where he calls for killing Americans, the two principal grievances were the presence of those forces in Saudi Arabia, and our continuing attacks on Iraq. Twelve years of containment was a terrible price for us. And for the Iraqi people, it was an unbelievable price, Tim.

As Eric Boehlert says:

On "Meet the Press" this week, Wolfowitz suggested that by trying to contain Iraq during the 1990s instead of invading to topple Saddam, at least 50 American lives were lost, in terrorist incidents like the bombings of the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. How were those related to Iraq? Incredibly, Wolfowitz told NBC's Tim Russert that he didn't know who was responsible for the Cole and Khobar Tower attacks.

But on that question, the agreement is all but unanimous: It wasn't Saddam, it wasn't Iraq. It was Osama and al-Qaida.