Duration: 24.16 seconds
Well, there's no doubt in my mind, because I did some reporting on this, that Saddam was using the sanctions to enrich himself. And to raise money outside of UN control for use in whatever he chose to use it for. And it seems now that he was mostly using it to maintain the loyalty of his Ba'ath party --
Duration: 16.28 seconds
I think there were people like David Kay, the former head of the US weapons inspection effort, post-Saddam, who are saying, "Seems like the UN inspections regime worked."
Duration: 16.82 seconds
That it in fact had, by the time Saddam, basically threw them out in 1998, had in fact succeeded in ferreting out most -- most of his really bad stuff.
Duration: 32.8 seconds
They had destroyed the nuclear program, and they had basically uncovered and destroyed most of the chemical and biological programs. There were still -- There were still elements of the programs that hadn't been uncovered -- lot's of paper, the expertise, missiles -- they were working on missiles illegally -- illegal missiles. But on the whole, I think, a lot of people will agree now -- a lot of experts will agree now that on the whole the UN inspection regime succeeded in what it was designed to do.
Duration: 32.17 seconds
The Bush administration cited this long litany of UN resolutions that Saddam had failed to abide by -- And there's no doubt that he had failed to abide by these resolutions. There was not full -- full and complete disclosure. There wasn't. But the whole question is what he hadn't disclosed -- what he still had -- "How much of a threat was that to the United States and Saddam's neighbors?" And it seems now that it wasn't much.
Duration: 18.02 seconds
There were two things that Tony Blair really wanted in return for his support for going to war in Iraq. One was some action on the Israel-Palestinian conflict -- some sense of re-engagement by the Bush Administration. And the other was to go through the UN route.
Duration: 13.01 seconds
-- And to seek not just one, but ultimately a second resolution that would harden and strengthen the sense of international legitimacy behind an invasion.
Duration: 22.02 seconds
And Blair didn't get one of those -- He didn't get any real engagement in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but he did get a decision from George Bush -- overriding -- in a rare example, overriding Vice President Dick Cheney -- siding with Powell and Blair and going the UN route.
Duration: 17.22 seconds
And so it was primarily a favor to Tony Blair. But also, I think the Administration realized that it was necessary if there was any hope of amassing a broader coalition.
Duration: 37.7 seconds
I think there was a sense in which the haggling over a second resolution was all seen as part of the politicking that goes on in the corridors of the UN. It was power plays by the French and Russians, primarily the French. And it was seen as a stage in which the French were trying to limit American power in the world. That it wasn't about Iraq, it wasn't about weapons of mass destruction. This was really about two nations -- one of the New World, one of the Old World -- that had seen its power diminish over time, and was making a desperate bid to re-assert itself on the world stage.
Duration: 25.26 seconds
The war definitely wasn't legal in British eyes. And that's one of the outcomes of the Butler Report, is that there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove that Iraq had violated Resolution 1441 -- which, for the British at least, was the foundation for the war. So there are in Britain very profound questions of the international legitimacy of the war.
Duration: 20.29 seconds
It's impossible to tell who had the most influence as Colin Powell and Tony Blair's pressures coincided -- converged -- and the end result was that the Administration took the UN route. It's impossible to take those apart and say that "If it hadn't been for Blair, would Powell alone have prevailed?"
Duration: 24.16 seconds
But that sense of American exceptionalism and invulnerability had been punctured, and it had a great impact on the way people looked on the world. And there was a great sense of consensus, "We must go after them first, and get them first." -- And a growing impatience with the limits on action -- the international limits on action -- the need for consensus with other countries.
Duration: 23.06 seconds
And I was writing essentially at that time on the conflict that had broken out within the administration as to whether there should be a war waged against Iraq. And if so, how it should be waged and how it should be prepared for -- That is, do you go through the UN or, you know, "What are the ways of preparing the ground for the war? "
Duration: 35.67 seconds
Now I think in early August, I think around August 3, that was 3 days I think before Powell finally got a private audience with Bush to persuade him to go through the UN, I wrote an article that actually got some notice that said that I couldn’t understand why Powell remained Secretary of State. That I thought that, I mean, he really was being used as a fig leaf, a reasonable and trusted fig leaf, for really a group of extremists who were determined to take the United States to war.
Duration: 68.23 seconds
And as to the international law part -- or the multilateral institutions, I think their view is based more or less again on the sense of morality. They believe that the United States and Israel -- whose fates they say explicitly are kind of linked on a moral plane -- are bringers of good to the world. And that the United States on its own has the highest morality. And the more it extends its influence in the world the better off the rest of the world will be -- in a moral sense. And therefore, they would think that it's kind of "immoral" for the United States to constrain its freedom of action -- its freedom to bring goodness to the world by agreeing to restrain its actions by lesser powers who are not as moral as the United States
Duration: 14.08 seconds
If the United States agrees to constrain its action with the UN Security Council -- that it will only go to war if the UN Security Council votes to approve the war -- that is, by definition, immoral.
Duration: 43.64 seconds
And they have a point in a way, because let's take the example now of Darfur in the Sudan. And let's assume that we can all agree that genocide is taking place in Darfur at the moment. But China gets a lot of oil from Sudan, and China will not be happy about the idea of an intervention in Sudan. And would probably be willing to veto a Security Council resolution. Should the United States defer to China's calculation of its national interest in vetoing the Security Council? No. If you accept there is a genocide going on, you have an obligation to intervene -- a moral obligation to intervene -- that takes us right back to the Holocaust. Right?
Duration: 25.13 seconds
So they're saying, "The idea that the United States should sacrifice its moral greatness to a Security Council that consists of moral lessers -- or amoral countries like France, they always cite France, or Russia or China -- is, by definition, immoral."
Duration: 45.81 seconds
When Colin Powell went before the United Nations and laid out his evidence for the war, virtually all of the newspapers the next day reported what he said with a reverential tone, saying that 'He had made his case.' Called it, 'Convincing,' 'Overwhelming Evidence,' and so forth. When what they should have done was said he made a partisan case. He laid out evidence totally unproven -- Made assertions -- Showed photographs that had not been verified by anyone -- And also published the quotes from some people questioning it. But instead they rolled over. And that was one of the -- if not the key moments in the run up to the war --
Duration: 6.34 seconds
They just ignored the U.N. They scoffed at the U.N. and international law. --
Duration: 22.36 seconds
Well, they had already made up their minds, I think, to go to war. And so, anything they could to repudiate what was going on, and say that they were being -- Saddam, you know, kept saying he didn't have them. I'm not saying he had told the truth. He's very deceptive himself. But that still didn't give them the excuse.