Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz strongly suggested yesterday that, had we known Saddam did not possess WMD, the United States would not invaded Iraq. From the AP:
“If somebody could have given you a Lloyd’s of London guarantee that weapons of mass destruction would not possibly be used, one would have contemplated much more support for internal Iraqi opposition and not having the United States take the job on the way we did.”
“It was a sense that the greatest danger in taking this man on would be that he would use them,” said Wolfowitz of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. “If you could have given us a guarantee that they wouldn’t have been used, there would have been policy options available probably.“
This is a sharp departure from the White House line. Current members of the administration still claim that WMD were just one of many reasons that the United States invaded Iraq. From an 11/15/05 op-ed by Deputy National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch:
Some administration critics believe Operation Iraqi Freedom was strictly about weapons of mass destruction. The reality is that Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs were only one reason for the liberation of Iraq.
When Wolfowitz was a member of the administration, that’s what he said too. From the AP 5/23/03:
Wolfowitz insisted in the interview, and in Singapore on Friday, that there had always been three major concerns.
“One was weapons of mass destruction, second was terrorism, and the third … was the abuse of Iraqis by their own government,” Wolfowitz said at the sidelines of the Asia Security Conference in Singapore.
“And in a sense there was a fourth overriding one, which was the connection between those first two, the connection between the weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. All three of those have been there, they’ve always been part of the rationale and I think it’s been very clear.”