Many are questioning whether our leaders lied about the reasons for the on-going Iraqi war. Following is a speech Bush might have made last winter to avoid such questions.
My fellow Americans, soon I will ask Congress to make the most serious decision a nation may ponder. I will ask it to formally declare war on Iraq. Only Congress, under our form of government, has the authority to declare war and it's time it did so.
Naturally I owe you an explanation if this nation is to put American lives at risk and commit to occupying and ruling Iraq, possibly for years. I'm taking this extraordinary step for several compelling but complex reasons, so please bear with me, while I explain them as honestly and forthrightly as I know how.
As you know, many in the Muslim world hate America and work against our interests. For instance, Pakistan has helped North Korea gain nuclear weapons, and many in Pakistan helped train the Taliban and al-Qaida. More sobering yet, 17 of the 19 hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia, a nation that has allowed outrageous propaganda against us and against our ally, Israel, to be disseminated around the world. This propaganda is spread by the official press of Saudi Arabia and also by some in its clergy, who have established schools--think of them as Muslim missionary schools--throughout the Middle East and beyond. In these schools, America is called the Great Satan and Jews are often depicted as little more than animals. Many in Saudi Arabia have offered financial support to families of suicide bombers. There is mounting evidence that money from some members of the Saudi royal family made its way into the hands of the 9-11 hijackers. Notwithstanding this, the Saudi government has long been a formal friend of the United States. We have depended on Saudi Arabia for oil to fuel western economies and also as a staging area for asserting American power in the Middle East.
However, the presence of our troops has become a liability for the Saudi government. We need to pull our troops out of that nation and prepare for the possibility that some day an unfriendly government there could cut off oil to us and to our allies.
It is imperative that we take steps to acquire another source of oil and another staging area for American troops in the Middle East. After meeting with my trusted advisers, we have settled on Iraq as the most logical place for this new American bridgehead. Seizing Iraq would solve a great many problems now facing America.
First, it would provide a source of oil. A potentially unfriendly Saudi Arabia would never dare play the oil card as long as we controlled the rich Iraqi oil fields.
Second, Iraq is centrally located in the Middle East and would make a great base for American troops, whose presence would pressure neighboring countries Syria and Iran to behave. These regimes have long sponsored terrorism, and Iran now has the capability of creating fuel for nuclear weapons. We would be in a position to intervene should they do so or should any nation threaten our ally, Israel.
Third, we know Iraq has possessed weapons of mass destruction. While it is true that UN inspectors are even now in Iraq trying to locate WMDs, an American invasion could speed this process by months or years. I wish I knew more about this subject, but intelligence is hazy. A swift invasion would bring clarity.
Fourth, we know that some contact has occurred between the Iraqi government and al-Qaida. Again, details are hazy, but there is a possibility Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden could one day join forces. We can never allow that to happen.
Fifth, Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator, responsible for many thousands, if not millions of deaths. It would be good for the world if he were eliminated, and it would liberate the Iraqi people.
Sixth, there is a possibility we could establish true, Western-style democracy in Iraq that would spread to other Arab nations. This is a long shot, but what have we got to lose?
Seventh, by invading Iraq, we would signal the world that America will not shrink from its responsibilities as the most powerful nation in history. It is up to us, with help from international organizations, to bring peace, order and prosperity to the world. Let there be no mistake, we will not tolerate the rise of any competing power in the global arena.
Finally, it's been said that I have personal reasons--having to do with my father--for wanting to invade Iraq. It's also been said that friends of mine in the weapons industry, the oil industry and the media stand to gain millions of dollars. True or not, such allegations are beside the point. I ask you to judge the case for war on one criterion only. Is it good for America? I trust you'll signal your approval by contacting your representatives and urging them to declare war on Iraq. In doing so, you'll help ensure that America remains victorious, honored and respected both for our boldness and for our forthrightness, as I have tried to be bold and forthright with you tonight.
Good evening and God bless.