Sanctions. Supporting those inside Iraq who want Sadam gone.<quoted text>When did Clinton order the regime change in Iraq? how did you think that was going to happen?
George W. Bush did not invent the idea of deposing the Iraqi tyrant. For years before he came on the scene, removing Saddam Hussein had been a priority embraced by the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton and by Clintons most vocal supporters in the Senate:
Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons.... Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: he has used them. Not once, but repeatedly.... I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
These were the words of President Clinton on the night of December 16, 1998 as he announced a four-day bombing campaign over Iraq. Only six weeks earlier, Clinton had signed the Iraq Liberation Act authorizing Saddams overthrowan initiative supported unanimously in the Senate and by a margin of 360 to 38 in the House.Iraqis deserve and desire freedom, Clinton had declared. On the evening the bombs began to drop, Vice President Al Gore told CNNs Larry King:
You allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons. How many people is he going to kill with such weapons?... We are not going to allow him to succeed.[emphasis added]
What these and other such statements remind us is that, by the time George Bush entered the White House in January 2001, the United States was already at war with Iraq, and in fact had been at war for a decade, ever since the first Gulf war in the early 1990s.(This was literally the case, the end of hostilities in 1991 being merely a cease-fire and not a formal surrender followed by a peace treaty.) Not only that, but the diplomatic and military framework Bush inherited for neutralizing the Middle Easts most fearsome dictator had been approved by the United Nations. It consisted of (a) regular UN inspections to track and dispose of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) remaining in Saddams arsenal since the first Gulf war; (b) UN-monitored sanctions to prevent Saddam from acquiring the means to make more WMDs; and (c) the creation of so-called no-fly zones over large sections of southern and northern Iraq to deter Saddam from sending the remnants of his air force against resisting Kurds and Shiite Muslims.
The problem, as Bill Clinton discovered at the start of his second term, was that this containment regime was collapsing. By this point Saddam was not just the brutal dictator who had killed as many as two million of his own people and used chemical weapons in battle against Iran (and in 1988 against Iraqis themselves). Nor was he just the regional aggressor who had to be driven out of Kuwait in 1991 by an international coalition of armed forces in Operation Desert Storm. As Clinton recognized, Saddams WMD programs, in combination with his ties to international terrorists, posed a direct challenge to the United States.
In a February 17, 1998 speech at the Pentagon, Clinton focused on what in his State of the Union address a few weeks earlier he had called an unholy axis of rogue states and predatory powers threatening the worlds security.There is no more clear example of this threat, he asserted,than Saddam Husseins Iraq, and he added that the danger would grow many times worse if Saddam were able to realize his thoroughly documented ambition, going back decades and at one point close to accomplishment, of acquiring an arsenal of nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons. The United States, Clinton said,simply cannot allow this to happen.
This country has engineered plenty of regime changes without invasion.