Monday, October 29, 2007

Great Larry King/Bill Clinton interview from last year

Man I miss that guy. 
KING: Is Iraq a religious war?

CLINTON: No, I don't think so. I think Iraq is primarily a -- the conflict there, you have first, as you know, the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds. Then you have the tribal differences. Then you have sort of the philosophical differences between the Sunni and the Shia. You have some outside influences coming into that Sunni area. But I do not believe it is primarily religious. The religious differences between the Sunni and the Shia, I don't think, are what are driving this violence.

KING: Vice President Cheney said, knowing all he knows, he'd still go back. Would you?

CLINTON: Of course he would. No, I never was in favor of doing it before the U.N. inspectors finished. I had a totally different take on this. I ...

KING: Why would you say of course he would?

CLINTON: Because they didn't -- because the evidence has made clear now that he and the other proponents of the Iraq war did not care whether he had weapons of mass destruction, did not care whether he was involved with 9/11, did not care whether the evidence showed any of this or not, that they had made their mind up in advance that this was the thing to do, that it would help to make a new Middle East, it would strengthen America's leverage against Iran; it would, you know, shake up the authoritarian regimes and increase our leverage to create peace between the Israelis and the Pakistanis -- Palestinians.

And I think they thought it might clean their own skirts a little, since most of what Saddam did that was really terrible he did when he had the full support of the Republican administration of the '80s, of which Dick Cheney was a part.

Now to be fair to them, it was an example of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. After the Ayatollah took over in Iran and events began to go the way they did in Iran, the fact that Iraq was a willing counterweight was seen as a positive thing until he invaded Kuwait.

But much of what he did in using chemical weapons and killing innocent civilians and all the terrible things he did in the 1980s he did it without a peep of criticism from some of the same people that have prosecuted this war. So for whatever reason, they wanted to do this. And I think they would do it again because that's what they thought, what they should do with their mandate.


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