Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s active WMD program were a double threat that we needed to address with force, Adelman says.
Ken Adelman: Two things. Number one is that there was a worldwide network of people out to harm us, and that was through Al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein had a great hatred of the United States because of the first Gulf War; but even before that would do anything to hurt the United States because it had defeated him in 1991. So . . .And secondly, that he had an active program of weapons of mass destruction so that he could really do us harm. Not just his neighbors, two of whom were invaded – Iran and Kuwait – but he could do us harm by giving the weapons of mass destruction. And historically, we had known that Osama Bin Laden wanted to do us harm. In the Clinton administration, we had the capabilities of taking him out, but we didn’t do that because we said we were unsure. And we were just, you know . . . the usual thing of government of delaying everything. And I think that after 9/11, the President of the United States wasn’t going to just bet on chance that it would turn out alright. When we learned that we should not have let Osama Bin Laden just continue on his ways, and that wasn’t gonna happen again with Saddam Hussein. And that analysis I’m very proud of. I think it’s absolutely sound. It turned out to be wrong. It turned out to be wrong because there was less of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 or the Al Qaeda. But mostly it turned out to be wrong because, unlike everything that intelligence agencies – not just in the United States, but Jordan, France and other countries that opposed the war – told us that he did not have weapons of mass destruction. And I take it from his lieutenants and all that they were very surprised that he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and presumed that he did. So the premises of what we went into were wrong; but we did not know that at the time, and we had no basis of knowing at the time.
Recorded on: 7/2/07