Here are two interesting quotes from two separate US State of the Union addresses, one by Clinton (Slick Willy) in 1998 and one by Bush (Dubya) in 2002.
“We must combat an unholy axis of new threats from terrorists, international criminals, and drug traffickers. These 21st century predators feed on technology and the free flow of information… And they will be all the more lethal if weapons of mass destruction fall into their hands.”
“Together, we must confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons and the outlaw states, terrorists, and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade and much of his nation’s wealth not on providing for the Iraqi people but on developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.”
— President Bill J. Clinton
State of the Union address,
January 27, 1998
The bulk of the American people seem to laud this statement. They believed that the US must protect itself from the potential threat posed by this “unholy axis”. The Right’s response was to denounce this rhetoric as warmongering, empire building, and fiscally irresponsible.
Though President Clinton started the US’ modern rhetoric against terrorism and against Saddam Hussein the American people seem to refuse to force his administration or the Left in general to shoulder any share of the blame for the resulting debacles.
“States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.”
— President George W. Bush
State of the Union Address,
January 29, 2002
The majority of the American people didn’t support this statement. They believed that the US must protect itself from the potential threat posed by global terrorism, but seemingly only quick-fix ways that costs little time, few if any American soldiers, and less commitment. Saddam was not seen by many to an acceptable target for anyone named Bush and President Bush was accused by the Left of being warmongering, empire building, and fiscally irresponsible.
President Bush and the Right in general will have to bear the legacy of the debacles that have resulted from the actions America has taken in Iraq, Pakistan and the Mideast in general.
As we approach the 2008 US Presidential Elections, with a Clinton as a favored candidate, American’s might do well to dwell for a moment or two on the similarities between the 1998 and 2002 State of the Union addresses. We should also dwell for even longer on how the Right and the Left have shifted stances on the issues – apparently depending solely on which political party controlled the Whitehouse.