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Saddam was just a ‘neighborhood bully,’ Netanyahu says– 13 years after saying Saddam threatened ‘security of our entire world’

Middle East
on 35 Comments

There was a standing ovation for Benjamin Netanyahu at the American Enterprise Institute last night! Then he had a dialogue with Danielle Pletka in which he completely contradicted his testimony to the US Congress in 2002 on Saddam Hussein’s threat to the world.

A leader has to “make deals with secular dictatorships,” Netanyahu told Pletka.

Mind you, Saddam was horrible, horrible. Brutal killer. So was Qaddafi. There’s no question about that. I had my own dealings with each of them. But I do want to say that they were in many ways, neighborhood bullies. That is, they tormented their immediate environment. But they were not wedded to a larger goal. The militant Islamists–either Iran leading the militant Shi’ites with their proxies Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and Hamas… Or the militant Sunnis led by ISIS… they have a larger goal in mind… Their goal is not the conquest of the Middle East. It’s the conquest of the world. It’s unbelievable, people don’t believe that.

He said the desire to restore a Caliphate or an “imamate” — “that is exactly what is guiding” both ISIS and Iran. And:

chemical weapons in the case of ISIS, nuclear weapons in the case of Iran– that represents a formidable threat to our world.

Hold on a second. Thirteen years ago in testimony to Congress, Netanyahu said that Saddam did represent a threat to the entire world.  Excerpts (thanks to Jim Lobe at lobelog):

I think the first question is, do you want to merely avenge September 11th or do you want to win the war on terror? If you want to stop with September 11th, go after al Qaeda.

…[But t]here is no international terrorism of any kind — al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, you name them, all of them — there is no international terrorism if you take away the support of sovereign states. And the sovereign states are few. If you want to win this war, you just have to neutralize these states. In neutralizing them, you have two options. It’s like when kamikaze fighters are coming at you and bombing you. You can shoot one; you can shoot the other. But if you really want to stop it, you have to shoot down the aircraft carriers. There are only a handful of aircraft carriers. …So, I think if you want to win the broader war on terror, you have to get rid of these regimes.

In fact, Netanyahu said the very same thing about Saddam Hussein that he now says about Iran. Emphasis mine:

And today the United States must destroy the same regime because a nuclear-armed Saddam will place the security of our entire world at risk. And make no mistake about it — if and once Saddam has nuclear weapons, it is only a matter of time before those weapons will be used.

On Saddam’s presumed nuclear program– a lot like what he says about Iran:

“Two decades ago, it was possible to thwart Saddam’s nuclear ambitions by bombing a single installation. But today, nothing less than dismantling his regime will do, because Saddam’s nuclear program has fundamentally changed in those two decades. He no longer needs one large reactor to produce the deadly material necessary for atomic bombs. He can produce it in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country.”

BTW, the United States followed his advice a few months later, and invaded Iraq

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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35 Responses

  1. RoHa
    November 10, 2015, 6:53 pm

    “chemical weapons in the case of ISIS,”

    Hold on! I thought the script was supposed to say that evil Assad was the one using chemical weapons “against his own people”.

    The stories that it was the rebels who were using chemical weapons were – officially – dismissed out of hand.

    • Laurent Weppe
      November 11, 2015, 1:36 pm

      It’s both: it was established in the early months of the civil war that Assad was using chemical weapons, following the old “slaughter then repopulate with loyal subjects” strategy favored by tyrants since the bronze age, and Daesh eventually followed suit,

      • Emory Riddle
        November 11, 2015, 2:34 pm

        “it was established in the early months of the civil war that Assad was using chemical weapons ”

        Not so at all.

        It was asserted that he was. Period. An assertion that made no sense given the arrival of inspectors and the timing of the gassing.

      • Laurent Weppe
        November 13, 2015, 7:29 am

        Translation: You know that Assad is slaughtering civilians with chemical weapons, but since he’s supposed to be fighting people you don’t like, you’re going to play dumb and pretend the overwhelming evidence showing his parasitic regime’s war crimes do not exist.

  2. inbound39
    November 10, 2015, 7:16 pm

    Netanyahu needs to wake up to World perception. When you stand Saddam and Netanyahu alongside each other there is not a lot of difference between the two. In some ways because Netanyahu has access to nukes ,he is more a threat to World Peace than Saddam ever was.

    • Marnie
      November 11, 2015, 12:28 am

      Netanyahu is an absolute threat to stability and peace in the world. Saddam was a dictator and murderer. Funny though that during his period of rule, there weren’t terrorist groups in Iraq, bombings, etc.; that came afer the US-led invasion to bring the Iraqi people Democracy and the American Way of Life that they didn’t ask for. Saddam never threatened the US.

      Netanyahu is no neighborhood bully. He’s much worse. The zionist state’s non-existent nuclear weapons are a threat to the entire world and his veiled threats should be taken very seriously. His phony baloney before congress about the danger that Saddam Hussein poses, the invasion of Iraq and ultimately the “neutralizing” of Saddam Hussein is now being whitewashed by the very fear mongerer who insisted something needed to be done about him! Maybe he sees his fate being the same? Maybe he’s trying to tone down his rhetoric for his future trial as a war criminal? This is a great time for truth thanks to video, the internet, etc., all claimed possible by the (non) makers of the cherry tomato.

  3. Kathleen
    November 10, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Difficult to watch and listen to. Pletka almost slobbering on BB

  4. Kay24
    November 11, 2015, 6:52 am

    Well, it is obvious to anyone able to reason out sensibly, that Netanyahu played a role in urging the US to attack Iraq, when he gave testimony in front of Congress firmly stating there was “NO DOUBT” Saddam had WMD’s. He lied then, and he lies now. The question is why, after such a ugly record of lying, do our leaders still give him the time of day, or pretend to believe what he says today, especially regarding Iran. What does that say about the US? The liar gets red carpet treatment in the US, and the zionist media, instead of calling him out on those lies, grovel at his feet (their jobs obviously more important than integrity).

    I also why the hasbara who infests these websites still spew the same garbage, and take the same stance (in ugly terms) as this liar from Tel Aviv.

    “Everyone seems to see Netanyahu as a liar. Now add the CIA to the long list which includes the former head of Mossad, the former head of the IDF, the newspaper Haaretz, and former French President Sarkozy.
    CIA Director John Brennan rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s charge that Iran would have a “pathway to a [nuclear] bomb” under the nuclear accord as “wholly disingenuous”.

    Brennan also dismissed Netanyahu’s attack on Prime Minister Rouhani as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing… who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community”, stating Rouhani is as a man who “has a history of engaging with the West, and he is much more practical and reasonable individual.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/4/9/1376582/-CIA-Calls-Netanyahu-a-Liar

    • ivri
      November 12, 2015, 11:43 am

      @kay24
      What a level of blindness? Try to pause for a moment from your Israel-obsession and answer the following simple question:
      Do you REALLY think that Israel treats minorities in it worse than any country around it and very many others in the world?
      If you can reach a mental state where you can be honest enough with yourself to answer that fairly y you will begin to understand why people`s attitude to how Israel react to threats to it is so much different than what you suggest it should be.

      • Kay24
        November 12, 2015, 1:15 pm

        “Try to pause for a moment from your Israel-obsession ” Read every article in MDW and you will see it is an update of ISRAEL’S CRIMES. So every single commenter can be considered “Israel obessed” according to your ridiculous statement, including you. I do not comment to discuss the crimes of France or Japan.

        Israel is supposed to act more like a democracy than it’s neighbors, instead it has a stinking reputation of continuing apartheid policies and discrimination against non Jews. Read all about it from an Israeli “citizen”:

        Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal

        “Two generations after the Nakba, the effect of discriminatory Israeli policies still reverberates. Israel still seeks to safeguard its image by claiming to be a bastion of democracy that treats its Palestinian citizens well, all the while continuing illiberal policies that target this very population. There is a long history of such discrimination.

        In the 1950s new laws permitted the state to take control over Palestinians’ land by classifying them “absentees.” Of course, it was the state that made them absentees by either preventing refugees from returning to Israel or barring internally displaced Palestinians from having access to their land. This last group was ironically termed “present absentees” — able to see their land but not to reach it because of military restrictions that ultimately resulted in their watching the state confiscate it. Until 1966, Palestinian citizens were governed under martial law.

        Today, a Jew from any country can move to Israel, while a Palestinian refugee, with a valid claim to property in Israel, cannot. And although Palestinians make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, the 2012 budget allocates less than 7 percent for Palestinian citizens.

        Tragically for Palestinians, Zionism requires the state to empower and maintain a Jewish majority even at the expense of its non-Jewish citizens, and the occupation of the West Bank is only one part of it. What exists today between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is therefore essentially one state, under Israeli control, where Palestinians have varying degrees of limited rights: 1.5 million are second-class citizens, and four million more are not citizens at all. If this is not apartheid, then whatever it is, it’s certainly not democracy.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/opinion/not-all-israeli-citizens-are-equal.html?_r=0

        Nothing you say justifies what Israel is doing, and stop trying to compare yourselves to the rest of the nations around it, after all none of them have a brutal occupation going, being condemned for illegal settlements, bulldozing of homes, kidnapping and throwing children in jail by the hundreds, and we in the US keep giving them the aid to do it all.

        The usual “look over there we are better” narrative is lame now. Time Israeli supporters reached that mental state and admitted it is causing all these problems for what Israel is doing, you know the endless occupation and in your face announcements of MORE illegal settlements. Be honest and admit that you end the occupation and the land grabs, the violence will cease.
        Hard to defend the indefensible eh?

      • talknic
        November 12, 2015, 8:28 pm

        @ ivri “Do you REALLY think that Israel treats minorities in it worse than any country around it and very many others in the world?”

        Warning: OT Hasbara deflection tactic 101

        A) How many wrongs make a right ivri? B) Any of those countries occupying another people?

        “If you can reach a mental state where you can be honest enough with yourself to answer that fairly y you will begin to understand why people`s attitude to how Israel react to threats to it is so much different than what you suggest it should be”

        Uh? There were no threats to Israel from any WMDs when the US invaded Iraq and there are no threats to Israel from Iran. The Iranian stance has been to reiterate in their own words UNSC res 476 http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

        Israel is in breach o International Law and the UN Charter for its actions in non-Israeli territories.

      • eljay
        November 13, 2015, 12:04 pm

        || ivri: Do you REALLY think that Israel treats minorities in it worse than any country around it and very many others in the world? ||

        Speaking of blindness and dishonest mental states, it’s always amusing to see Zio-supremacists defend their supposedly “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” state by comparing it to some of the worst nations on the planet.

        Zio-supremacist: “John is a really great guy. He’s the best!”
        Moral human being: “He’s a rapist and pedophile.”
        Zio-supremacist: “Oh, yeah? Well, at least he’s not a serial killer!”

  5. ivri
    November 11, 2015, 10:55 am

    A lot of things look differently in hindsight – not only perspectives change but also realities. The only difference is that with the pace of things today it all happens much faster – just a decade later and all get transformed.
    Remember the axis of rejection or the Shia Crescent of just 5 years ago – it is in tatters now in Syria and Lebanon (all the missiles in tunnels notwithstanding) and Iran itself changed presidents and tack – partly flirting with the West. Saddam can be seen now as the first domino piece to fall in a great tragedy that awaited Arabia.

    • Mooser
      November 11, 2015, 11:57 am

      “A lot of things look differently in hindsight”

      Yup, “Irvi”, that “hindsight” you’ve got affords you a first-class view of your duodenum.

    • John O
      November 11, 2015, 6:37 pm

      “not only perspectives change but also realities”

      Wow! Realities change? I drank too many beers last night and woke up with a terrible hangover. Oops, sorry. That didn’t happen at all. I had a glass of water and woke up fit to run a marathon.

    • talknic
      November 12, 2015, 1:10 am

      @ ivri November 11, 2015, 10:55 am

      “A lot of things look differently in hindsight “

      Indeed. But the 1998 Letter to Clinton from the PNAC (overloaded with Zionists who eventually infested GW Bush’s Whitehouse) wasn’t in hindsight. It demanded what has now happened to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria

  6. James Canning
    November 11, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Netanyahu played a crucial role in setting up the idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2002.

    • ivri
      November 11, 2015, 5:37 pm

      There was a chain reaction here. Iraqi refugees fled to Syria where there was already a drought for several years and the combined effect stared the insurgency there. But the fear that Saddam is developing nukes was real at the time – not a fictional excuse – so even if Israel played a partial role in pushing for a war there – there were plenty other motives – it is understandable. Another reason was that Saddam payed 25000 dollars as a reward to each family of a suicide-bomber.

      • James Canning
        November 11, 2015, 7:30 pm

        Ivri – – Bravo for flagging the significance of the $25,000 reward Saddam offered to the families of suicide bombers attacking targets in Israel. This in my view was the most important factor that brought about the collusive scheme needed to produce the US invasion in 2003.

      • Boomer
        November 11, 2015, 7:35 pm

        “reward” seems a loaded word for a humanitarian act to help the families of people driven by desperation caused by dispossession and oppression to take their own life.

      • James Canning
        November 11, 2015, 7:38 pm

        True. I readily accept compensation as an alternative term for the payments made by Saddam. Those payments were hurting the Israeli economy, and getting rid of Saddam was seen as the corrective measure that could be taken. Provided the American public could be duped, etc etc etc.

      • diasp0ra
        November 11, 2015, 7:50 pm

        Except it was not a reward, and it was never ever phrased as a reward.

        Similar to how the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs hands out a modest sum of money to the family of those who have been in Israeli Prisons for a specific amount of time (especially when they are the breadwinner) the same exact concept was being carried out by Saddam with families of Palestinians who had lost members.

        The aid was given out to anyone losing members to Israel. Had nothing to do with “rewards”.

        “But the fear that Saddam is developing nukes was real at the time”

        Except it wasn’t. Multiple US officials have since admitted to misrepresenting the evidence to campaign for war.

        http://www.salon.com/2015/05/20/george_w_bushs_cia_briefer_admits_iraq_wmd_intelligence_was_a_lie/

      • James Canning
        November 11, 2015, 7:57 pm

        diaspora – – I agree that the GW Bush admin pretended to fear Iraq was developing nukes. Dick Cheney, however, made sure that strong CIA evidence indicating Iraq had destroyed its nuke programme years earlier, was kept out of the White House. I think Condi Rice was duped. She in turn helped in the manipulation of GW Bush.

      • talknic
        November 12, 2015, 1:13 am

        @ ivri “But the fear that Saddam is developing nukes was real at the time – not a fictional excuse “

        The fear the fear. Pushed by fear mongers … The fear didn’t equate to reality

        https://www.google.com.au/search?q=%20Bush%20admits%20no%20WMDs%20in%20Iraq

        Ziocaine really does turn brains into Ziopoo

      • RoHa
        November 12, 2015, 5:10 am

        ” But the fear that Saddam is developing nukes was real at the time – not a fictional excuse”

        Of course, that was a pretend fear. Various leaders might have proclaimed it, but only the most naive readers of overwrought editorials actually thought it was true*.

        But even if it had been a real fear, and even if Saddam had been developing nukes, it still would not have justified war. You cannot start a war on the basis of what some other country might do. Only on the basis of what that country does do.

  7. kalithea
    November 11, 2015, 5:45 pm

    Israeli Zionists and their neocon Zionist counterparts in America dragged us all into the gutter of war in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and now Syria and Yemen.

    A pox on them.

    – Let’s not forget the successive bombing campaigns against Gaza; Israel’s concentration camp; Israel’s Warsaw ghetto; Israel’s Guernica.

    • ivri
      November 12, 2015, 2:35 am

      @Cull-it-ea
      “Concentration camp”, “Warsaw ghetto”, Guernica
      Relax. You have just had another attack of IsraeliMania.

  8. Palikari
    November 11, 2015, 6:03 pm

    Saddam was a bloodthirsty, genocidal dictator who gassed his own people and committed mass human rights violations.

    He had to be overthrown. And I am very glad he was.

    • James Canning
      November 11, 2015, 7:25 pm

      Idiotic US invasion of Iraq helped to spawn civil war in Syria. Many hundreds of thousands of people have been killed thanks to utter stupidity of the GW Bush administration.

    • yonah fredman
      November 11, 2015, 7:28 pm

      Palikari- Saddam was a bloodthirsty dictator. Getting rid of him was theoretically a good thing, but in fact the consequences have resulted in more chaos and more dead than anyone anticipated at the time and therefore I would not say that I am very glad that he was overthrown (as a result of an American invasion). It was probably a bad move. Quite possibly a very bad move.

    • Mooser
      November 11, 2015, 9:07 pm

      “He had to be overthrown. And I am very glad he was.”

      And peace, prosperity, and good order came to poor Iraq at last!!

    • talknic
      November 12, 2015, 1:20 am

      @ Palikari “Saddam was a bloodthirsty, genocidal dictator who gassed his own people and committed mass human rights violations”

      You mean Assad? Oh no that’s right, it’s just the same MO for morons with short memories

      “He had to be overthrown. And I am very glad he was”

      BDS worked in Sth Africa. Quite legal. The invasion of Iraq was not legal in any sense of the word, nor was it a raging success.

      • James Canning
        November 12, 2015, 1:06 pm

        US invasion of Iraq was great “success” in accomplishing the elimination of Saddam., but a catsstrophic strategic blunder.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    November 12, 2015, 4:38 am

    Enough of this guy. Enough already. The MSM and others should just plain ignore him and watch – with delight, how his ego finally deflates.

  10. Popsiq
    December 6, 2015, 8:32 am

    Nate has never had any problem recognizing when the monster under the bed is in need of restuffing, or replacement. They are all ‘old friends’ – may he take them to his grave.

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