Gigot's wishful thinking: that Clinton thinks "[I]t was right for President Bush to go into Iraq"

››› ››› MARCIA KUNTZ

On the June 20 broadcast of FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, The Wall Street Journal's editorial page editor, Paul A. Gigot, argued that former President Bill Clinton "said this week that he thought it was right for President [George W.] Bush to go into Iraq."

Not exactly. Before Gigot's appearance on the FOX Broadcasting Company, The Washington Post reported that excerpts from a Time magazine interview "leave Clinton's views on Iraq somewhat jumbled." However, as the Post also reported, Clinton made clear in an interview with CBS's Dan Rather -- portions of which were released in advance of its June 20 broadcast on 60 Minutes -- that, "In terms of the launching of the war, I believe we made an error in not allowing the United Nations to complete the inspections process." Clinton's comments to Rather were widely reported in anticipation of the broadcast and of the June 22 release of Clinton's memoir, My Life. Further, Time itself reported that Clinton said he "didn't agree with the timing of the attack."

Clinton also provided a more qualified rejoinder to those who argue that Iraqis are unequivocally better off since the United States deposed Saddam Hussein. Citing the 60 Minutes interview, the Associated Press wrote on June 19, "Asked whether he agrees with President Bush that removing Saddam from power has made the world safer from terrorism, Clinton said, 'I think the Iraqis are better off with Saddam gone, if they can have a stable government.'" The AP also reported that Clinton noted, "There have been more terrorists move into Iraq in the aftermath of the conflict." And Time quoted Clinton as follows: "I think right now, getting rid of Saddam's tyranny, ironically, has made Iraq more vulnerable to terrorism coming in from the outside."

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