Obama in 2002: Toppling Brutal Dictator a ‘Dumb War’


obama2President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a “dumb war” and should be opposed.

The “dumb war” Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. Obama, speaking at an anti-war rally in Chicago on Oct. 2, 2002 said that while Saddam was a brutal tyrant, that was not enough to justify using military force to remove him from power.

“Now, let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein,” said Obama in his speech. “He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.”

“… After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again,” said Obama. “I don’t oppose all wars. … What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

Obama argued that deposing Saddam militarily was not necessary, because Iraq posed no “direct threat” to the United States. Obama also cited Iraq’s weakened economy and the fact that it was still possible to contain Saddam’s aggression, repudiating the Bush administration’s rationale that Saddam posed too great a threat to American interests and his own people to be left in power.

“But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history,” said Sen. Obama.

However, as president of the United States, Obama has discounted those same arguments he once made against using military force against brutal dictators.

In his March 28, 2011 speech justifying his decision to attack the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Obama cited Gadhafi’s record of brutality, saying that allowing Gadhafi to continue his brutality was not an option.

“Qaddafi declared he would show ‘no mercy’ to his own people,” said President Obama. “He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day.

“Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city,” Obama said. “We knew that if we waited, if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

Gadhafi, apparently unlike Saddam, needed to be stopped because he would kill his own people to maintain his own power, an act that this time posed a threat to America’s “interests and values,” Obama said.

“But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act,” said Obama. “That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.”

Obama, in his 2002 speech, said that instead of deposing Saddam through force, America should “fight” for democratic reforms in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, stronger international nuclear safeguards, and energy independence.

“Those are the battles that we need to fight,” Obama said in 2002. “Those are the battles that we willingly join – the battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.”

By 2011, however, Obama had come to endorse the use of military power to enforce America’s “responsibility as a [global] leader” arguing that the United States was “different” and therefore had no other choice but to attack Libya.

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” he said. “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.”

{CNS News/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. It took me many years and it was not until just recently that I felt that this particular view of Mr. Obama was in fact the right thinking on Iraq. I was swayed by Mr. Powell’s speech and the purported conversations played of Iraqi military personell supposedly aiming to clean up their fingerprint of WMDs. That said, the actual bombing of Iraq I think I am still on board with its decision. However the long lasting ground war in my current thinking is quite likely not the aim of True American Interest. Gladfully, Mr. Hussein was disposed. But that said, there was not a humanitarian crisis in the year that we invaded Iraq. Had this been done during the time that the Kurds were slaughtered a different perspective may be clear. That said, I think that we today owe it to the previously Sovereign nation of Iraq and clearly not a pending brink of war nation either to reestablish their prosperity and reestablish their capacity to care for their own people.
    It would be a benevolent act for America to ensure that the hospitals that care for the Iraqis are fit for future needs and that the health care of the nation that we surreptitiously chose to modify by military force is fit to serve the future needs of their people. That does not mean fund their health care, but it does mean that our people would likely need to change any infrastructure that is not functional into functional infrastructure to better provide for the needs of this population. That is my personal thought on this matter and in no way does the USA have to admit that we were “arrogant or foolish” to make such an invasion. We did a course of action that likely can be debated for the years ahead but hopefully does ensure stability in the middle east. Let’s hope that the future is healthier than the past. Thanks.

  2. once again an article posted – this one- has a leadline attached by the news publisher and the headline is a lie. The headline is a lie because it leads the reader to believe Obama said ” Toppling Brutal Dictator a ‘Dumb War’”.

    If the readership cares to know, he would have to search that the media outlet that published it- CNS news- is an internet only web site that is self proclaimed to be a goyyish conservative organization.

    So now that we know that Obama never said this let’s proceed to the other lies or misleading statements of CNS news, the publishers of this article.

    The main other lie in this pundit’s article in this atrocious representation as a media source of truth is that it claims there is a hypocracy on the part of Obama becasue huseein and ghadfi are both bad who kill and torture their own civilians.

    Actuallky the comparison falls short of why Obama discounts the Iraq war and launched this Libya war.

    Anyone with simple reasoning skills knows why but I will wrote what they are anyway.

    [1] Bush invaded a sovereign country that was not attacking neighbors or another country and not engaged in anything of mass murder against his own citizens from 1994 through the eve of the war in march 2003 on account of his weak hold on the country. He was even letting prisoners out in clemency campaigns to get on the good side of his citizens. Therefore on this ground alone it is incomparable since he wasnt mass killing his peeps.
    Obama started bombing with a Security Council Resolution aimed at those military targets that were IN PROCESS OF MASS MURDER.

    [2] The Security Council members already pledged to veto any resolution allowing Bush to go to war in 2003 and Bush went ahead anyway and forced out the hundreds of inspectors. The opposite is the case with Obama….the President is bound to uphold the Constiutution, and since the UN Charter is a treaty, and since the Constitution requires ( in the Supremacy Clasue) the government of the U.S. to uphold all treaties it has entered into, Bush violated the conctituton and Obama is fulfilling it. The only part of the government that there is a complex argument with is whether the Supreme Court needs to take into account international law or not in its rulings, and t9o which rulings that applies.

    [3] the next relevant difference is that Bush sent in regular ground forces, and when you do that in a war you consign them to death, so this act of Bush must have its justification well well beyond sending 4,000 Americans to death, permanently maiming 30,000 americans ( not including the ones with permanent PTSD and other mental illnesses) and all the concomitant hell and pain Bush condemned tens of thousands of Americans to ( troops, mothers fathers sons daughters widows orphans etc…).

    Obama has not sent ground forces in.

    [4] Obama has targeted the current military forces and resources used to currently commit mass murder with SCR 1973.

    That is why CNS news is a freak show.

  3. “CNS news- is an internet only web site that is self proclaimed to be a goyyish conservative organization.”

    I’m almost sure George Orwell is a goy trying to curry favor with us. A Jew wouldn’t use such a stupid sentence. Tell me, Mr. Orwell, how much are you paid by the Obama machine for your honest work?

  4. in response to AA #4 i dont work for obama or anything in politics. there is another conspiracy.
    i wanted to accentuate for the readers how suspicious we should be by CNS and how much we should recognize it is an unreliable source despiute the fact that they claim an office in Jerusalem ( after an office in the U.S.)it is simply another biased organization