former and perhaps future Israeli prime minister. Letter to the American
People, Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2002.
THE CASE FOR TOPPLING SADDAM
Mr. Netanyahu is a leading member of Likud, the party leading Israel during the
run up to the war, has been a cabinet minister and is a strong contender
for Prime Minister if Likud is dominant after the election.
Mr. Netanyahu's position can be reduced to these points:
"I do not mean to suggest that there are not legitimate questions about
a potential operation against Iraq.
Indeed, there are. But the question of whether removing the Saddam regime
is itself legitimate is not one of them. Equally immaterial is the argument
cannot oust Saddam without prior approval of the international community."
He further pursued his call for action by noting:
"The dangers posed by a nuclear-armed Saddam were understood by my
country two decades ago, well before Sept. 11. In 1981, Prime Minister Menachem
Begin dispatched the Israeli air force on a predawn raid that destroyed the
Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. Though at the time Israel was condemned by all the
world's governments, history has rendered a far kinder judgment on that act of
unquestionable foresight and courage."
Mr. Netanyahu went on:
"Two decades ago it was possible to thwart Saddam's nuclear ambitions
by bombing a single installation. Today nothing less than dismantling his
regime will do. For Saddam's nuclear program has changed. 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 -- and Iraq
is a very big country. Even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover
these portable manufacturing sites of mass death."
"Though I am today a private citizen, I believe I speak for the
overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against
Saddam's regime. We support this American action even though we stand on the
front-lines, while others criticize it as they sit comfortably on the
sidelines. But we know that their sense of comfort is an illusion. For if
action is not taken now, we will all be threatened by a much greater
"If a preemptive action will be supported by free countries and the
U.N., all the better. but if such support is not forthcoming, then the U.S. must be
prepared to act without it. This will require courage and I see it abundantly
present in President Bush's bold leadership and in the millions of Americans
who have rallied behind him."