Mokhiber: You have said the President wants
regime change in Iraq, by which I take it to mean the President wants to overthrow
the government in Iraq. Why don't you just say the President wants to overthrow
the government in Iraq?
Ari Fleischer: Russell, I think you need
to address your question to the hundreds of members of Congress who in 1998 voted
for regime change as America's policy under President Clinton, who signed it into
Mokhiber: If I could follow up, Ari.
Fleischer: Go ahead.
Mokhiber: You use the term regime change.
Why don't you just say, we want to overthrow the government of Iraq?
Fleischer: Because I describe the law as
the law was described when it passed and as it's been commonly referred to.
Mokhiber: Okay, the second question, Ari.
Mokhiber: Second. That was a follow-up.
If India adopted the Bush administration's policy on preemptive attack, vis a
vis let's say Pakistan, or if China adopted the Bush administration policy on
preemptive attack, vis a vis Taiwan, would you consider that a lawful policy under
Fleischer: Well, I think what's different
is the unique history of Iraq and the irrationality of Iraq. Different policies
work in different regions of the world, and different doctrines work at different
times and in different regions because of the local circumstances. Policies of
containment work more with a rational figure than with an irrational one. That's
why the policy of containment worked vis a vis the Soviet Union.
Iraq, on the other hand, given its military history, given the amount of weaponry
that Iraq has acquired that they have actually used to invade their neighbors,
to attack their neighbors, to launch missiles against their neighbors, has not
been deterred by such policies in the past. Given the fact that an irrational
leader who has a history of military force and military use and military aggression
and domination may acquire a nuclear weapon, the question is, should it be the
policy of the United States to do nothing, and allow such a leader to acquire
a weapon that he could then use to blackmail the world and blackmail the region,
and even use it to harm us.