Clinton Aide Wanted Iraq to Shoot Down US Plane
... so we'd be justified going to war in '97
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2010 3:00 PM CDT
A file photo of Saddam Hussein.   (AP Photo / Nikola Solic, pool, FILE)

(Newser) – Gen. Hugh Shelton's new memoir contains this odd nugget, notes Justin Elliott at Salon: In 1997, one of Bill Clinton's Cabinet members suggested that Shelton order a US plane to fly low over Baghdad so Saddam would shoot it down and, ta da, give America instant justification for war. "I was so mad I was about to explode," recounts Shelton, thinking about the sacrificial pilot.

“Why, of course we can,” he responded. "Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go.” The memoir doesn't name the Cabinet member, but Elliott notes that the way the passage is written leaves Madeleine Albright as a distinct possibility.

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
Oct 16, 2010 4:32 PM CDT
As usual, Cher, your comments are the ultimate in toolish and foolish. Regime change in Iraq was U.S. policy in the 1990s (though GHW Bush didn't have the balls for it in 1990, but McCain and other war hawks made sure to maneuver Clinton and the Dems into supporting it.) During the run up to the impeachment the conservatard pundit class were screaming about "Wag the Dog" and saying Clinton wanted a war to distract the nation. They savaged the Commander in Chief when they should have been supporting his actions in Bosnia and Serbia. When GW Bush and his team lied about WMDs in Iraq, again Democrats fell in line and voted for the invasion (and her vote for that probably cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.) Saddam wasn't stupid enough to shoot down any U.S. planes. Under Clinton Saddam allowed himself to be penned into a narrow strip of airspace, while U.S. and British planes regularly enforced the no-fly zone that protected the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south. Bush would have had no trouble containing Saddam in the same way, and eventually his overthrow would have come. In the last days Saddam was desperate to leave and avoid an invasion, but that would not have brought "glory" to Bush or billions to Halliburton. The Iraq War has been the biggest foreign policy disaster in U.S. history, and anyone who tries to scapegoat the Clinton administration for it looks like an utter moron.
Oct 16, 2010 12:28 PM CDT
False-flag operations are pretty common in American history-from the sinking of the Maine to 9/11. This is nothing new. When I hear, "Oh, the Neocons would *never* have brought down the twin towers for political gain" I just have to laugh. They SAID they needed a new Pearl Harbor, and they engineered one. Jesus, we Americans are a naive bunch of Pollyanna's about how our government works, and how ruthless it is.
Oct 16, 2010 12:20 PM CDT
Well Bush haters what do you think now? Your own party wanted to get rid of Saddam at least 13 years ago. Too bad they didn't get it done, but some other way than was suggested!