Fox's Oliver North Pushes Long-Debunked WMD Conspiracy Theory To Justify The Iraq War

Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

Fox News host Oliver North revived the discredited claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction to justify the American-led invasion of that country 10 years ago.

During an America's Newsroom segment on the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war, North explained why he thought the war was "worth it," saying: "We got rid of a brutal despot who used chemical and biological weapons against his own people. Weapons of mass destruction that he probably exported to Sudan before we got there."

The claim that Iraq possessed WMD at the time of the invasion has been long debunked.

In 2004, the CIA's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) released a report that found that Iraq "ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program." The report further stated, "While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991."

ISG also concluded that after 1995, Iraq "abandoned its existing [biological warfare] program in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut Baghdad's ability to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions." The report stated that Iraq appeared to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of biological warfare-related weapons in 1991 and 1992.

As for North's claim that WMD were transferred out of Iraq, intelligence officials have said they found no evidence that weapons or related equipment were moved. From the Associated Press:

[I]ntelligence and congressional officials say they have not seen any information -- never "a piece," said one -- indicating that WMD or significant amounts of components and equipment were transferred from Iraq to neighboring Syria, Jordan or elsewhere.

[...]

Last week, a congressional official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said suggestions that weapons or components were sent from Iraq were based on speculation stemming from uncorroborated information.

In an addendum to its report, ISG leader Charles Duelfer said it was "unlikely" that WMD material was moved out of Iraq. From The New York Times:

An addendum to the report by its author, Charles Duelfer, the C.I.A's senior weapons inspector, reached no firm conclusions about whether W.M.D-related material was shipped out of Iraq before the invasion.

"It was unlikely that an official transfer of W.M.D. material from Iraq to Syria took place," the addendum said. "However, ISG [the Iraq Survey Group] was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited W.M.D-related materials."

Conservative media have routinely claimed that intelligence confirming WMD in Iraq was correct, despite repeated evidence to the contrary. 

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Oliver North
Show/Publication
America's Newsroom
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