Host Dobbs allowed frequent guest to repeat falsehood that Saddam "train[ed] terrorists" who killed in U.S.

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Host Greg Dobbs of Colorado State of Mind on KRMA Rocky Mountain PBS let stand a conservative guest's false claim during the May 11 broadcast that Saddam Hussein "was training terrorists who came over here and killed our people" in the 9-11 attacks. Although another guest, Democratic state Rep. Morgan Carroll, challenged Kelly Weist's assertion, Dobbs shifted the discussion to another subject.

During the May 11 broadcast of KRMA Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind, frequent guest and former president of the Mountain Republican Women's Club Kelly Weist justified the war in Iraq by falsely stating that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein "was training terrorists who came over here and killed our people." Even though fellow guest state Rep. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) challenged Weist's statement as a "myth," host Greg Dobbs did not ask Weist to substantiate her claim, but instead changed the topic.

Carroll argued that in prosecuting the war in Iraq, the United States has "basically used all of [its] resources going after one particular dictator [...] frankly, in a way that was not well thought out," when officials could have addressed other world human rights violations. Weist -- who introduced herself as a political consultant and columnist -- then interjected:

WEIST: One particular dictator who was training terrorists who came over here and killed our people. I mean, that is the, the interest there. I don't have any problem with doing things on a human rights [unintelligible], but this has to -- priority.

CARROLL: Saddam Hussein never trained anybody that came over here. The myth of 9-11 being tied to Iraq is one thing that drives me crazy about this president.

WEIST: Drives me crazy too, because you're wrong.

At that point, Dobbs shifted the discussion to the question of whether the war in Iraq is "worth the American lives and the American dollars," to which Weist replied, "Yes."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted (here, here, and here), the notion that the war in Iraq began with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has long been discredited. In fact, President Bush admitted in September 2003 that there is "no evidence" Hussein had anything to do with the attacks.

Weist's claim echoed that of numerous members of the Bush administration -- including Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who have asserted a specific link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. But as Media Matters for America has noted, a September 8, 2006, Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded, "Postwar findings support the April 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assessment that there was no credible reporting on al-Qa'ida training at [training facility] Salman Pak or anywhere else in Iraq."

Media Matters also has noted that the 9-11 Commission found that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no "collaborative and operational relationship," and the same September 2006 report further concluded that Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward" now-dead Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and his associates. Similarly, the report concluded that, based on postwar evidence, "Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa'ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qa'ida to provide material or operational support."

During the January 12 broadcast of Colorado State of Mind, Dobbs also left unchallenged the claim by former Colorado House speaker Lola Spradley (R-Beulah) that the 9-11 terrorist attacks "started" the Iraq war, as Colorado Media Matters noted.

From the May 11 broadcast of KRMA Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind:

CARROLL: There -- you know, here's --

WEIST: -- or them?

CARROLL: -- the thing that bothers me about this discussion on the war. I don't think anybody has ever questioned that Saddam Hussein is an evil, vicious dictator. But I can give you a long list -- a really long list -- of other countries with vicious, oppressive dictators --

WEIST: Mm-hmm.

CARROLL: -- a long list of other countries that we do know have weapons of mass destruction. We have genocide occurring on our watch right now, and rather than step up like we did in World War II, where are we now on the human rights questions that are going on? We have basically used all of our resources going after one particular dictator --

WEIST: Mm-hmm.

CARROLL: -- frankly, in a way that was not well thought out. The talking points change every two seconds on this strategy. I can't figure out the policy --

WEIST: One particular dictator who was training terrorists who came over here and killed our people. I mean, that is the, the interest there. I don't have any problem with doing things on a human rights [unintelligible], but this has to -- priority.

CARROLL: Saddam Hussein never trained anybody that came over here. The myth of 9-11 being tied to Iraq is one thing that drives me crazy about this president.

WEIST: Drives me crazy too, because you're wrong.

DOBBS: I -- I want to ask you a wrap-up question because, there's something else -- I have a back-pocket question I want to get to, as I warned you we might before we started the show. And I -- I want to get to it. So, my, my -- my question to you -- and we'll start with you, Kelly, and --

WEIST: Mm-hmm.

DOBBS: -- I'm sure each of you could go on a long time, but I'd like you to keep it short. Even if you define success the way the president does, is it worth the American lives and the American dollars?

WEIST: Yes.

DOBBS: Morgan.

CARROLL: No.

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