Joe Lieberman on Pre-War Intelligence
The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee today reported that the Bush Administration’s case for war in Iraq was fundamentally misleading. To justify the decision to go to war with Iraq, the Administration cherry-picked, manipulated and disregarded information from the intelligence community.
Even as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman has refused to press the administration for answers on the WMD question, and instead has insisted WMD were in Iraq. Worse, even though he used the WMD rationale as the reason he supported war, he now says that even if WMD were not in Iraq, he still would have supported the war.
As Ned Lamont has previously said, “Joe owes Connecticut voters an explanation of his vote for the war and his rubberstamping of Bush’s failed policies.”
Iraq did not provide any material or operational support to Al Qaeda before the war.
Saddam Hussein was distrustful of Al Qaeda, viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, and issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al-Qa’ida.
There was no connection to 9/11, and no indication that Saddam Hussein intended to use any terrorist group to strike the U.S.
The State Department was correct when they determined that there was not enough evidence to say that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear program.
The State Department and the Department of Energy were correct that the aluminum tubes were not for a nuclear program.
The Air Force was correct that Iraq’s UAVs were not for delivery of biological weapons.
PRE-WAR – LIEBERMAN WAS KEY LAWMAKER PUSHING WMD HYPE AS REASON TO INVADE IRAQ: In its 6/18/03, Salon.com reported on how Lieberman played a key role in pushing the Iraq WMD storyline. “In October 1998, Lieberman reported on the ‘chilling news from Baghdad,’” Salon reported. “With the inspections program ‘disintegrating,’ Lieberman said, it would only be three months after inspections ended that Saddam would ‘begin building missiles to carry the weapons of mass destruction we know he still has, and he will surely restart or finish his nuclear weapons program.’ Introducing the Iraq War Resolution on Oct. 2, 2002, Lieberman declared that Saddam ‘has continued, without question, to develop weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them on distant targets.’” As the Norwich Bulletin reported, “the weapons of mass destruction Saddam supposedly stockpiled [was] a key factor Bush and Lieberman cited in arguing for an invasion.” [Salon, 6/18/03; Norwich Bulletin, 12/26/05]
2003 – LIEBERMAN ATTACKED THOSE WHO RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT WMD: At a press conference, Lieberman specifically attacked those who raised questions about the failure to find WMD in Iraq. In a discussion about WMD, Lieberman said: “By their words, some in my party are sending out a message that they don’t know a just war when they see it, and, more broadly, they’re not prepared to use our military strength to protect our security and the cause of freedom.” [Source: Washington Post, 7/29/03]
2004 – LIEBERMAN IGNORED WMD REPORT, SAID IRAQ HAD WMD AND THUS POSED THREAT: On 6/25/04, Lieberman told CNN that “Iraq did pose a threat to us” because “they had weapons of mass destruction.” He said this long after CNN reported that President Bush’s chief weapons inspector, David Kay, told Congress that “his group [of inspectors] found no evidence Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons before the U.S.-led invasion in March.” [CNN, 6/25/04; CNN, 1/25/04]
2005 – LIEBERMAN DISTORTED WMD REPORT, CLAIMED IRAQ HAD WMD, THUS JUSTIFYING WAR: Lieberman appeared on Sean Hannity’s national radio show to claim that U.S. government reports supposedly confirmed the existence of WMD in Iraq. “The so-called Duelfer Report, which a lot of people read to say there were no weapons of mass destruction – concluded that Saddam continued to have very low level of chemical and biological programs,” Lieberman said. Lieberman reiterated this claim on Fox News, saying “The fact that we didn’t discover large stocks of weapons of mass destruction doesn’t mean that Saddam Hussein didn’t have them.” Then, without any proof, he claimed “Duelfer found that [Saddam] had a rudimentary biological and chemical weapons program.” However, according to CNN, the Duelfer report conclusively said “Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them.” In fact, the report definitively documented that “Iraq’s WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended Iraq’s nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War.” [Hannity Radio Show, 12/2/05; CNN, 10/7/04; AFP, 1/12/05]
2006 – LIEBERMAN CITED FOR “DANCING” AROUND WMD QUESTION: The 3/26/06 Connecticut Post reported “In October 2004, Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. arms inspector, issued a report that found Hussein was a diminishing threat at the time of the U.S. invasion and did not possess, or have concrete plans to develop, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Lieberman danced around the question of Iraq—- simply saying it is the right thing to do.” [Source: Connecticut Post, 3/26/06]
2006 – LIEBERMAN TELLS RADIO HOST WMD DIDN’T MATTER & THAT HE SUPPORTED WAR ANYWAY: On Glenn Beck’s national radio show on 8/22/06, Lieberman agreed with the host that the WMD rationale that he pushed as a justification for war was merely “a nice side benefit” and that the Iraq War was really a vehicle for other objectives. Beck said, “The weapons of mass destruction was a nice side benefit. We were trying to go and pop the head of the snake in Iran. That’s what we were trying to do. And I don’t think anybody had the courage or could actually come out and say that with world politics the way they are.” Lieberman immediately agreed, saying “You’re right.” [Glenn Beck radio show, 8/22/06]
2006 – LIEBERMAN SAYS HE WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED WAR EVEN IF NO WMD IN IRAQ: In the same Glenn Beck radio interview, Lieberman says he would have advocated for war with Iraq even if the public knew the truth about Iraq not having WMD, and even though he originally cited WMD as his reason for supporting the Iraq War. In a discussion about the false hyping of the Iraq threat, Lieberman reminded Beck that regardless of the failure to find WMD, “I think we did the right thing in going in to overthrow Saddam.” [Glenn Beck radio show, 8/22/06]