Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Altering History: Run-Up to the Iraq War

Back on January 27, 2004, President Bush claimed that the we went to war because Saddam Hussein refused to allow U.N. inspectors into Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction. This claim was, of course, false. The inspectors returned to Iraq in November of 2002, and stayed until March of 2003, when the United States advised them to leave so as not to be hit by the coming bombs. See this helpful timeline.

Is this falsehood becoming a Republican talking point? It will if journalists allow it to be repeated unchallenged. That's what happened when Ohio Republican congressional candidate Jean Schmidt came to play Hardball with guest host David Gregory. Schmidt had been praising President Bush's brilliant performance in Iraq, when Gregory challenged her:

GREGORY: You don‘t believe that there‘s any areas of the preparation for war, for instance, the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that proved not to be true, for which this president ought to be accountable?
SCHMIDT: You know, the fact of the matter is, there are no weapons of mass destruction. And we were listening to a thug, Saddam Hussein, who said that there was. He was not allowing people to go in and inspect. We called him on it. And, you know, we‘re now standing with the government, where there won‘t be any weapons of mass destruction and in a country that‘s becoming democratic and where we won‘t have to face a nuclear threat.
GREGORY: Right.

Right? Schmidt not only repeated Bush's falsehood about inspectors, she invented a new one that Saddam had claimed to have weapons of mass destruction. And what does Gregory do? Affirm her. Right.
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