Joe Lieberman Insists Iraq Was Developing WMDs Despite No Evidence
During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) continued to insist that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction even though none were ever found after the invasion of Iraq.
The senator, retiring his seat in 2012, also said that despite the enormous cost to the U.S. in blood, prestige and treasure he does not regret his vote for war and would do it all over again.
My answer is, yes. My answer is yes because Saddam was threatening the stability of the entire region. He'd shown that by his actions. I believe that the evidence is very clear that he was developing weapons of mass destruction.
Obviously we don't have evidence that he had a big program. But the most official and comprehensive report show that's true. He was also, the evidence shows, beginning really tactically to support the terrorist movements that had attack us on 9/11 and today, to make a long story short, instead of a brutally repressive dictator in Iraq, we've got a government that was elected, that's self-governing and the country is self-defending. By the end of this year, we're going to have most of our troops out of there. I think that's had a major effect on the entire region. Iraq is now the most democratic country in the Arab world. so, yes, I think it was the right thing to do. Terrible cost we paid in life and treasure, but ultimately i think the right decision.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Iraq War found no evidence of links between Saddam and al-Qaeda:
It says that debriefings conducted since the invasion of Iraq "indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al-Qaeda. No post-war information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with [Osama] Bin Laden.
"Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda... refusing all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support."
Arianna Huffington, a guest on the show this morning as well, asked Senator Lieberman on what evidence did he base his claims of Iraq having WMD:
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: It was stunning to hear you say that there was evidence that Saddam Hussein was working on weapons of mass destruction, given that even President Bush himself has now accepted that there had been no evidence. So on what basis are you saying that?
JOE LIEBERMAN: I'm basing it on the so-called Duelfer Report. Charles D-U-E-L-F-E-R conducted the most comprehensive report on behalf of our government. And it was, nobody thought it was partisan. I want to be very clear: he didn't find big caches of weapons of mass destruction. But he found, and proved I think, that Saddam had every intention, and particularly to develop nuclear weapons, was developing chemical and biological weapons, and had a structure in place including nuclear scientists that he was prepared to support if he broke out of the sanctions, which he was inclined to do. So I think that the evidence is clear that if we did not do what we did that Saddam Hussein would today have at least chemical and biological weapons and have a nuclear program probably like Iran's beginning to move toward capabilities, and that the entire world would be a much less...
HUFFINGTON: Well, based on this completely unfounded assumption, I sincerely hope for the sake of the country that you do not become Secretary of Defense.
LIEBERMAN: Now Arianna, these are not unfounded. Go read the Duelfer Report.
HUFFINGTON: There is nothing in the report that proves anything that you have said.
Dripping with condescension, Lieberman retorted, "I don't think you've read it, sweetheart."
Indeed President Bush himself admitted that Iraq having no WMD's was one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency.
"When we didn't find weapons I felt terrible about it, sick about it and still do, because a lot of the case in removing Saddam Hussein was based upon weapons of mass destruction," Bush said last November.
Bush in 2009: