During the run-up to the Iraq war, some of the worst purveyors of misinformation about Iraq had a home at Fox News, and their ranks have swelled considerably since then. Media Matters takes a look at the track record of wrong predictions and shoddy analysis about the war in Iraq by many of Fox News’ contributors and analysts.
White House Iraq Group was formed to “set [messaging] strategy” for going to war with Iraq. The Washington Post reported in 2003 (accessed via Nexis) that the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) was formed in August 2002 “to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad. A senior official who participated in its work called it ‘an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.’ ” Part of the WHIG’s mission, according to the Post, was to decide “what to demand of the United Nations in the president’s Sept. 12  address to the General Assembly, when to take the issue to Congress, and how to frame the conflict with Iraq in the midterm election campaign that began in earnest after Labor Day.” Rove was a regular participant in this group.
WHIG promoted view that Saddam “had weapons of mass destruction and was seeking more.” The Los Angeles Times reported on August 25, 2005, (accessed via Nexis) that the WHIG “promoted the view that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was seeking more”:
The group consisted of Rove, Libby, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, and Mary Matalin, Cheney’s media advisor. All are believed to have been questioned in the leak case; papers and e-mails about the group were subpoenaed.
Before the war, this Iraq group promoted the view that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was seeking more. In September 2002, the White House embraced a British report asserting that “Iraq has sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
The Washington Post further reported that WHIG “assigned Communications Director James R. Wilkinson to prepare a white paper for public release, describing the ‘grave and gathering danger’ of Iraq’s allegedly ‘reconstituted’ nuclear program.” From the October 30, 2005, article (accessed via Nexis):
By summer 2002, the White House Iraq Group assigned Communications Director James R. Wilkinson to prepare a white paper for public release, describing the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq’s allegedly “reconstituted” nuclear weapons program. Wilkinson gave prominent place to the claim that Iraq “sought uranium oxide, an essential ingredient in the enrichment process, from Africa.” That claim, along with repeated use of the “mushroom cloud” image by top officials beginning in September, became the emotional heart of the case against Iraq.
Rove repeatedly politicized national security issues, including the war in Iraq, and actively encouraged GOP to campaign on the issue. Think Progress has documented Rove’s repeated politicization of the Iraq war and his encouragement that Republicans campaign on the issue in 2002, which included (emphasis in original):
In January 2002, Rove told conservatives, “Americans trust the Republicans to do a better job of keeping our communities and our families safe…We can also go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America’s military might and thereby protecting America.”
In June 2002, Rove was giving PowerPoint presentations candidates [sic] advising them to “focus on the war” in their fall campaigns.
In September 2002, Time reported that when friends asked whether Bush planned to invade Iraq, Rove was been [sic] known to reply, “Let me put it this way: If you want to see Baghdad, you’d better visit soon.”
In addition, according to an April 5, 2003, New York Times article (accessed via Nexis), Rove worked “busily … to shape perceptions of Mr. Bush as a wartime leader and to prepare for the re-election campaign that will start as soon as the war ends.” The Times quoted Rove as saying, “The president is leading the coalition of the willing, and is determined that Iraq will be disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction and that the cruel dictator’s regime will be ended.” From the New York Times:
The White House portrays Karl Rove, President Bush’s most influential political adviser, as playing no role in military decisions that are shaping the Bush presidency.
But more than two weeks after the war began, Mr. Rove is busily working to shape perceptions of Mr. Bush as a wartime leader and to prepare for the re-election campaign that will start as soon as the war ends.
Tonight, Mr. Rove traveled here to tend to the Republican troops at the Texas Night fund-raising celebration of the Kent County Republican Committee.
“The president is leading the coalition of the willing, and is determined that Iraq will be disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction and that the cruel dictator’s regime will be ended,” Mr. Rove declared after taking the stage to chants of “U.S.A.!” in a cavernous hanger filled with the local party faithful wearing Texas-style cowboy boots, hats and bandanas.
Beyond courting Republicans at party events, Mr. Rove has in recent days been counseling Congressional Republicans and conservative groups on how to advance their domestic agenda even while attention is on Iraq.
This week, he held forth at a lunch with conservative commentators and journalists. Some participants had backed the administration on Iraq when it faced criticism that the war plan provided insufficient force and that it had been overly optimistic about Iraqi resistance.
Rove is currently a Fox News contributor, as well as Wall Street Journal and Newsweekcolumnist
Krauthammer predicted invasion of Iraq would lead to spread of democracy throughout Middle East. In a February 1, 2002, Washington Post column (accessed via Nexis), Krauthammer predicted that an invasion of Iraq would lead to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East, saying:
Iran is not a ready candidate for the blunt instrument of American power, because it is in the grips of a revolution from below. We can best accelerate that revolution by the power of example and success: Overthrowing neighboring radical regimes shows the fragility of dictatorship, challenges the mullahs’ mandate from heaven and thus encourages disaffected Iranians to rise. First, Afghanistan to the east. Next, Iraq to the west.
Krauthammer in June 2004: “[I]t’s the beginning of the end of the bad news.” On the June 1, 2004, edition of Special Report, Krauthammer said: “[I]t’s the beginning of the end of the bad news. I mean, we’re going to have lots of attacks, but the political process is under way.”
In addition, in a March 7, 2005, Time column, Krauthammer wrote:
Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America “coming ashore” to effect a “pan-Arab reformation” — a dangerous, “risky and, yes, arrogant” but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity.
The Administration went ahead with this great project knowing it would be hostage to history. History has begun to speak. Elections in Afghanistan, a historic first. Elections in Iraq, a historic first. Free Palestinian elections producing a moderate leadership, two historic firsts. Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, men only, but still a first. In Egypt, demonstrations for democracy — unheard of in decades — prompting the dictator to announce free contested presidential elections, a historic first.
And now, of course, the most romantic flowering of the spirit America went into the region to foster: the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which unarmed civilians, Christian and Muslim alike, brought down the puppet government installed by Syria. There is even the beginning of a breeze in Damascus. More than 140 Syrian intellectuals have signed a public statement defying their government by opposing its occupation of Lebanon.
Krauthammer is a political analyst for Fox News, and a regular member of Special Report with Bret Baier’s “All Star Panel.”
Barnes: “[W]inning the war in Iraq” is “going to be easy.” On the January 18, 2003, editionof Fox News’ The Beltway Boys (accessed via Nexis), Barnes said: “[L]ook, the problem is not winning the war in Iraq. That’s going to be easy. The problem right now is Hans Blix, the United Nations inspector in chief in Iraq, who seems to think his job is containment. You know, he says these inspections are a form of containment, and he wants to keep the inspectors there as long as possible, it seems to me, and has even said so.”
Barnes in April 2003: “[I]t gets easier now. … When you see those statues topple…you know that’s victory.” On the April 10, 2003, edition of Fox News’ Special Report, Barnes said: “[T]he good news is contrary to what you hear in the media, it gets easier now. The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war. … Hezbollah is a part of the war on terrorism. Syria harbors terrorists in the Biqa Valley, Hezbollah and so on. The Saudis export terrorism in terms of Wahabi Islam, and things can be done to crack down on that. It doesn’t mean sending troops into Riyadh or into Damascus or things like that. But certainly the U.S. now has leverage that it didn’t have before winning this triumph in Iraq. … [L]ook, it is clear what victory in the war is. When you see those statues topple and you know that’s victory.”
Barnes: Terrorists in Iraq are hitting “soft targets.” On the October 27, 2003, edition ofSpecial Report, Barnes said, “But these terrorists are hitting soft targets. I mean, the U.N., the hotel, the Red Cross — these are relatively soft targets. And I think they have a bad strategy. What do they gain from killing a lot of Red Cross personnel and a lot of U.N. personnel? I don’t think they warm the hearts of Iraqis. They certainly don’t build up more support in Europe or the United States. It is a last-ditch — I think it is a desperate effort by these terrorists. It’s not representative of a significant guerrilla force that’s fighting the United States there.”
Barnes: Obama not “strong on national security” because he opposed war “when the entire world believed” Saddam had WMDs. On the October 6, 2007, edition of The Beltway Boys, Barnes claimed that then-Sen. Barack Obama was “not in quite as strong a position on the war in Iraq as he really thinks he is.” He explained that when Obama delivered his 2002speech against going to war with Iraq, “it was back in a time when the entire world believed Saddam Hussein in Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that he would probably be willing to use them himself at some time or pass them along to terrorists who would use them. And yet, Barack Obama was against going to the war at that point.” According to Barnes: “I don’t think that shows that he is very strong on national security, which he needs to be.”
Kristol: “American and alliance forces will be welcomed in Baghdad as liberators.” Intestimony delivered February 7, 2002, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kristol said:
[A]s in Kabul but also as in the Kurdish and Shi’ite regions of Iraq in 1991, American and alliance forces will be welcomed in Baghdad as liberators. Indeed, reconstructing Iraq may prove to be a less difficult task than the challenge of building a viable state in Afghanistan.
The political, strategic and moral rewards would also be even greater. A friendly, free, and oil-producing Iraq would leave Iran isolated and Syria cowed; the Palestinians more willing to negotiate seriously with Israel; and Saudi Arabia with less leverage over policymakers here and in Europe. Removing Saddam Hussein and his henchmen from power presents a genuine opportunity — one President Bush sees clearly — to transform the political landscape of the Middle East.
Kristol in April 2003: “The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably.” In an April 28, 2003, Weekly Standard column, Kristol wrote:
The United States committed itself to defeating terror around the world. We committed ourselves to reshaping the Middle East, so the region would no longer be a hotbed of terrorism, extremism, anti-Americanism, and weapons of mass destruction. The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably. But these are only two battles. We are only at the end of the beginning in the war on terror and terrorist states.
Kristol: “[A]lmost no evidence” that “the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni.” And on the April 1, 2003, broadcast of WHYY’s Fresh Air, Kristol said, “There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.”
Kristol began working for Fox News as a political commentator in 1996, and he continues to serve as a regular contributor to the network.
Hayes repeatedly advanced falsehood that Al Qaeda and Iraq were linked. Media Mattershas identified instances in which Hayes advanced falsehoods and distortions to defend attempts by Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration to link Al Qaeda and Iraq. For example, on the December 9, 2005, edition of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Hayes defended Cheney’s December 2001 claim that 9-11 hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. According to Hayes: “If you look at the front page of The New York Times in the days surrounding the vice president’s claim, The New York Times was actually reporting the same thing.” But as Media Matters noted, even after the Times and numerous other news outlets subsequently reported in May 2002 that the FBI and CIA “had firmly concluded that no meeting had occured,” Cheney continued to raise the possibility that such a meeting took place.
Hayes “has made a career out of pretending Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league.”Hayes has repeatedly claimed on TV, in The Weekly Standard, and in his book The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, that Iraq was connected to Al Qaeda. Spencer Ackerman wrote that Hayes “has made a career out of pretending Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league to attack the United States”:
Hayes, in the Standard, has made a career out of pretending Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league to attack the United States. He published a book – tellingly wafer-thin and with large type in its hardcover edition – called “The Connection.” One infamous piece even suggested that Saddam might have aided the 9/11 attack. Hayes can be relied on to provide a farrago of speciousness every time new information emerges refuting his deceptive thesis. Unsurprisingly, [former Vice President Dick] Cheney has repeatedly praised Hayes’s work, telling Fox News, “I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections.”
Pentagon called Hayes’ assertion that “a top secret U.S. government memorandum” concluded that Saddam and bin Laden had an “operational relationship” “inaccurate.”In an article in The Weekly Standard‘s November 24, 2003, issue, Hayes asserted that “a top secret U.S. government memorandum” — which Hayes identified as a memorandum produced by former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith — concluded that Saddam and bin Laden “had an operational relationship.” Hayes wrote of the memo: “Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources.” In a January 9, 2004, interview with Denver’sRocky Mountain News, Cheney cited Hayes’ article, claiming that “[i]t goes through and lays out in some detail, based on an assessment that was done by the Department of Defense and was forwarded to the Senate Intelligence Committee some weeks ago.” Cheney added: “That’s your best source of information.” Following the publication of Hayes’ article, the Pentagon released a statement asserting that “[n]ews reports” about the memo “are inaccurate” and that the portion of the memo to which Hayes’ article referred “was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.”
Hayes is a regular Fox News contributor, who often appears as a panelist on Fox News’ Special Report.
Miller’s series of articles on the now-debunked claim that Saddam had WMDs forced NY Times to apologize for its coverage. As Franklin Foer wrote for New York magazine:
During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein’s ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by [Ahmad Chalabi] and his allies — almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.
Indeed, although the Times did not identify Miller by name, it did publish an editor’s note in May 2004 apologizing for its coverage of the existence of WMDs in Iraq, particularly articles based on the assertions of Chalabi and other Iraqi defectors:
But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.
The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on “regime change” in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.) Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations — in particular, this one.
Judith Miller now appears regularly as a Fox News contributor, including frequent appearances to offer media criticism on Fox’s Fox News Watch.
Bolton: “The existence of Iraq’s [biological weapons] program is beyond dispute.”According to a November 20, 2001, Washington Post article (accessed via Nexis), Bolton — then the Bush administration’s undersecretary for arms control and international security — said at a biological weapons conference: “The United States strongly suspects that Iraq has taken advantage of three years of no U.N. inspections to improve all phases of its offensive biological weapons program. … The existence of Iraq’s program is beyond dispute.” From the Post:
John Bolton, undersecretary for arms control and international security, speaking at a biological weapons conference in Geneva on Monday, said the existence of a germ-warfare program in Iraq is “beyond dispute” and added that the United States strongly suspects North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and Sudan of pursuing such weapons.
“The United States strongly suspects that Iraq has taken advantage of three years of no U.N. inspections to improve all phases of its offensive biological weapons program,” Bolton said. “The existence of Iraq’s program is beyond dispute.”
Bolton’s comments come in the context of stepped-up U.S. anxiety about biological weapons and the willingness of America’s foes to use them. Many members of the Bush administration favor making Iraq the next target in the U.S. war on terrorism, alleging that one of the key hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks met with Iraqi intelligence agents and that Saddam has the means and willingness to launch an attack on the United States.
“Beyond al-Qaeda, the most serious concern is Iraq,” Bolton said. “Iraq’s biological-weapons program remains a serious threat to international security.”
Bolton: “We have very convincing evidence that Iraq maintains an extensive program for the production … of weapons of mass destruction.” The Chicago Tribune reported on January 25, 2003, (accessed via Nexis) that Bolton said “that the United States has evidence of Iraq’s maintenance of weapons of mass destruction that will be disclosed at an ‘appropriate time.’ ” The Tribune further reported that Bolton said, “We have very convincing evidence that Iraq maintains an extensive program for the production … of weapons of mass destruction.”
Bolton is currently a Fox News contributor, as well as a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
Gingrich in 2001: “We know today that Saddam Hussein is willing to accept any level of sanctions to keep his program for weapons of mass destruction running.” In November 2001, Gingrich asserted that Iraq had a WMDs program, writing, “We know today that Saddam Hussein is willing to accept any level of sanctions to keep his program for weapons of mass destruction running.” He further wrote:
We are a serious nation, and the message should be simple if this is to be a serious war: Saddam will stop his efforts and close down all programs to create weapons of mass destruction. He will expel all terrorists from Iraqi soil, or we will substitute a new government in Iraq. We must insist on change, because we now have vivid proof in New York and Washington of the future if we do not.
Gingrich: “[W]e have a real obligation to take Iraq head on, because in the end, that’s one of the centers of really big danger in terms of nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare.” On the December 5, 2001, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes (accessed via Nexis), Gingrich stated: “I do believe in the next 60 days we have a real obligation to take Iraq head on, because in the end, that’s one of the centers of really big danger in terms of nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare.” From Hannity & Colmes:
GINGRICH: No, it’s not a cowboy-type attitude. It’s a direct attitude of a powerful country saying that in the first place, I believe that in the end the regime of Saddam Hussein cannot survive, that these are people who — Saddam Hussein is trying to get nuclear weapons, he’s trying to get biological weapons, he’s trying to get chemical weapons. The president himself has said this man is very evil and very dangerous. President Clinton said he was evil and dangerous. Former secretary of state Albright described him as being like Hitler.
Now, there’s a point here when I think you ought to take these things seriously. I think it ought to be the policy of the American government to help the Iraqi people replace the current dictatorship with a government that is more interested in economic trade than in weapons of mass destruction.
So whether Iraq wants to start the fight or whether we go and deliver an ultimatum, I do believe in the next 60 days we have a real obligation to take Iraq head on, because in the end, that’s one of the centers of really big danger in terms of nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare.
Gingrich: “I think history will record that a remarkably strong president happened to be in office at a juncture where weapons of mass destruction and terrorism rewrote all the rules of engagement in international relations.” A March 9, 2003, Washington Post article (accessed via Nexis) reported:
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a student of history, maintained that Bush’s apparent serenity on the eve of a world-reordering war is part of his managerial style.
“When he was a younger man and owner of a baseball team [the Texas Rangers], he picked the manager and coaches and then sat in the stands,” Gingrich said.
But Gingrich said the hesitation in stating the full extent of Bush’s world vision is “confusing” foreign countries. “The most powerful nation in the world must be understandable, not merely formidable,” he said. And what Bush needs to convey to the world is how much bigger than Iraq the coming war will be.
“I think history will record that a remarkably strong president happened to be in office at a juncture where weapons of mass destruction and terrorism rewrote all the rules of engagement in international relations,” Gingrich said. “It will record that the president moved beyond old institutions and developed a new set of alliances.”
Gingrich has been a political contributor to Fox News since 1999.
Morris: “[T]he key, let us all remember, is to attack Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein before he acquires weapons of mass destruction.” In an April 17, 2002, column in The Hill(accessed via Nexis), Morris wrote: “The Arab nations demand U.S. action partially to achieve their own ends vis-a-vis Israel, but also precisely to ensnare the United States before it can move against Iraq. They are masters at the game of sucking you into the desert and running you around with shuttle diplomacy until you drop. All the while, Saddam Hussein’s scientists build his bomb. The clock is running. Will the United States act before Iraq completes its deadly work?” He further stated: “[T]he key, let us all remember, is to attack Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein before he acquires weapons of mass destruction. This will likely involve a large mobilization of American might and the deployment of several hundred thousand American troops.”
Morris suggested Iraq was “developing an atomic bomb [that] they’re going to use against us or Israel.” On the July 25, 2002, edition of Fox News’ The Big Story (accessed via Nexis), Morris advocated for war in Iraq, suggesting that the United States would find “laboratories for enriching uranium” and stating of Bush, “It’s very clear he’s made the case” to invade Iraq. From The Big Story:
JOHN GIBSON (host): [Bush] has had the — a notion has been put forward that he has to take care of other things first. Has to be a Middle East peace, the economy has to get back in shape. Should he say, We’ll work on those things, but I’ve got to go ahead with this other thing?
MORRIS: Yes, he should. And those things are really both for — both false. The notion that he has to solve a 50-year-old problem in the Middle East before he can stop somebody from developing an atomic bomb they’re going to use against us or Israel is ludicrous. It’s put there by the moderate Arab countries to try to stop him from ever doing anything.
And I can’t think of anything better for the stock market than to get it the heck off the A-section of the newspaper and back in the C-section where it belongs. If there were just negative earnings reports and stuff, the market wouldn’t be going this crazy.
It’s that — it’s — it’s even pushed the Roman Catholic priest scandal off the front pages.
And the point is, we have only one front page in every newspaper at any given time. And if it’s all going to be about Iraq, it’s not going to be about the stock market, which will help the market.
GIBSON: Oh, yes, but are you saying that to — that the president should — that the president can say, Look, I’m going to start this thing now, I’m going to start this campaign, I’m going to move troops, we’re going to get going, and that he, he can set aside the, the grumbling, the mumbling that he is starting a war to save his political problems?
MORRIS: Yes, sure he can, because no Democrat is going to dare say that. If some Democrat gets out there and says, You’re starting this war because of the election, he’ll kill them. He’ll say, I’m starting the war. When this guy used poison gas and when I invade him, I’ll find five laboratories for enriching uranium.
Look, if George Bush announced on Labor Day, Hey, I’ve made a discovery, Uganda is developing weapons of mass destruction and we’re going to attack it, OK, that’s wagging the dog. But this guy has been talking about Iraq for a year now. Eighty-five percent of the country wants him to invade. It’s very clear he’s made the case. What he’s done so far is procrastinate, for two reasons.
Legitimately, he felt he wanted to do some work in Israel and world opinion. But the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) — illegitimately. But legitimately, it was that you don’t fight a war in the desert in the summer. It’s hot, particularly in those chemical uniforms. You ever been in one of them? It’s hot.
And the point is, you fight a war in the winter in the desert. Duh? January and February. And it takes you about six months to do the troop buildup, so it starts in September.
Morris: “Once our guys go in there, and women go in there, they’re going to find weapons and labs that 80 inspectors can’t find, but 100,000 soldiers can.” On December 8, 2002, edition Fox News’ Fox Wire (accessed via Nexis), Morris said: “Seventy-nine percent of the American people think Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Sixty-two percent think he’s planning to use it on us. And Bush is the judge and the jury. Once our guys go in there, and women go in there, they’re going to find weapons and labs that 80 inspectors can’t find, but 100,000 soldiers can.” He further stated that “if I were Bush, what I would do right now is I would say, look. You’re lying. You’re lying through your teeth. And unless you tell the truth by January 1, I’m going to attack on January 2.” Later during the segment, Morris said that Saddam is “a bad guy that wants to get nuclear weapons. He’s a bad guy that has chemical and biological weapons. And he is fully as much of a threat as al Qaeda is.”
Morris ridiculed Democrats who wanted “more evidence” of WMDs, saying if “we find out after we’ve gone in there” that Iraq “was three months away from an atom bomb,” Democrats “can forget about 2004.” On the January 28, 2003, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor (accessed via Nexis), Morris stated that “once we win in Iraq, the Europeans will be lining up to the Mediterranean to be part of that peacekeeping force.” He further stated that ” the Democratic Party is telling the United States, wait, get more evidence. Get more information. And we find out after we’ve gone in there that this guy was three months away from an atomic bomb, the Democratic Party can forget about 2004.”
Morris: “I honestly believe that if you had 5,000 or 10,000 dead in this war, the American people would say, well, it just shows he had weapons of mass destruction, it just shows how important this was.” On the March 31, 2003, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes asked Morris, “What is the number allowable, because that’s the word that’s used, casualties, before you think there is a greater dissent on the part of the American public?” Morris responded: “I honestly believe, Alan, that there is no ceiling. I honestly believe that if you had 5,000 or 10,000 dead in this war, the American people would say, well, it just shows he had weapons of mass destruction, it just shows how important this was.” He later stated, “I think the American people have endless patience with this thing.” From Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: What is the number allowable, because that’s the word that’s used, casualties, before you think there is a greater dissent on the part of the American public?
MORRIS: I honestly believe, Alan, that there is no ceiling. I honestly believe that if you had 5,000 or 10,000 dead in this war, the American people would say, well, it just shows he had weapons of mass destruction, it just shows how important this was.
This is a defensive war. The American people feel that we are being threatened, and this isn’t like Bosnia or Kosovo, where we’re doing it for the good of the world. We are, but we’re also doing it to defend ourselves.
And I think the American people have endless patience with this thing.
In May 2003, Morris stated that “we won the war” in Iraq. On the May 28, 2003, edition ofHannity & Colmes (accessed via Nexis), Morris stated: “[W]e removed this enormous cause of destabilization in removing Saddam. The Iraqis have moved. The Syrians have moved. The Saudis are cooperating in this investigation in a way they didn’t in Khobar Towers. Yasser Arafat is out on his butt and Abbas is now in charge. And all of that, coincidentally, happened after we won the war.”
Morris serves as a political analyst for Fox News.
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