Fact Checking the Republicans II: Romney Rewrites History on Iraq Inspections

Factcheck.org found a number of errors during the last Republican debate, with this being the second post in which I’m quoteing them as verifying posts I’ve written since the debate. Romney has rewritten history with regards to the weapons inspections prior to the war:
Romney Rewrites History

Romney tried to pin the blame for the Iraq war on Saddam Hussein’s refusal to allow weapons inspections.

Romney: [I]f you’re saying let’s turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein, therefore, not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

Romney is not alone in playing loose with the facts about weapons inspections. On at least three occasions, President Bush has made the same claim. The first, on July 14, 2003:

Bush: The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

A few months later, Bush reiterated the claim. And on the third anniversary of the war, he said:

Bush: [W]e worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

That the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency was not permitted to make inspections might come as a bit of a surprise to Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, who reported on March 17, 2003, that “late last night…I was advised by the United States government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad.” Inspectors had been in Iraq since November 2002. They remained until U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered their evacuation on March 17, 2003, just three days before U.S. and British troops invaded Iraq.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    bjalder26 says:

    Who said inspectors were obstructed before Bush? Oh yea, Scott Ritter chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998

    Wikipedia:

    In 1999, Ritter wrote Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem – Once and For All in which he reiterated his claim that Iraq had obstructed the work of inspectors and attempted to hide and preserve essential elements for restarting WMD programs at a later date.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    That misses the point and is irrelevant to what is being discussed. The inspectors were back in before Bush went to war, contrary to what Romney said in the debate.

    If you are so interested in quoting Scott Ritter, why not quote something more relevant, such as his many criticisms of Bush for going to war?

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