Can Sean Hannity and Rick Santorum and all the others who continue to claim that Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq now just stop perpetuating that lie? NewsHounds has the story about how last night on Hannity and Colmes, Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) were waving around a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, claiming that the United States had found 500 chemical weapons of mass destruction and were using that news as a justification for the Iraq invasion and occupation. Apparently, FOX News is standing behind Santorum’s claim, even though these are definitely not the supposed WMD’s that Rumsfeld & Co. claimed were there (and they knew where these WMDs were, remember). Interestingly enough, the article at FOX also quotes a senior Defense Department official who said that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.
“This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991,” the official said, adding the munitions “are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war.”
When challenged with this quote by Alan Colmes, Santorum, apparently unfazed, shot back, “I’d like to know who at the Defense Department said that,” and later repeated this question. He just doesn’t get it, does he? Fortunately for the American public, he’s not quite as slick as Hannity and Limbaugh at cherrypicking lines from news reports to use in extremely manipulative and misleading ways.
Here’s a bit more from the FOX News article:
Santorum pointed out that during Wednesday’s debate, several Senate Democrats said that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, a claim, he said, that the declassified document proves is untrue.
“This is an incredibly ??? in my mind ??? significant finding. The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, is in fact false,” he said.
As a result of this new information, under the aegis of his chairmanship, Hoekstra said he is going to ask for more reporting by the various intelligence agencies about weapons of mass destruction.
That last bit kills me… “As a result of this new information, I’m going to ask for more reporting by the various intelligence agencies about weapons of mass destruction.”
Hoekstra: (knocks on door at CIA)
Potentially anonymous CIA Agent: (door creaks open) Um, yeah? Can I help you?
Hoekstra: I have a report here with recently declassified information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Posibbly anonymous CIA Agent: OK, yeah, I’ve seen that. What about it?
Hoekstra: I’d like to ask for more reporting about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
CIA Agent whose name could be leaked any day: (stares blankly)
CIA Agent whose name could, even now, be making the rounds at the White House: yeah, i’m listening… Um, what was that again?
Hoekstra: I want to know more about these weapons of mass destruction that are mentioned here.
CIA Agent whose name could be in Dick Cheney’s lips as I type this: Did you actually read the report?
Hoekstra: I skimmed it.
Irritated CIA Agent whose name could be in Dick Cheney’s lips as I type this: OK, well why don’t you go back to your… (looks around) … wherever it was you came from and read the whole thing, and really, that’s all there is to know.
Hoekstra: How come only FOX News has the courage to be reporting that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq?
Irritated CIA Agent whose name may be known by the NY Times right now: Um, because if you’ll read the report, the only WMDs that were found were the ones Rummy gave Saddam in the 80s and they were all accounted for in 1991 when they were basically destroyed?
Hoekstra: You liberal little cherrypicking–
Irritated CIA Agent whose name may be on the presses at the NY Times at this very moment: Wait a minute… why are you asking me this anyway? This is a Department of Defense report… Why don’t you go bug them??!
Hoekstra: (pause, blank stare)
Irritated CIA Agent whose is probably outed now: (waiting)
Hoekstra: OK… (walks off)
I have been waiting for a transcript from the show to be available on the Hannity and Colmes website, but it is not forthcoming. Also, Sean Hannity called in sick to his show today. NewsHounds notes that “Almost the entire hour of Hannity & Colmes last night (6/21/06) was devoted to this ‘discovery’ despite the fact that FOX News’ own Jim Angle had already reported that the Bush administration said the weapons were not in useable condition. Hmm… When are Weapons of Mass Destruction not really Weapons of Mass Destruction? Perhaps when they can’t be used to kill anyone? Santorum and Hannity were clearly lying and misleading the Hannity and Colmes audience by claiming that “WE FOUND THEM!!!”
This article at Think Progress points out the following statement from the Department of Defense:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.
So here we have a supposed “news” host and two guests who are relying on some elusive document to claim that WMDs did really exist in Iraq, and they’re the ones for which we went to war, and we have a network standing behind this “document” and the people (Hannity and Santorum) reporting the news.
All this only a couple days after Dan Rather was pushed out of CBS for reporting a story using documents that were later discovered to be forgeries. Nevermind that in that case, at least the content of the doucments was actually accurate.