Al Franken: Duelfer Report Said Iraq's WMD "Were Destroyed by President Clinton"

December 9th, 2005 12:47 AM

On the December 7, 2005, broadcast of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, guest Al Franken claimed that Saddam's WMD "were destroyed by President Clinton" in 1998 and asserted that "the Duelfer Report said that very thing."

The Truth? The Duelfer Report says no such thing. There's no such basis for Franken's claims.

In fact, this is what the Duelfer Report (.pdf file) said in part about President's Clinton's 1998 strikes, called Operation Desert Fox (emphasis mine):

“UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors departed Iraq just before the bombing and never returned. The Iraqis were satisfied with the outcome. They said, given a choice of sanctions with inspections or sanctions without inspections, they would prefer without." (Vol. 1, p. 11)

Later, with the inspectors gone (emphasis mine):

“By 2000, the erosion of sanctions accelerated ... Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem ... Major items had no trouble getting across the border ... Indeed, Iraq was designing missile systems with the assumption that sanctioned material would be readily available.”

Also, here is what Bill Tierney, an UNSCOM inspector in Iraq from 1996-1998, said in a recent, eye-opening interview in FrontPageMag about Operation Desert Fox (emphasis mine):

"Operation Desert Fox was a perfect example of the uselessness of strike operations. Iraqis have told me that the WMD destruction and movement started just after Operation Desert Fox, since after all, who would be so stupid as to start a bombing campaign and just stop.
"... It was only after Saddam realized that President Clinton lacked the nerve for anything more than a temper-tantrum demonstration that he knew the doors were wide open for him to continue his weapons program. We didn’t break his will, we didn’t destroy his weapons making capability (The Iraqis simply moved most of the precision machinery out prior to the strikes, then rebuilt the buildings), but we did kill some Iraqi bystanders, just so President Clinton could say 'something must be done, so I did something'."

From the December 7, 2005, Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: ... Even Saddam Hussein said in 1998, I have got weapons of mass destruction. So...

FRANKEN: And, in 1998, he did have weapons of mass destruction ... And after we bombed them, they didn't.

SCARBOROUGH: Where did they go? Where did they go?

FRANKEN: They were destroyed by President Clinton.


SCARBOROUGH: Al, are you really suggesting—listen, no serious person could step forward and say...

FRANKEN: No—the Duelfer report said that very thing.


SCARBOROUGH: ... So, you are telling America tonight that the president‘s weapons of mass destruction, that the president‘s attack in ‘98 destroyed all of Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction?

FRANKEN: Remaining weapons of mass destruction. That's exactly what the Duelfer report said. That's what the president's own weapons inspectors said, that those destroyed the remainder of ...

Franken's bogus claims are quite similar to an assertion recently made by Fox News' Alan Colmes, which was catalogued in this December 2, 2005, post.

[By the way, for the real truth on Al Franken's new book (ironically entitled) The Truth, check out! (by this author)]

HT: Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer.