Question: Iraq

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A variety of experts and lawmakers have agreed to disagree on FOX News Channel about Iraq. Included below is a fair and balanced sampling of views on the benefits and consequences of action against Hussein’s rule. You decide.

Does Saddam Have Weapons of Mass Destruction?


"Saddam has advanced chemical weapons, he has advanced biological weapons, and he is producing engineered biological weapons, which contain combinations of viruses such as smallpox and Ebola. I think, in his hands, he's bound to use them in a terrorist action very soon." Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi National Congress August 05, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow

"How far away is he from having a bomb? Two to three years.  He has the chemical weapons deposit. So the idea is to take [the chemical repositories] out ahead of time." Khidhir Hamza, Former Director of Iraq's Nuclear Program August 02, 2002 on the Big Story w/ John Gibson

Not Sure

"The most dangerous thing I can tell you, what bothers me the most, is that I don't know and neither does anybody else. And that's why we need to get in there and find out as soon as possible. He was headed that way. He wants to do this. He's going to do this." Rep. Porter Goss, Intelligence Committee Chairman September 22, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow

" No one knows how close Saddam Hussein is to a crude nuclear device...We feel now that Saddam Hussein has just a residual capacity, operational capacity to launch missiles." Ehud Barak, Former Israeli Prime Minister September 25, 2002 on Your World w/ Neil Cavuto

No, No Delivery System

" While we are concerned that he does have a lot of raw agent or precursors, things that make these agents, he has a very limited capability to deliver them.The way you deliver chemical or biological weapons are by missile or by airplane, and even the most alarming estimates suggest he might have at most a dozen, maybe 20 short-range Scud missiles that could reach Israel, Saudi Arabia, but nothing that could hit the United States." Jon Wolfsthal, an associate of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace September 3, 2002 on The Big Story w/ John Gibson

" He [Khidhir Hamza] was before my committee today and he was discredited...the reaction to him was that he does not have recent experience in what is going on in Iraq and the experts who do say a nuclear weapon is much further away than what he has said." Rep. Jan Schakowsky September 24, 2002 on Hannity and Colmes.

" Probably don't produce weapons of mass destruction by pulling them out of a black hat...there is infrastructure that is required. Iraq would have to reconstitute this infrastructure, and as a 12-year veteran of intelligence services who knows what the capabilities are, we would be able to detect this." Scott Ritter, former U.N. Weapons Inspector September 12, 2002 on The O'Reilly Factor

On Timing

Now is the Hour

“Waiting to be attacked in a Pearl Harbor like attack where several thousand people were killed, results in several thousand people being killed.  Waiting to be attacked by someone who has been developing and has used weapons of mass destruction where you're looking at risking not several thousand people, but potentially several tens of thousands of people or hundreds of thousands of people, is quite a different thing. The people who argue have to ask themselves how they're going to feel at that point where another event occurs. And it's not a conventional event, but it's an unconventional event, and ask themselves the question, was it right to have wanted additional evidence or additional time or another U.N. resolution?” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld  August 20, 2002 on Special Report w/ Brit Hume

" Well the real question is, why should you wait to attack later? This has been a long history now with Iraq, of defiance since 1998, and we believe given the growing threat, given the vivid images from September 11th, we think it's best to act sooner, not later." Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor September 15, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow.

" I believe that those who propose to wait might find themselves contributing to a major mistake. Once you have a nuclear Iraq it will be a totally different ballgame. You can't wait under this situation, there is an urgent need to act against him." Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak September 25, 2002 on Your World w/ Neil Cavuto

We Need More Evidence

"Unless the president can make a very compelling case that Saddam Hussein has his finger on a weapon of mass destruction, and is about ready to use it, I do not think this is the time … there may come a time. I don't think this is it." Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger  August 19, 2002 on Special Report w/Brit Hume

"We may very well find ourselves where there's real chaos. You may find the Kurds at war with the Turks. You may find the Shi'ahs in the south and the Iranians crossing the border. You may find yourself, as they say, in a world of hurt. And we better figure it out before we walk in there." Sen. Joseph Biden, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee July 21, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow.

“My concern is that Saddam Hussein has sleepers in our country with weapons of mass destruction. And upon his order they could be released when the first bomb drops on his bunker and takes him out. We've got to get the home front squared away. The risk is not worth the gain.  We're not ready for weapons of mass destruction…The wise general only attacks when he can win,” Col. David Hackworth (Ret.), U.S. Army August 20, 2002 on The O'Reilly Factor

On Diplomacy 

“My fellow Germans want to be 100 percent sure that what they might participate in would be legal beyond a reasonable doubt. For us, the legitimacy of our action is all the more important in light of Germany's past. Have all other means been exhausted? What are the regional and strategic implications of our action? Are we sure there are no better alternatives to military action? We do share the view that the Iraqi regime must not have weapons of mass destruction. But we are still far from certain that the only, or the best, way to prevent this is to use military force,”  German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger  August 9, 2002 for FNC's Balance Sheet

" I think before we put our young people in harm's way, we should exhaust every diplomatic remedy...If we go in, we'll show our power. If we stay out, we may show our strength," Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Select Intelligence Committee September 10, 2002 on The O'Reilly Factor.

" Can I ask you to consider two documents? A, the Constitution of the United States of America. And in the Constitution it clearly states that when the United States enters into international agreements, those international agreements have the weight of law in the United States. One such agreement is the United Nations charter, of which we are signatories, which clearly sets forth those conditions under which nations may go to war," Scott Ritter, Former U.N. Weapons Inspector September 12, 2002 on The O'Reilly Factor.

" The President did not convince me that the United States alone should invade Iraq, lose focus and the coalition that we have built to fight terrorism and do something that this country has never done before; and that is, taken a preemptive strike which sets, I think, a terrible international precedent which says that any country in the world that wants to go to war for any reason has the right to do that," Rep. Bernie Sanders September 12, 2002 on Your World w/ Neil Cavuto

On Inspections

They'll Do the Trick

The U.N. inspection process worked well but didn't get a chance to finish the job. In fact, if you look at the record, U.N. inspectors destroyed more chemical and biological weapons than the U.S. military did during the Gulf War,"  Jon Wolfsthal, an associate of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace September 3, 2002 on The Big Story w/ John Gibson

“We need to force him to allow the inspectors back in. We need to exhaust every possible option. And we can't take the war option and put it out front. It's too risky. There are too many lives at stake. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. And it may not achieve the objective … The inspectors did more damage to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program than all the bombing, including the Gulf War, combined,” Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Foreign Affairs Advisor August 13, 2002 on The O'Reilly Factor

They Need Reforms

The issue is not inspectors or inspections. That is a tool. It is a means, a first step. But disarmament is the issue. And we believe that a regime change is the surest way to make sure that it's disarmed. They [inspectors] did quite a bit of good work, but we also discovered that once defectors came out, they told us more information that the inspectors had never found. The incentive he [Saddam] has is to come into compliance and perhaps start to lead his country in a new direction. We don't believe that he is the person to lead his country in a new direction. We think the best way to acheive the disarmament that everybody has been looking for is with a new regime," Secretary of State Colin Powell September 8, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow. 

" What is much more difficult for them to do is to go after hidden covert facilities. If you want them to do that, the way that it's constituted at the present moment, both legally and's not going to be able to do that. You have to change the types of inspections you're going to do if you want to find hidden nuclear weapon capability," Tim McCarthy, Former U.N. Weapons Inspector September 13, 2002 on The Big Story w/ John Gibson

" It's impossible to search a whole country. You need Iraq to state what it's doing and then test to see if it's true. What you need is to have a clear definition of what compliance is. If you find inconsistencies in their statements or if they don't let you into a building, that's non-compliant. It's very important the Security Council make sure they redefine or reassert the rights of the inspectors and insist that they do an aggressive job," David Albright, former U.N. Weapons Inspector September 18, 2002 on Special Report w/ Brit Hume.

" I think if one relied on the old style of inspections, of the cat and mouse inspections to provide any form of confidence that Iraq had gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction, then you're absolutely right. The best it can do is provide false confidence, which is potentially very dangerous," Tim Trevan, Former UNSCOM Strategist September 24, 2002 on Special Report w/ Brit Hume.

Does Saddam Have Links to Al Qaeda?


" What might happen, and even if there's a 10 percent or 15 percent chance, I think it's unnacceptable...He might allow the weapons to fall into the hands of these terrorists groups who are suicidal and would use them against us. And that is why we have to be very, very concerned. The existence of weapons of mass destruction on the one, and terrorist organizations perfectly willing to use them on the other," Sen. Evan Bayh September 11, 2002 on The Big Story w/ John Gibson. 

" Yes, there are Al Qaeda terrorists on his soil," Rep Porter Goss, Intelligence Committee Chairman Sept 22, 2002 on FOX News Sunday w/ Tony Snow.

" There is some evidence that there have been various meetings concerning Iraqi personnel and Al Qaeda personnel, " Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor September 15, 2002 on FOX News Sunday.

" The issue is does he [the President] have any evidence that Saddam will give the stuff to Al Qaeda or anybody else. But the real issue is, does he have any evidence that Saddam will not do that? If we allow Saddam to develop these weapons, then we are leaving that entire lift at his discretion, and frankly I don't trust Saddam, " While America Sleeps author Fred Kagan September 27, 2002 on Special Report w/ Brit Hume.


" The case has not been made. In fact, there's evidence that Usama bin Laden who is a fundamentalist, does not like Saddam Hussein as a secularist. I think the guy that most wants a United States invasion of Iraq is Usama bin Laden. He wants the United States to appear to be at war with the entire Muslim world. And I don't think we should give him that," Rep. Bernie Sanders September 12, 2002 on Your World w/ Neil Cavuto.

Your Turn

We want to know what you think. Is NOW the time to send troops into Iraq? Email us at Please include your name and town, so we can post some of your responses. Be sure to check back!