Yesterday, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly made the incredible claim that the United States never invaded Iraq: “We didn’t invade Iraq.” He added, “It was a declaration of war, it was a declaration to enforce the first Gulf War Treaty.” Watch it:
Despite O’Reilly’s revisionist history, the United States did invade Iraq. The U.S. military forcefully entered the country in order to overthrow that nation’s leader. That’s an invasion. During a 2006 speech, President Bush discussed his administration’s “two major invasions as a part of the war on terror.”
Even O’Reilly himself has, in the past, admitted that the United States invaded Iraq:
– “I’ll submit that most folks still have no idea why the Bush administration invaded Iraq.” [1/28/08]
– “Iraq was invaded to create a friendly country between Iran and Syria, thereby pressuring those nations into a more sensible foreign policy.” [3/6/06]
O’Reilly’s “first Gulf War Treaty” claim is also questionable. During a March 15, 2004 interview, former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix challenged O’Reilly on this exact point:
O’REILLY: [W]e liberate Iraq — liberate Kuwait, all right, and then we have a treaty, and the treaty says U.N. weapons inspectors are allowed to do X, Y, and Z, and 17 times Saddam says — violates those. Now you can understand why the United States government might be a little teed off about that. [...]
O’REILLY: But do you understand that when you have 17 violations of a treaty, a war treaty, that you basically have to take action?
BLIX: Well, you’re talking about a war treaty. It was a cease-fire. It was not a war treaty.
O’REILLY: Oh, come on. Now don’t play semantics here, sir.
BLIX: Second — all right. I’m trying to be precise. You are imprecise.
O’Reilly’s claim is almost as unbelievable as Wolfowitz’s statement earlier this week that the U.S. “occupation [of Iraq] ended in June of 2004.”
BALLENTINE: We are invading Iraq.
O’REILLY: No, we’re not. We didn’t invade Iraq.
BALLENTINE: Did we go through Congress to invade, to go to war?
O’REILLY: Yes, there was a vote in Congress.
BALLENTINE: It was a declaration of war.
O’REILLY: It was a declaration of war, it was a declaration to enforce the first Gulf War Treaty, which you don’t know anything about, Mr. Ballentine.