Kristol: Iran Halting Nuclear Weapons Program Is ‘Another Feather In The Cap For Iraq Invasion’

Posted on

"Kristol: Iran Halting Nuclear Weapons Program Is ‘Another Feather In The Cap For Iraq Invasion’"

Today in the Fox News Sunday roundtable, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol claimed that the reason Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in mid-2003 was because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

I believe we invaded a neighboring country in 2003 and removed their dictator and that sent shock waves through the region and at the time people were quite worried. Qaddafi gave up his program, he dismantled his. We took it out. Iran didn’t dismantle anything. That’s why they remain a threat. They halted it, maybe they’ve restarted it, maybe not. This is yet another feather in the cap for the invasion of Iraq.

NPR’s Juan Williams responded by calling Kristol the “iron glove,” asking, “So you want us to start invading everybody everywhere? That’ll stop all nuclear proliferation?” Kristol replied that if it works, it’s “a pretty good thing.” Watch it:

Libya did not give up its nuclear weapons program in 2003 because of the Iraq war. As Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Joseph Cirincione noted, negotiations with Libya stretched “over three administrations,” resulting in a deal that “cost little, caused no deaths, and was 100 percent effective.” At the time, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called the news a “victory for diplomacy.”

Kristol has no proof for his claims. The unclassified key judgments of the NIE never once mention the Iraq invasion. If anything, Iran has been empowered by the Iraq war. As the LA Times noted in 2006:

In the 1980s, Iran spent eight years and thousands of lives waging a war to overthrow Hussein, whose regime buffered the Sunni Muslim-dominated Arab world from Iran. … Now Iraq’s fledgling democracy has placed power in the hands of the nation’s Shiite majority and its Kurdish allies, many of whom lived as exiles in Iran and maintain strong religious, cultural and linguistic ties to it.

Kristol’s remarks mirror those of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also said on Thursday that Iraq was the reason Iran gave up its program. “What big thing happened in 2003?” he asked. “We deposed Saddam Hussein. America showed massive military force in the country right next to Iran called Iraq.”

Transcript:

KRISTOL: Well, if Iran halted the weapons part of its nuclear weapons program in 2003, one has to ask what happened in 2003? Why might they have thought it was a prudent idea to put it on hold for awhile?

I believe we invaded a neighboring country in 2003 and removed their dictator and that sent shock waves through the region and at the time people were quite worried. Qaddafi gave up his program, he dismantled his. We took it out. Iran didn’t dismantle anything. That’s why they remain a threat. They halted it, maybe they’ve restarted it, maybe not. This is yet another feather in the cap for the invasion of Iraq.

WILLIAMS: So you want us to start invading everybody everywhere? That’ll stop all nuclear proliferation?

KRISTOL: If the invasion of Iraq got Qaddafi to give up Libya’s program and got Iran to halt their program, that’s a pretty good thing.

WILLIAMS: You are the iron glove here. You want to beat everybody up. But I think what we are on the verge of here is an opportunity to once again really — I think this is what Robert Kagan said in the column that Chris Wallace mentioned earlier — have direct talks, really help to get this thing started, because from what we know, if they had halted development of any weaponry in 2003, as the report says, well they can’t have anything going before 2010. So that means it’s the next administration that will have to deal with it and this administration — really like Nixon to China — this consideration could be the one to go to Iran and say let’s talk and let’s see what we can work out here between the U.S. and Iran.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.