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Dole Falsely Claims That Saddam ‘Had In His Focus The Preparation of Nuclear Weapons’

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) — echoing Condoleeza Rice’s justification for the war — said that Saddam Hussein was “a madman who had in his focus the preparation of nuclear weapons.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/11/dole.320.240.flv]

Contrary to Dole’s claim, Saddam was not focusing on “the preparation of nuclear weapons” at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and hadn’t been for more than a dozen years. He also had no capability to restart the program. From the Duelfer report:

Saddam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program. … Although Saddam clearly assigned a high value to the nuclear progress and talent that had been developed up to the 1991 war, the program ended and the intellectual capital decayed in the succeeding years.

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Transcript:

RUSSERT: Do you think this will have an effect on the election, Sen. Dole?

DOLE: I think this shows the Iraqis are putting their past behind them, the establishment of the rule of law. I feel this will mean they are moving forward. Certainly a madman who had in his focus the preparation of nuclear weapons. This will, I think, be received as the right thing and I don’t expect that it’s going to have that much effect one way or the other.