Former Sen. Fred Thompson has regularly fearmongered about terrorist threats. In June, he warned that undocumented immigration could lead to “suitcase bombs” from Cuba and alleged that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) call to redeploy from Iraq was “encouraging our enemies.”
Taking his fearmongering to new heights, yesterday on Hannity and Colmes, Thompson claimed that withdrawal from Iraq would lead to “the whole” Middle East going “nuclear”:
If we leave [Iraq] under bad circumstances, we’re going to have a haven down there for terrorists. The whole area, I’m afraid, will become nuclearized. The Sunni countries are looking at what Iran is doing. And if we can’t help with stability in that part of the world, they’re going to help themselves, and they’re going to go nuclear.
Thompson added al Qaeda was actively seeking nuclear weapons as reason to stay in Iraq. “We have al Qaeda out there we know trying to get nuclear weapons,” he claimed. “We have 40 countries that have fissile material that could make a bomb.”
Thompson’s fearmongering is reminiscent of the Bush administration’s pre-war attempts to conflate weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein, and al Qaeda into one. In his State of the Union address in 2003, two months prior to the invasion, President Bush declared:
Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.
In reality, al Qaeda never chased the nuclear weapons that Hussein didn’t have. The U.S. presence in Iraq is fueling al Qaeda’s growth, not preventing it.