All this time I’d been giving Sen. Ron Wyden credit for seeing through the lies of the Bush administration about WMD in Iraq. I thought that the reason he’d voted against the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq was because he hadn’t seen any evidence of WMDs (because there weren’t any). What I was having a hard time reconciling was how someone could be aware of that and not speak up about the lack of evidence to justify the claims for the war.
I was wrong. Apparently Wyden did believe that there were WMD in Iraq, even after Hans Blix reported to the United Nations Security Council that his inspectors (UNMOVIC) had not found anything other than a “small number of empty chemical munitions.”
The week before the invasion of Iraq began, Willamette Week posed several questions about Iraq to Oregon’s congressional delegates. When WW asked if Wyden believed Iraq had complied with UN Resolution 1441 (calling for compliance with previous resolutions on disarmament and weapons inspections), this was his reply [emphasis added]:
WYDEN: No. The resolution calls for complete disarmament, and they have not completely disarmed. I think it’s clear that they have VX nerve gas, anthrax and certainly a significant missile capability.
That was nearly a month after Blix’s report to the Security Council stating that UNMOVIC had found no evidence of WMD after eleven weeks of work. So I have to wonder what made it “clear” to Wyden that the non-existent nerve gas and anthrax existed (because they didn’t).
But it explains a lot about why he didn’t put up any significant opposition to the war.