News Release

Rubio’s New Generation of Iraq War Lies

AP_bush_rubio_2_kab_150616_4x3_992-1In his speech following the South Carolina primary, Marco Rubio said: “This country is now ready for a new generation of conservatives to guide us into the 21st century.”

At the last Republican debate, he attempted to justify George W. Bush invading Iraq: “No matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of UN resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn’t do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.”

This claim has received virtually no scrutiny.

STEPHEN ZUNES,  zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Zunes said today: “The new generation of Republican leaders appear to be as willing to rewrite history as the older generation. Sen. Marco Rubio’s claim that at the time of the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein was ‘in open violation’ of U.N. resolutions and that the international community refused to act is completely false.

“The Iraqi government had in fact been in full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions regarding the elimination of their chemical and biological weapons, their chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, their long-range missiles, and other proscribed weapons and weapons systems and were allowing United Nations inspectors unfettered access to confirm they had done so. Furthermore, Saddam Hussein’s regime did so not because of any unilateral U.S. initiative, but as a result of a series of unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding disarmament of such offensive military capabilities and full cooperation with inspectors.” Zunes has written extensively about the false claims surrounding the Iraq invasion from both Republicans and Democrats. His most recent piece is “Hillary the Hawk.”