There was a great little fit of contradiction the past couple of days in Washington, over the still-lingering yet oft-discredited claim that Iraq and al-Qaeda were inextricably linked, and that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. Vice President Dick Halliburton has usually been the main carnival barker for this nonsense, and he reasserted it
"He was a patron of terrorism," Cheney said of Hussein during a speech before The James Madison Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Florida. "He had long established ties with al Qaida."
The vice president on Monday offered no details backing up his claim of a link between Saddam and al Qaida.
I like that even the AP's bullshit detector goes off in that last paragraph. As well it should have, because the next day, the 9/11 Commission, who, you know, HAVE details about this kind of thing, put the smackdown
on Trickier Dick:
"We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," one of the staff reports released on Wednesday said. "Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." The report said that despite evidence of repeated contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 90's, "they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."
FBI and CIA later concurred with this finding. That oughta get the Administration into a fit of contrition, no? After all, they've said that they respect the 9/11 Commission and will look forward to its findings, right? They wouldn't pick a fight with them, would they?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney, who took the lead in pushing the idea of long-standing links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, has no intention of backing down despite a finding to the contrary by the Sept. 11 commission, aides said on Wednesday.
"The administration's statements rest on a solid foundation of history and facts. The record of links between Iraq and al Qaeda is clear to anyone who has open eyes and an open mind," a White House official said on Wednesday.
"Hell no!" another administration official said when asked if Cheney would retract his statements...
Good to see the tone changing in Washington. And then, look at this bit of two-step logic:
Officials said Cheney asserted on Monday that there were links between Saddam and al Qaeda, not that Saddam helped al Qaeda carry out attacks against the United States... "It's not surprising people make that connection," Cheney said at one point as polls showed most Americans believed Iraq was involved.
Yeah, I guess it's not surprising, considering the top leaders in government have been all but saying it for 3 years! Somehow you're hiding behind this filmsy technicality that you never actually said Saddam was responsible for 9/11, while ignoring the 250 times you put the words "Saddam" and "9/11" in the same sentence! Yeah, I wonder how people got that impression!
Another way Mr. Halliburton has been ducking this is by the ludicrous argument of "they said it too," which doesn't absolve the lie, it just means that the whole government is full of liars:
Administration officials also disputed suggestions that Cheney was the most outspoken official about the links.
To make that case, his office provided reporters with a list of U.S. officials and lawmakers who made similar statements about Saddam's alleged ties to al Qaeda.
The list compiled by the vice president's office included outgoing CIA Director George Tenet, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat and former first lady.
So, the entire Administration, and one Democratic senator. Of course, they had to throw Hillary in there, to give the appearance of equanimity. But look at the quote they give to prove this:
Sen. Clinton was quoted as saying: "He (Saddam) has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members," according to the list compiled by Cheney's office.
Information I'm guessing she got from George Tenet's intelligence reports, which Cheney made sure to pore over obsessively (making dozens of visits to CIA at the time), or from the Rumsfeld-headed Office of Special Plans, who did their own independent intelligence work at the time. So basically you're saying, "See, Hillary said it too, she said the stuff we told her, that means we were right!"
Even the President is refusing to deny
this completely discredited claim, using similar logical leaps:
"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," Bush told reporters after a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
Asked about the commission's findings on an Iraq-al Qaeda link, Bush said, "This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in the Sudan."
Well, that's not true, actually. Because if you read the original letter
from Bush to the Congress at the dawn of the war, Bush claims that invading Iraq is permitted under American law because:
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
So, yes, you did say Saddam was linked to 9/11. You said it to Congress. You used it as a justification for this war. You said it. You said it. You said it. Stop lying.
John Kerry, do you have my phone numbr so I can tell you about this shit?