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Wednesday, September 17, 2003  

Oh just impeach him already...

Barely a day goes by lately that Bush or one of his cronies doesn't come out with a big, steaming, stinking to high heaven lie. Today, Bush was finally able to bring himself to admit that Iraq was not actually linked to 9/11, after implying otherwise for the better part of a year, yet he couldn't seem to help himself from recycling another oft repeated fabrication - the supposed link between Iraq and Al Qaida.

From the transcript today:

Q Mr. President, Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld both said yesterday that they have seen no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September 11th. Yet, on Meet the Press, Sunday, the Vice President said Iraq was a geographic base for the terrorists and he also said, I don't know, or we don't know, when asked if there was any involvement. Your critics say that this is some effort -- deliberate effort to blur the line and confuse people. How would you answer that?

THE PRESIDENT: We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th. What the Vice President said was, is that he has been involved with al Qaida. And al Zarqawi, al Qaida operative, was in Baghdad. He's the guy that ordered the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He's a man who is still running loose, involved with the poisons network, involved with Ansar al-Islam. There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaida ties.

Sorry, Mr. President, but there is most definitely a "question" about that assertion. In fact, no one seems to really believe it but you. Not your CIA, not your allies (including Great Britain), no one.

Exhibit A:

Guardian | CIA had doubts on Iraq link to al-Qaida:"The debunking of the Bush administration's pre-war certainties on Iraq gathered pace yesterday when it emerged that the CIA knew for months that a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida was highly unlikely.

As President George Bush was forced for the second time in days to defend the decision to go to war, a new set of leaks from CIA officials suggested a tendency in the White House to suppress or ignore intelligence findings which did not shore up the case for war.

The interrogation reports of two senior al-Qaida members, both in US custody, showed that the CIA had reason to doubt the allegations of a connection between Saddam's regime and the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon."

Exhibit B:

Report Cast Doubt on Iraq-Al Qaida Connection : "The president said some al Qaida leaders had fled Afghanistan to Iraq and referred to one 'very senior al Qaida leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year.' It was a reference to Abu Mussab Zarqawi, a Jordanian. U.S. Intelligence already had concluded that Zarqawi was not an al Qaida member but the leader of an unaffiliated terrorist group who occasionally associated with al Qaida adherents, the sources said.

As for Bush's claim that Iraq had trained al Qaida members in bomb-making and use of poisons and deadly gases, sources with knowledge of the classified intelligence estimate said the reports conclusion was that this had not been satisfactorily confirmed.

'We've learned,' Bush said in his speech, 'that Iraq has trained al Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.' But the president did not mention that when national security adviser Condoleezza Rice had referred the previous month to such training, she had said the source was al Qaida captives."

Exhibit C:

Allies Find No Links Between Iraq, Al Qaida: "Of all the intelligence services in the world, British agencies probably work the closest with U.S. spies. The sharing of sensitive information appeared evident in a British government dossier in September that laid out charges about Hussein's program to develop weapons of mass destruction. The report closely resembled Washington's accounts of Iraq's arsenal.

The British have been much quieter when it comes to any alliance between Iraq and Al Qaida, however. Asked about the matter Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sounded diplomatic.

'It could well be the case that there were links, active links, between Al Qaida and the Iraqi regime before Sept. 11,' Straw said. 'What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of that. And the answer is: I haven't."

Zarqawi is arguably connected to Al Qaida through Ansar al-Islam, but unfortunately for Bush, no evidence has ever surfaced to show a connection between Ansar al-Islam and Saddam. In fact all evidence seems to point to the contrary. They were reported to be mortal enemies of one another. Perhaps that is why Ansar al-Islam made its home in the north, in Kurdish controlled territory:

U.S. scours for Saddam-al-Qaida link:"Proving a link between Saddam and Islamists in a region not controlled by the Iraqi leader will be difficult for the Bush administration. Iraq's Kurdish minority has controlled the north for a decade, though Saddam's intelligence agents regularly pass back and forth, according to Kurdish officials. "

So what we have is Bush making a claim that has been thoroughly debunked, for which he never had any evidence in the first place. Which begs a very important question:

Is this really the standard of information the Bushies feel is acceptable to carry out their doctrine of preemptive war?

Here's an even scarier thought. If a despotic dictator like Saddam Hussein is telling the truth here, and Bush is lying, what in Jeebus' name does that say about Bush?

BBC report:"Saddam Hussein himself denied on Tuesday having any weapons of mass destruction. He told Mr Benn in the interview broadcast by Channel 4 News: 'These weapons do not come in small pills that you can hide in your pocket.

'These are weapons of mass destruction and it is easy to work out if Iraq has them or not.' Denying any connection with aQaidada, he said: 'If we had a relationship with aQaidada and we believed in that relationship, we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it."

Update: MSNBC has already decided to provide Bush with yet another pass on a huge lie. To read this article reporting Bush's statement today you would never know the Al Qaida link had ever been (and in fact still is) in dispute.

posted by RJ | Link | 3:24 PM
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