Thursday, June 17, 2004

Because He Said So 

AKA That's his story and he's sticking to it.

I heard a sound clip on NPR of statements made by President Bush after today's cabinet meeting, and I was surprised that even he would have made one particular statement. So I went to the White House website and found a transcript of the entire set of remarks. Yes, I heard it correctly.

In response to a question of why the administration maintains that there was a relationship between Iraq/Saddam Hussein and al-Quaeda, even in the face of the 9/11 commission's determination that while there were inquiries by al-Quaeda for support from Iraq, no such relationship came out of these contacts, the president had this to say:

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. 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. There's numerous contacts between the two.

I always said that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He was a threat because he was a sworn enemy to the United States of America, just like al Qaeda. He was a threat because he had terrorist connections -- not only al Qaeda connections, but other connections to terrorist organizations; Abu Nidal was one. He was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi, who is still killing innocent inside of Iraq.

No, he was a threat, and the world is better off and America is more secure without Saddam Hussein in power."

Excuse me? Yes, the commission also said that there were contacts. Contacts that did not result in a working relationship. Hussein's use of WMD against his own people, his support of any other terrorist group, the fact that the world is a better place without him in power all have nothing to do with supporting the White House's insistence that Saddam Hussein was working with and supporting al-Quaeda. The administration's never having stated that Hussein specifically helped orchestrate the 9/11 attacks doesn't diminish the perception of a connection promoted by the White House to the American people and the world in an effort to justify the war in Iraq.

The dance goes on. The president's steps are: stick to your story, sidestep the issue, state unrelated facts and leap to a conclusion that has no connection to the start of the dance.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:06 PM