Recent media reports have been saying that there is a lot of double speak coming out of the White House concerning the Iraq/al Qaeda link. These are the facts as we currently know them.
- Whitehouse says there is no direct link between Iraq and al Qaeda concerning 9/11 specifically – You’re right, if you’re talking specifically about the September 11th attacks, we never made that claim.
- 9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida – the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday that Osama bin Laden met with a top Iraqi official in 1994 but found “no credible evidence” of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in attacks against the United States.
- Cheney blasts media on al Qaeda-Iraq link – Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were “irresponsible.”
As much as I hate to say this the reality is that the White House is right. They, as far as I can find, never said Saddam and al Qaeda worked together to pull off 9/11. What they are saying is that along the way Iraq and al Qaeda did have contacts with each other. The commission even says this.
… the commission also found that bin Laden did “explore possible cooperation with Iraq.”
But man, the White House really, really sucks at making their case. I’ve laid out an intelligent argument showing that the media (and bloggers) are basically jumping the gun to make fun of the White House on this one. Here is what Bush said (this is classic Bush here).
“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,” the president said.
Oh, OK that clears things up. Thanks for all of the interesting information supporting your claim. This is the kind of retarded logic the White House uses all the time. It’s the “just trust us” mentality. That’s not good enough for me. I’m happy to give you the benefit of the doubt, which is what I’m doing now, but you gotta give me something to work with! So, you’re wondering how everyone got confused? Before reading the following quote please re-read what the 9/11 commission said about the Iraq/al Qaeda link.
In his CNBC interview, Cheney went a bit further. Asked if Iraq was involved in 9/11, he said, “We don’t know.”
Oh, OK that clears things up. Sometimes I think this administration uses this sort of inter-contradiction with known facts, previous statements and other cabinet members just to confuse everyone and leave everyone scratching their heads.
UPDATE: It looks like Andrew Sullivan agrees with me [via Instapundit]. And you thought I only read leftist blogs!
UPDATE: Oh, so maybe they did vaguely say Iraq had a part in 9/11 [via Stephen VanDyke]. Bush wrote a letter to Congress in March of 2003 saying the following.
[A]cting pursuant to the Constitution and [the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002] 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.
Of course this can be taken either way. The White House could be saying that even communication with al Qaeda was aiding the terrorist attacks. It’s not the smoking gun that I’d like to see though.