Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hanging the crazy right out to dry - and yes, that means you, Cheney!

The linking of Saddam Hussein and al Quada went on for months pre-war. From the administration, it was always thinly veiled, so as to avoid a straight-out lie (an exception was when the Bushites thought they had evidence of a meeting between Iraqi officials and one of the hijackers... this evidence didn't hold up under scrutiny). But (and I'm bringing my recently-completed Franken book knowledge to bear, here) there were plenty of right-wing "media people" who would pick up the implication, and make it explicit, pushing that explicit connection into the public domain where the not-right-wing (which is not to say "left-wing") media picks it up.

On Sunday, the Vice-President repeated the claim on Meet the Press.

MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it�s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don�t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn�t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we�ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the �90s...


...we�ve had the story that�s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we�ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don�t know.
This continues a theme that the administration had been working on for a while:

March 16, 2003, Dick Cheney, Meet the Press: But the�again, I come back to this proposition�Is it [war in Iraq] cost-free? Absolutely not. But the cost is far less than it will be if we get hit, for example, with a weapon that Saddam Hussein might provide to al-Qaeda, the cost to the United States of what happened on 9/11 with billions and billions of dollars and 3,000 lives. And the cost will be much greater in a future attack if the terrorists have access to the kinds of capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed.
Notice the casual linking, without explicit accusation? Smart and tricky!

So what's happening now?

Interview, Nightline, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice:"We have never claimed that Saddam Hussein ... had either direction or control of 9/11,"

Pentagon Briefing, Tuesday: Q: There have been a number of public opinion polls that show a fairly sizable percentage of the public believes that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks. Do you believe that?

Rumsfeld: I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that. We know he was giving $25,000 a family for anyone who would go out and kill innocent men, women and children. And we know of various other activities. But on that specific one, no.
Why back away from this claim now? Four words: Wesley Clark: Presidential candidate.

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