'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Dick Backs Down 

So with the release of the recent CIA report and Rumsfelds' concession a few days ago, the fact that there was never a substantive collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Hussein's Iraq is becoming an accepted truth in political discourse and in the mainstream media. It is a travesty that this acceptance of the obvious has taken so long given that there was never evidence to the contrary but such is the world we live in. Anyway, I've been curious as to how Cheney would deal with this changing of the political winds, and during last night's debate we got an answer, sort of. Here's what he said: (veep debate transcript here):

I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11. But there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror. And the point is that that's the place where you're most likely to see the terrorists come together with weapons of mass destruction, the deadly technologies that Saddam Hussein had developed and used over the years.

First of all, the sentence in bold above is false. Here's a Boston Globe article, "Cheney link of Iraq, 9/11 challenged", which begins

Vice President Dick Cheney, anxious to defend the White House foreign policy amid ongoing violence in Iraq, stunned intelligence analysts and even members of his own administration this week by failing to dismiss a widely discredited claim: that Saddam Hussein might have played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Clearly purposely publicly failing to dismiss a widely discredited claim constitutes suggesting the claim is true. And a Washington Post article from around the same time, "Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked By Cheney" began as follows

In making the case for war against Iraq, Vice President Cheney has continued to suggest that an Iraqi intelligence agent met with a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker five months before the attacks, even as the story was falling apart under scrutiny by the FBI, CIA and the foreign government that first made the allegation. [ ... ] Cheney described Iraq as "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

But the falsity of Cheney's statement aside, what is interesting is that Cheney is actually tacking backwards; he's beginning to concede that his pet theory is false. Edwards gave him a perfect opportunity to spout off about the links between Hussein and al Qaeda but Cheney didn't take the bait, instead he dissembled by focusing on the more specific claim of Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 attack and stating that he never suggested such involvement occurred.

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