June 18, 2004
The report from the September 11 commission was clear. "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," it said. And there appears to have been no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, it added.
This finding undercuts one of the major rationales the Bush Administration put forward for the war against Iraq. Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and George Bush himself all played up the alleged links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. But the links, in any operational way, did not exist.
In October 2002, Bush said, "Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." That was false.
Bush said, in his January 2003 State of the Union address, "Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda." That was false.
Bush said, on February 8, 2003, "Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training." That was false.
Powell, in his U.N. speech prior to the Iraq War, talked of the "sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network." False again.
On May 3, 2003, in his infamous end-of-major-combat-operations speech, Bush said, "We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda." False again.
On September 14, 2003, Vice President Cheney repeated Bush's claim that Iraq and Al Qaeda were involved together in training with chemical and biological weapons, and added that the Iraqis were "providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the Al Qaeda organization." False again.
On October 10, 2003, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, Cheney said, "Saddam had an established relationship with Al Qaeda, providing training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional weapons." False again.
This Monday, June 14, Cheney said Saddam "had long established ties with Al Qaeda."
And Bush on Thursday, June 17, said, "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."
Note how slippery Bush and Cheney are getting. Now they are talking about amorphous "ties" and "a relationship." But before they were talking about specifics, scary specifics, like joint work on chemical and biological weapons.
All of their falsehoods served a purpose: to scare the American people into going along with the Iraq War.
Now that their falsehoods have been exposed, they are way out on a limb of lies.