"Thomas Jefferson once said: 'Of course the people don't want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.' I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot." --Jon Stewart, hosting the Peabody Awards
Last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released an exhaustive report confirming that there were no pre-invasion ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda:
The report also poured cold water on concerns expressed in intelligence estimates of cooperation between Hussein and Al Qaeda.
"Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of Al Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from Al Qaeda to provide material or operational support," the committee said.
In a separate report, the committee blamed the Iraqi National Congress for much of the faulty intelligence. Chalabi, the group's head, was thought to aspire to lead Iraq if Hussein could be overthrown.
"The Iraqi National Congress attempted to influence United States policy on Iraq by providing false information through defectors directed at convincing the United States that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had links to terrorists," the committee concluded.
Yet, just this week, the Bush administration, through Vice-president Cheney and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, continued to argue that there were close ties between Iraq, Sadaam Hussein, and Al Quaeda. Even the President, in addressing the nation on the 5th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th, brought up the occupation of Iraq in a thinly veiled attempt to link the terrorist attacks of that day to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This just demonstrates that this is a President, and an administration, that lives in its own reality - one it creates, in reckless disregard of actual facts.
A recent op-ed makes that fact startlingly clear:
Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror until the Bush administration decided to invade it. The president now admits that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for 9/11 (although he claimed last night that the invasion was necessary because Iraq posed a “risk”). But he has failed to offer the country a new, realistic reason for being there.
But the nation needs to hear a workable plan to stabilize a fractured, disintegrating country and end the violence. If such a strategy exists, it seems unlikely that Mr. Bush could see it through the filter of his fantasies.
It’s hard to figure out how to build consensus when the men in charge embrace a series of myths. Vice President Dick Cheney suggested last weekend that the White House is even more delusional than Mr. Bush’s rhetoric suggests. The vice president volunteered to NBC’s Tim Russert that not only was the Iraq invasion the right thing to do, “if we had it to do over again, we’d do exactly the same thing.”
It is a breathtaking thought. If we could return to Sept. 12, 2001, knowing all we have seen since, Mr. Cheney and the president would march right out and “do exactly the same thing” all over again. It will be hard to hear the phrase “lessons of Sept. 11” again without contemplating that statement.
This 'bush-reality' is one this nation simply cannot afford.