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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The New York Times Is Fair and Balanced, Too!

Atrios makes note of the factual but incomplete graf in today's New York Times article about Bush's speech today. It says that Bush never directly tied Saddam to 9/11; he merely claimed that Saddam and al Qaeda are of the same ilk. Atrios replies:

While Bush did never directly claim that Saddam had a direct role in the attacks of Sept. 11, he has said far more than that they "are of the same ilk." He has claimed several times that they are active partners.

And he has made manipulative associations about Saddam and 9/11 over and over again.

"Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people and to all free people.

If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks.

The attacks of September the 11th, 2001, show what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.

We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise. I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons."

Please. His speechwriters put those images together for a reason. They wanted people to associate 9/11 with Saddam Hussein.

And how about our good friend Condi? Notice the artful turn of phrase she uses here:

No one is trying to make an argument at this point that Saddam Hussein somehow had operational control of what happened on Sept. 11, so we don't want to push this too far, but this is a story that is unfolding, and it is getting clearer, and we're learning more," Rice said.

That was in September of 2002.

How about Bill Kristol on September 12, 2001 from NPR:

I think Iraq is, actually, the big, unspoken sort of elephant in the room today. There's a fair amount of evidence that Iraq has had very close associations with Osama bin Laden in the past, a lot of evidence that it had associations with the previous effort to destroy the World Trade Center (in 1993)”.

And then, there's the
mother of all pieces of evidence
, the smoking gun, the proof that the administration sought to directly tie Saddam with 9/11:

According to an account by veteran CBS newsman David Martin last September, Rumsfeld was ”telling his aides to start thinking about striking Iraq, even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks” five hours after an American Airlines jet slammed into the Pentagon.

Martin attributed his account in part to notes that had been taken at the time by a Rumsfeld aide. They quote the defense chief asking for the ”best info fast” to ”judge whether good enough to hit SH (Saddam Hussein) at the same time, not only UBL (Usama bin Laden). The administration should ”go massive...sweep it all up, things related and not”, the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying.

Wolfowitz shared those views, according to an account of the meeting Sep. 15-16 of the administration's war council at Camp David provided by the Washington Post's Bill Woodward and Dan Balz. In the ”I-was-there” style for which Woodward, whose access to powerful officials since his investigative role in the Watergate scandal almost 30 years ago is unmatched, is famous:

”Wolfowitz argued (at the meeting) that the real source of all the trouble and terrorism was probably Hussein. The terrorist attacks of Sept 11 created an opportunity to strike. Now, Rumsfeld asked again: 'Is this the time to attack Iraq'”?

Powell objected”, the Woodward and Balz account continued, citing Secretary of State Colin Powell's argument that U.S. allies would not support a strike on Iraq. ”If you get something pinning Sept 11 on Iraq, great”, Powell is quoted as saying. But let's get Afghanistan now. If we do that, we will have increased our ability to go after Iraq -- if we can prove Iraq had a role”.

Upon their return to Washington, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz convened a secret, two-day meeting of the DPB chaired by Perle. Instead of focusing on the first steps in carrying out a ”war on terrorism”, however, the discussions centered on how Washington could use 9/11 to strike at Iraq, according to an account in the Wall Street Journal.

Is this stuff just bullshit then? Not worth mentioning? If they're going to point out that Junior never "directly" tied Saddam into 9/11, the least they can do is also point out that some in the administration were determined from the very beginning to use 9/11 to justify an invasion of Iraq.

I'm sure I remember the New York Times always pointed out in its later articles about the Lewinsky scandal that Clinton did not "directly" lie when he said he'd never had "sexual relations with that woman." The dictionary meaning of "sexual relations" is sexual intercourse and he actually had oral sex with her. They were always very, very conscientious about making that clear even though everybody on the planet knew that he was implying that he hadn't had any kind of sex with her. I'm pretty sure they did that, didn't they?