Friday, June 18, 2004

[US Politics] NYT Editorial- The Plain Truth:

It's hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday: there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11. Now President Bush should apologize to the American people, who were led to believe something different. Of all the ways Mr. Bush persuaded Americans to back the invasion of Iraq last year, the most plainly dishonest was his effort to link his war of choice with the battle against terrorists worldwide.
The Bush administration convinced a substantial majority of Americans before the war that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to 9/11. And since the invasion, administration officials, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, have continued to declare such a connection.
Mr. Bush is right when he says he cannot be blamed for everything that happened on or before Sept. 11, 2001. But he is responsible for the administration's actions since then. That includes, inexcusably, selling the false Iraq-Qaeda claim to Americans. There are two unpleasant alternatives: either Mr. Bush knew he was not telling the truth, or he has a capacity for politically motivated self-deception that is terrifying in the post-9/11 world."

WP Editorial- An Iraq Sideshow:
Administration foes seized on this sentence to claim that Vice President Cheney has been lying, as recently as this week, about a purported relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. The accusation is nearly as irresponsible as the Bush administration's rhetoric has been. The importance of the two new reports lies not in the clarification of any supposed Iraq link but in the new details that fill in and correct the state of the public's knowledge of the attacks themselves.
The trouble for the administration is that Mr. Cheney has not always been careful to distinguish between Iraqi ties to al Qaeda and supposed support for the attacks. Indeed, it was he who kept the Prague meeting story alive long after others in the government thought it discredited. His recent comments not only overstate what now appear to be rather tentative ties between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, but they probably help to keep alive in the minds of many Americans a link between Iraq and the attacks that not even Mr. Cheney still alleges. If the U.S. intelligence community now believes that the relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein consisted of no more than what the commission reports, Mr. Cheney ought not be implying more."