Friday, October 08, 2004

I don't get it..?

OFF THE TABLE: "Bare and Valanced" Discussion

I am what you would call a "news junkie." And trust me when I say that I read most all of the reputable stuff, regardless of the sources perceived image. When you take a look at my Favorites in IE you'll see sites ranging from MSNBC, to FoxNews, to CNN, to Michael Moore's site, to the Drudge Report, to local papers like the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News (sorry... little plug for my home town there ;)...), and to my favorite blog site of all: OFF THE TABLE. :)

My wife constantly teases me because the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up and usually the last thing I do at night before going to bed is to go to my computer and check my email along with the latest developments in the news. This is probably the best example I can give you of my obsession and love affair with the news.

Let me preempt what I am about to write with the following. I cannot attest to what some low level administration aid, or republican player in back woods Montana may have said about the subject that follows. But, as far as the key figures in our current administration are concerned, I catch or read about their speeches, interviews, etc. as often as possible, and I'm having a hard time following the democrats on this one.

For months, maybe even a year now, I have been asking EVERYONE I know, who I believe even somewhat follows politics, to explain how so many people got the impression that one of our reasons for attacking Iraq was that our administration claimed that they were responsible for, or at least tied to 9/11. Dude can confirm this because I have asked him about this at least once, if not more than once. Without fail, the people I ask to help me on this issue seem to be about as lost as I am.

I, for one, have an extremely hard time remembering any speech, let alone a major policy speech from our administration that indicated that there was an Iraq 9/11 connection. However, if you only paid attention to the mainstream media or the democrats, you would have no choice but to believe that this was a direct assertion and given reason for attacking Iraq by our current administration. I believe, unfortunately, that a great many Americans turn to one or maybe two sources for their news, because I cannot see how else so many people would believe in this Iraq/911 deal. After the VP debates this last Tuesday, Chris Matthews on MSNBC claimed that 40% of Americans believe in the Iraq/911 connection.

At the VP debate, this past Tuesday, both Cheney and Edwards got in their shots, and both performed relatively well. Cheney knew his stuff and was confident. I think Edwards also held his own on the knowledge front, and was pretty quick on his feet. And of course, both threw out some mis-information. Examples include, Cheney's claims on things like Kerry's voting record for taxes and having never met Edwards, and Edward's claims about Haliburton and the Iraq/911 connection claim.

While I'm tempted to carry on in this blog about who's mis-information was worse, I want to focus on the Iraq and 9/11 ties issue.

When Edward's brought up Iraq/911 I wanted to puke, given how much I have looked into this and asked others about this for so long now, without resolution. However, to my shock, in the after debate commentary, Chris Matthews brought out a Meet the Press quote which indicated that Cheney had indeed made the connection. While the quote didn't appear perfectly clear ("If we're successful in Iraq ... we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11." Cheney), you could see how the connection was made, and I started to wonder if this is where all of this excitement about Iraq/911 really got started.

HOWEVER, it is now being reported by several news outlets that this Cheney quote has been thrown out there out of context. In reality, there was a follow up question to that quote, where Cheney was asked if he meant to imply that Iraq was tied to 9/11, and Cheney said: "I was careful not to say that. ... The relevance for 9/11 is that what 9/11 marked was the beginning of a struggle in which the terrorists come at us and strike us here on our home territory. And it's a global operation."

Now I'm back to where I left off before first hearing that quote Tuesday evening. Why do the mainstream media and the democrats INSIST on perpetuating a claim that tenuous at best? Secondly, why are there SO MANY Americans who take these guys at face value. I don't even take my own party at face value all the time! One of the reasons I stick with them, however, is that in my opinion they are right more often than the democrats. :)


Blogger Izdatyel said...

That's the brilliance of it. The Bush Administration basically got alot of people believing in this connection without ever directly saying that Iraq was behind 9-11. Here's what we do know: On Sept. 12, 2001, Bush started pushing officials to find links between the Iraq and the attack the day before (based on their own accounts). When they said that there was nothing there, he was frustrated and told them to keep looking. Well, since they couldn't find anything - he did the next best thing: Bush and his administration repeatedly and shamelessly implied a connection (sometimes coming very close to all-out making one) in all their Iraq speeches and policy justifications. Here are just a few examples:

"Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror."

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2002. The speech was primarily concerned with how the US was coping in the aftermath of 11 September.


"We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On 11 September, 2001, America felt its vulnerability - even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America."

President Bush speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October, 2002, in which he laid out the threat he believed Iraq posed.


"Before 11 September 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2003. He made these comments in the context of the links he perceived between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.


"The terrorists have lost a sponsor in Iraq. And no terrorist networks will ever gain weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein's regime."

President Bush in his speech to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, September, 2003.


"For America, there will be no going back to the era before 11 September 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength.

They are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans.

We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities."

President Bush in a televised address to defend his administration's policy on Iraq, September 2003.


"We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after 11 September, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of 11 September."

US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a presentation to the UN Security Council, setting out the US case against the Iraqi regime, February 2003.


"We don't know."

Vice-President Dick Cheney when pressed on whether there was a link between Iraq and 11 September during a TV interview, September 2003.


"We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who've had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Mr Cheney in the same interview, commenting on the war against Iraq.


"We've never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it."

Mr Cheney in the same interview, while recounting the controversial claim that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, met an Iraqi official in Prague before the attacks.


"[Saddam Hussein posed a risk in] a region from which the 9/11 threat emerged."

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice defending the reasons why the US went to war against Iraq, September, 2003.


See also: "Cheney Link of Iraq, 9/11 Challenged"

Now, come on. The Bush administration clearly implied connections and used the implications to their advantage in advocating and justifying the invasion of a nation that had not attacked us or our allies (besides some poor attempts to shoot down some aircraft flying over their airspace), nor threatened to attack us. This is not to say Saddam is innocent or good in any way. It's merely sticking to the issue; Saddam had nothing to do (that we or anyone knows of) with 9/11. The Bush Administration implied that he did in order to rally support for invading a sovereign nation that had not attacked us or our allies.

10/08/2004 12:09 PM  

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