Archives for: March 2009, 18
Steve Benen, a moderately liberal blogger at Washington Monthly, is incredulous. Frank Gaffney, Ari Fleischer and others are joining with Dick Cheney to justify the US invasion of Iraq. What makes their case a modern marvel is their resurrection of the completely discredited tale that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
Here is Gaffney, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in Ronald Reagan's administration:
He [Saddam] kept saying he was going to try to get even against us for Desert Storm, so it wouldn't be unreasonable for people to conclude maybe that that's what he was doing. There is also circumstantial evidence, not proven by any means, but nonetheless some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence of Saddam Hussein's Iraq being involved with the people who perpetrated both the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and even the Oklahoma City bombing.
Ari Fleischer is succinct. "After Sept. 11, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam might not strike again?"
Others join in the speculation. Are these fellows dishonest or just plain crazy? The Stepford nature of this zombie repetition of such a thoroughly torpoedoed connection does seem a bit out of the park. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden hated each other. al Qaeda established a base in a section of Iraq Saddam could not control, proof to a few die-hards that there was a link between them. A putative meeting in Europe between representatives is seized upon but turns out never to have happened.
But the certainty was never a matter of evidence. It was what motivated the invasion of Iraq. The falsifying of evidence, the assertions of dangers that never existed, were the policy equivalents of zealous police framing someone known to be guilty. They lied to serve the truth and a mission. As they watched innocent people choosing between incineration and suicide, they knew what they must do. Saddam would not get away with it.
The record shows this group was loosely composed of anti-Saddam advocates well before the attacks of 2001. 9/11 solidified what they already knew. They needed no evidence. A major assault on two United States cities and on the heart of US military strength had to have come from a renegade state. Iraq was the only possible candidate.
Such an attack couldn't, just couldn't, have been orchestrated by a lunatic leader of a fringe group hiding in a cave on the other side of the world.