Even after the Iraq war, as links between Iraq and 9/11 were increasingly discredited, Bush and Vice President Cheney continued to make those links to the American people
Boston Globe: “Vice President Dick Cheney, anxious to defend the White House foreign policy amid ongoing violence in Iraq, stunned intelligence analysts and even members of his own administration this week by failing to dismiss a widely discredited claim: that Saddam Hussein might have played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.” [Boston Globe, September 16, 2003 ]
Boston Globe: “One day after the Sept. 11 Commission said that there was “no collaborative relationship” between Iraq and Al Qaeda, Vice President Cheney reasserted on CNBC, ‘There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming.’ CNBC's Gloria Borger asked Cheney, ‘Do you know some things that the commission does not know?’ Cheney said, ‘Probably . . . There are reams of material here. Your show isn't long enough for me to read all the pieces of it.’ [Boston Globe, June 23, 2004]
Bush: “We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens.” [Presidential radio address, June 18, 2005 ]
It’s now admitted by all that there was no connection between Iraq and the attacks of September 11.
Washington Post reports on Senate Intelligence report: “A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq. Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda's overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden." [Washington Post, September 9, 2006]
Bush in 2006 press conference: “The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.” QUESTION: “What did Iraq have to do with it?” BUSH: “What did Iraq have to do with what?” QUESTION: “The attack on the World Trade Center.” BUSH: “Nothing.” [White House Press Conference August 21, 2006]
SCRIPT: They said the war in Iraq would make us safer, but it hasn’t.
Claims that the war in Iraq will make us safer
Bush on Iraq: “it's worth the time, and it's worth the effort -- because Iraqis and Americans share a common enemy, and when that enemy is defeated in Iraq, Americans will be safer here at home.” [Presidential speech at Annapolis, November 2005]
Bush: “Although we haven't found the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq, and America is safer today because we did.” [Presidential speech, July 14, 2004]
Cheney: “America will help Iraqis persevere in this cause and defeat the enemies of liberty and secure a free, self-governing Iraq. And when we succeed, we will have enhanced the security of our own country.” [Vice presidential speech, June 18, 1004]
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman on Iraq: “It certainly was worth it. The fact is I believe, and I think most Americans who think about it,, will recognize that we're safer.” [CNN's The Situation Room, March 20, 2006]
But it hasn’t.
Terrorist attacks went up after Iraq war. Washington Post: “The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week… Terrorist incidents in Iraq also dramatically increased, from 22 attacks to 198, or nine times the previous year's total -- a sensitive subset of the tally, given the Bush administration's assertion that the situation there had stabilized significantly after the U.S. handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government last summer.” [Washington Post, April 27, 2005]
Americans feel less safe now. CBS: “Compared with five years ago, 39 percent of Americans say they feel less safe now, compared with only 14 percent who say they feel safer.” [“Poll: Many Americans Feel Less Safe; Five Years After 9/11, Many Feel Terror Threat Has Grown,” CBS News, September 6, 2006] CNN: “Now just one-third of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer. Most people now say Iraq has made the U.S. less safe.” [CNN Analyst Bill Schneider, May 9, 2006]
Experts say Iraq war has made Al Qaeda stronger. Jim Walsh, an international security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “We are not safer. Because of the war in Iraq and other things that have happened, al-Qaeda has decentralized. It has gone from an organization to a movement.” ["Are we any safer today? Sources say U.S. targets vulnerable,"[ Boston Herald, September 9, 2006]
Bush’s focus on the Iraq war has allowed other security threats to grow. The Independent: “While Iraq has festered, North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons and Iran is well on the way. It's a safe bet al-Qa'ida is after nuclear suitcase bombs, as well as dirty bomb material. Anti- American sentiment has surged since 11 September, so we can also expect new sources of violent extremism.” [The Independent on Sunday, October 31, 2004]
SCRIPT: They said they would destroy Al Qaeda, but they haven't.
Vowing to Destroy Al Qaeda
Bush on Afghanistan war: “This particular battlefront will last as long as it takes to bring al Qaeda to justice. It may happen tomorrow; it may happen a month from now; it may take a year or two. But we will prevail.” [Presidential remarks, October 11, 2001.]
Bush officials tell media about secret presidential directive to crush Al Qaeda: “President Bush last month signed an intelligence order directing the CIA to undertake its most sweeping and lethal covert action since the founding of the agency in 1947, explicitly calling for the destruction of Osama bin Laden and his worldwide al-Qaida network, according to senior government officials.” [“Lethal operations are under way to crush bin Laden,” Houston Chronicle, October 21, 2001]
Bush promised to kill Osama bin Laden. Boston Globe: “Bush has recast himself as an ambitious strategist, adding sweeping plans to his ever-growing portfolio of promises. Bush has, in the last nine months, pledged to capture or kill an elusive Osama bin Laden, with the eventual goal of defeating terrorism across the globe.” [“Some see political risks in Bush’s lofty goals,” Boston Globe, July 1, 2002, available on Nexis, link unavailable]
Sec. of State Colin Powell on Al Qaeda: “We will go after that group, that network and those who have harbored, supported and aided that network, to rip that network up.” [CNN, September 15, 2001]
Washington Post reports Al Qaeda is re-emerging in Afghanistan, while U.S. is distracted and has resources depleted in Iraq. “Many factors have combined in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make the pursuit more difficult. They include the lack of CIA access to people close to al-Qaeda's inner circle; Pakistan's unwillingness to pursue him; the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the strength of the Iraqi insurgency, which has depleted U.S. military and intelligence resources; and the U.S. government's own disorganization… In Afghanistan, the hunt for bin Laden has been upstaged by the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda…” [The Washington Post, September 10, 2006]
Experts say Al Qaeda leaders remain active and in control. “The back-to-back nature of the deadly attacks in Egypt and London, as well as similarities in the methods used, suggests that the al Qaeda leadership may have given the orders for both operations and is a clear sign that Osama bin Laden and his deputies remain in control of the network, according to interviews with counterterrorism analysts and government officials in Europe and the Middle East.” [Washington Post, July 24, 2005]
SCRIPT: Republican leaders exploited 9/11 to mislead us into war with Iraq.
Bush exploited 9/11 to take country to war in Iraq.
See above backup facts about Bush linking 9/11 to Iraq.
Washington Post reports experts believe Bush exploited 9/11 to initiate Iraq war: “Democrats and some independent experts say Bush exploited the apparent misconception by implying a link between Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the months before the war with Iraq. ‘The notion was reinforced by these hints, the discussions that they had about possible links with al Qaeda terrorists’" said Andrew Kohut, a pollster who leads the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.” [Washington Post, September 9, 2003]
Political scientist writes: “Bush, Others Exploit Sept. 11 to Peril Nation.” “Since Sept. 11, the administration of President George W. Bush has provided the American people neither with good and sufficient reasons - other than intelligence reports whose significance he reassuringly invokes - to initiate war with Iraq.”[Op-ed by Rutgers political scientist Russ Baker, Newsday, September 4, 2002]
Bush wanted to link Iraq to 9/11 – Ex-Bush Advisor Richard Clarke: “The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this (9/11 attacks).' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this. “I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.' “He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report.” [CBS, March 21, 2004; Richard Clarke, “Against All Enemies”]
Bob Woodward reports that Bush Administration saw 9/11 as an “opportunity” to attack Iraq. “Bob Woodward reports that just five days after Sept. 11, President Bush indicated to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that while he had to do Afghanistan first, he was also determined to do something about Saddam Hussein. “There's some pressure to go after Saddam Hussein. Don Rumsfeld has said, ‘This is an opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps. We should consider it.’ And the president says to Condi Rice meeting head to head, ‘We won't do Iraq now.’ But it is a question we're gonna have to return to,’” says Woodward.” [CBS, April 18, 2004; Bob Woodward, “Plan of Attack”]
SCRIPT: Are they going to get away with exploiting 9/11 to win re-election? Not on your life.
Bush’s top political advisor already has said he wants to exploit 9/11 as a political issue in 2006
Bush’s top political adviser urges Republicans to use 9/11 politically in 2006. “Rove Offers Republicans A Battle Plan For Elections” – headline about Rove’s 9/11 political strategy in 2006 (Washington Post, January 21, 2006)
Rove used 9/11 as a political strategy in 2002 and 2004, breaking national unity. “It was four years ago this week when Rove, appearing at another meeting of the RNC, said Republicans would make terrorism a central issue of the 2002 midterm elections. Rove's remarks infuriated Democrats, who protested that, until then, Bush had stressed bipartisanship and national unity in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks…Yesterday's speeches by Rove and Mehlman signaled that the White House and the RNC intend to pursue much the same strategy in a midterm-election year that begins with Republicans on the defensive.” (Washington Post, January 21, 2006)
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