A story in the National Journal claims that President Bush knew ten days after 9-11 that there was no connection between Iraq and the attacks of 9-11. My response: big fat hairy deal!
This little tidbit of information would be important if the administration had ever claimed that Iraq was somehow directly involved in the 9-11 attacks, but neither the President nor the Vice-President ever said any such thing. Anyone who claims that the administration did make such a claim participates in cynical historical revisionism.
I wrote pretty extensively on this subject before the presidential election of 2004 (click here to read “Making a Staw-man out of the President’s Iraq Policy”). The Democrats were regularly making the claim that the Bush administration had lied to the American public by telling them that Iraq participated in the attacks of 9-11. I argued in 2004, and I argue now that no one can find any statement by any administration official to the effect that Iraq was directly behind the 9-11 attacks. To accuse the Bush administration of making such a claim is a dishonest rewriting of how the Iraq war began.
In the 2004 Vice-Presedential debate, John Edwards made this false charge against Vice-President Cheney. John Edwards said, “Listen carefully to what the vice president is saying. Because there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th — period. The 9/11 Commission has said that’s true. Colin Powell has said it’s true. But the vice president keeps suggesting that there is” (source).
Yet the Vice-President’s response to Edward’s charge was very clear: “The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there’s clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror” (source).
So this article in the National Journal does not present anything new. The story resurrects a red herring that’s at least a year old. My guess is that the people who followed the red herring then will be more than eager to follow it now. Unfortunately, the group of gullible followers includes many mainstream media outlets. What a shame.