Thursday, June 17, 2004
# Posted 10:49 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.Was the President trying to say that "numerous contacts" constitute a "relationship"? Or did he begin by asserting that there was a "relationship" and then back-track to the concession that there were only "numerous contacts"?
While Bush doesn't seem to choose his words all that carefully when speaking off the cuff, his use of the word 'relationship' seems very, very calculated. The 9/11 commission said there was no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam and Al Qaeda. So is Bush suggesting that there was a relationship but that it wasn't collaborative?
With regard to a recent comment by Dick Cheney, Matt Yglesias writes that it wasn't technically a lie:
Rather, it was part of the administration's longstanding practice of making technically accurate, but misleading and tendentious, statements in order to try and trick people into believing things that aren't true, while protecting themselves from criticism in the elite media.That certainly seems like a good description of Bush's remarks. Except for the fact that he utterly failed to protect himself from criticism in the elite media. This morning, the WaPo led off its Saddam-Al Qaeda article with the statement that
The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration's main justifications for the war in Iraq.According to tomorrow's paper,
President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week's finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.So the news yesterday was that Bush is a liar and the news today is that Bush is a liar. Perhaps Bush thinks that his quasi-denial of the charges will be enough to keep the faith of some undecided voters. But frankly, responding to a highly-respected bipartisan commission with an evasive semi-denial is probably not going to persuade anyone except the Republican faithful.
My best guess is that Bush himself (along with Cheney) is deeply in denial. It's the same phenomenon we saw with Reagan. When you believe in something with all your heart and then stake your reputation on it, letting go is the hardest thing to do.
So is that an excuse for Bush's misleading comments? Hell no. His remarks were embarrassing and unpresidential. Period. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
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