Why Doesn’t Bush Kill Saddam-9/11 Meme?

Why Doesn’t Bush Kill Saddam-9/11 Meme?


Breaking news…George Bush says that Saddam was not responsible for 9/11.

Now, to be completely fair, he’s said similar things before, but they’ve always been couched with notions like, “Well, but he did have ties to Al Qaeda…” or he would mention Saddam and 9/11 in many of the same sentences in the same speech. You know, stuff that makes it clear the two aren’t linked.

Of course, the administration says this isn’t their fault. They blame the media for blurring the line.

I’m sorry, but that’s crazy.

Look at this Zogby poll released on September 5, 2006 which found that 46% of those asked still thought there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11. This is how that breaks down on a party affiliation basis: Democrats: 32%; Republicans: 65%; Independents: 39%.

What does this prove? Well, come on…Republicans overwhelmingly think that Saddam and 9/11 were linked? It’s the “liberal” media doing that? Unlikely…

So then, let’s revisit that idea of the media blurring the line. In the same interview where Cheney accuses the media of doing just that, and saying the administration has never said Saddam was responsible, we still get this (linked above):

Cheney, however, insisted the case was not closed into whether there was an Iraq connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. “We don’t know.”

The vice president noted a disputed report about an alleged meeting between an Iraqi intelligence official and lead hijacker Mohamed Atta in the Czech Republic in April 2001. “We’ve never been able to confirm or to knock it down,” Cheney said.

But who was able to knock it down? Well, the 9/11 Commission report:

The 9/11 commission, however, said in one of three reports issued this week that “based on the evidence available â€â€? including investigation by Czech and U.S. authorities plus detainee reporting â€â€? we do not believe that such a meeting occurred.”

Cheney’s response?

“It doesn’t add anything from my perspective. I mean, I still am a skeptic.”

So that exchange was from 2004. Check out what Cheney said just 2 days ago on Meet The Press:

…MR. RUSSERT: All right. Now the president has been asked, “What did Iraq have to do with the attack on the World Trade Center?” and he said “nothing.” Do you agree with that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: I do. So it’s not…

MR. RUSSERT: So it’s case, case closed.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We’ve never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11.

MR. RUSSERT: And the meeting with Atta did not occur?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. I mean, we’ve never been able to, to, to link it, and the FBI and CIA have worked it aggressively. I would say, at this point, nobody has been able to confirm…

“We’ve never been able to confirm…”…”We don’t know…”…”Nobody has been able to confirm…”

My questions are pretty simple. Why doesn’t Bush come out, lay down the law and say “No, Saddam had absolutely no connection to 9/11”? They say they’re not politicizing the WoT, so why don’t they make it crystal clear? Obviously they started this meme…so why won’t they end this alarming piece of misinformation that 46% of the voting population, and 65% of their base believes?

There’s only one person who has the power to kill this meme once and for all, but he simply won’t do it.


  • http://asbestos-lunga.blogspot.com Kris

    I think bush likes to let saddam sit in the balise. besides that if he would then say no he had no involvment then people would feel he is inocent when he is not.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    Kris…your comment was borderline incoherent.

    And if you link to a spam blog again, I’ll delete your comment.


  • bernie

    It sounded to me like the President did say very clearly there is no connection between Saddam and 9-11. How could he make it clearer? Seems to me the problem is uninformed people. There are 3 separate discussions rolled into one here.
    1. Saddam and 9-11, clearly no involvement.
    2. Saddam and AQ, debateable, depends on how involved Zarqawi was with AQ prior to 2002, or how “affiliated” Ansar al-Islam and JTJ were with AQ.
    3. Saddam and Terror. Yes, financing suicide bombers, supporting Ansar al-Islam and JTJ, ect.

    Too often these three issues are lumped together to support or oppose the war. Too many people don’t listen to the question when asked by pollsters.

    46% thought there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11
    33% believe Bush did it
    The remaining 21% who knows??

  • http://sporkmonger.com/ Bob Aman

    Justin, just unlink his comment. Leaving the link intact is a bad idea.

  • sleipner

    The problem is that the only minute level of power Bush still retains is in disinformation. Since there is overwhelming evidence now showing that there is NO connection between Saddam and 9/11, he has to admit that, but the method by which he does so casts doubt upon that admission. So those who actually believed his earlier bullshit about Saddam and 9/11 don’t really hear his refutation, but his hesitancy, and stick with their original belief in his lie.

    Anyone who actually believes that Bush didn’t deliberately edit and maybe even rewrite the intelligence information to justify the war in Iraq seriously needs to have their heads examined.

  • http://warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    During a press conference in late 2003, around the time when “pockets of resistance” were becoming a full-on insurgency, and the democrats began to change their tune about Iraq, President Bush stronglyemphasized: “This administration never said Saddam was responsible for 9/11.” So this is not breaking news, and mentioning links to Al-Queda is not some devious form of deflection because it is simply the truth.

    There is a more ephemeral link between Saddam and 9/11, and now this administration has finally come out to say what has been the truth all along: that western civilization is at war with a world-wide Islamic fascist movement with its origins in the middle-east, and often supported or ignored by dictators and theocrats from Somalia to Iran.

  • http://eclecticfloridian.blogspot.com/2006/05/george-dont-you-get-it.html Eclectic Floridian

    The Bush 9/11 speech was a masterpiece.

    He admitted that Iraq/Saddam had no link to 9/11. He then proceeded to defend the Iraq invasion as part of the war on terror, thus re-establishing the link he had just denied. Masterful.

    You know, “Iraq/Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, but winning in Iraq is necessary to win the war on terror.”

    The impression left is that defending our Iraq actions on 9/11 implies a link between the two.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    Come on people…for those of you who are saying, “But he said it!”…get real. Of course he “said it”, but he hasn’t come out with full force and “said it.” That’s the issue here.

    Seriously…how can 65% of Republicans still believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11? How can that be? Answer me that.

  • Brian in MA

    How can 33% of the people in America believe that Bush set up 9/11, Justin.

    I’ll tell you why: Ignorance, fanatical rantings, and conspiracy theorists run amok.

  • http://warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    36% of Americans believe the Bush administration was behind 9/11. I guarantee you that the registered voters of that group all vote for the democratic party(does that mean >65% of democrats ? !!). Why doesn’t howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi come out in full force and reject the conspiracy nutters?

    Since Bush has always said “it,” and the Democrats (except for several cogressional candidates!) have always rejected the 9/11 conspiracies, at what point do we say that Americans are coming up with this stuff on their own, or at least talkin’ sh*t when they take a poll?

  • http://warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    You stole my thunder Brian!!, just as I was writing my comments.

    Also…look at those zogby nubers again. 32% of Democrats and 39% of Independents also think there was a link between Saddam and 9/11. Those are substantial numbers…It does not appear to be an exclusively Republican problem if fully 1/3 of democrats believe the same thing.

  • sleipner

    It just means that the middle third of Democrats are less gullible than the middle third of Republicans 😉

  • http://maverickviews.blogspot.com/ Alan Stewart Carl

    The problem here is that there very much IS a link between Iraq and 9/11. We went into Iraq BECAUSE of 9/11. Not because Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 but because 9/11 demonstrated that it’s not such a great idea to let Mid East threats just linger. Now, whether Iraq was an actual threat and whehter going into Iraq was the right response to 9/11 is debatable. But it was very much a decision made because of 9/11.

    So, as much as Bush might say that Saddam was not involved in 9/11, he’s still going to say we are in Iraq because of 9/11. If 65% of Republicans (and a lesser percent of Dems and Indies) are too ignorant or lazy to understand the difference, then that is really on them at this point.

  • http://nykrindc.blogspot.com nykrindc

    1. Saddam and 9-11, clearly no involvement.
    2. Saddam and AQ, debateable, depends on how involved Zarqawi was with AQ prior to 2002, or how “affiliated� Ansar al-Islam and JTJ were with AQ.
    3. Saddam and Terror. Yes, financing suicide bombers, supporting Ansar al-Islam and JTJ, ect.

    Actually, the recent report stated that

    1) there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11

    2) no connection between Saddam and Zarqawi, and

    3) no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda.

    The only terrorism Saddam is guilty of sponsoring was that directed against Israel by Palestinian groups. Those Palestinian groups, as vile as their actions are, were not the people who attacked us on 9/11. The war between Israel and the Palestinians is a completely different issue and has different reasons than our war against al Qaeda.

    Here’s part of the article I linked to above:

    Senate report on Iraq questions Saddam link with terrorists

    WASHINGTON â€â€? There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida,according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush’s justification for invading Iraq.

    Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.

    Republicans countered that there was little new in the report and Democrats were trying to score election-year points with it.

    The declassified document released Friday by the intelligence committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

    It concludes that postwar findings do not support a 2002 intelligence community report that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, possessed biological weapons or ever developed mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents.

    The New York Times

    Published: September 8, 2006

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 � The Central Intelligence Agency last fall repudiated the idea that there were pre-war ties between Saddam Hussein’s government and the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, according to a report issued on Friday by the Senate intelligence committee.

    The disclosure undercuts continuing claims by the Bush administration that such ties existed, and that they provided evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Republican-controlled committee also sharply criticized the administration for its reliance on the Iraqi National Congress during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

    In fact, the Senate investigation concluded that Mr. Hussein regarded Al Qaeda as a threat rather as a potential ally, and that the Iraqi intelligence service “actively attempted to locate and capture al-Zarqawi without success.’’

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    It does not appear to be an exclusively Republican problem if fully 1/3 of democrats believe the same thing.

    Of course not, and I didn’t suggest that. But since they’re pretty much double any other affiliation, do you think those Republicans are getting this message from Bush and company or from the “liberal” media? And no, that’s not a rhetorical question. I’d like you to answer it Jimmy and please give reasons.

  • http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    To be honest with you, I don’t know why a disproportionate number of republicans say there is a link between Saddam and AQ, nor do I know why a disproportionate number of democrats believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories.

    Perhaps Alan’s point is the answer; that Bush supporters (and those hawkish democrats) want to give a positive answer to that poll question because of the geopolitical / ideological link in the context of a greater war on Islamic fascism. Perhaps those polled percieve the question as synonimous with, “a link between Iraq and Al-Queda.” Or the polled feel subconsicously threatened by the question, as if the polster is trying to get them to admit the war in Iraq is difinitively unjustified…I dont’k know! Maybe they are just nutty and believe its true!

    Whatever the case, I see no evidence that anyone in the administaration is tacitly supporting a groupthink amongst their constituants that Saddam played a direct role in the planning or execution of the 9/11 attack. I don’t know of any republican politician who perpetuates the idea, and whenever the question is asked to them if there is a direct link between 9/11 and Saddam, it is always rebuked.

    As long as the republicans are not pandering to, or promoting this meme, then I don’t think they necessarily have any extra responsibility to “come out in full force and ‘say it.'” Just like its not the Howard Dean’s responsibility to use DNC funds and organize the “debunking 9/11 conspiracies symposium.”

    Both the DNC and the GOP do have a reposibility to make sure their candidates do not endorse these false conspiracies. As I see it, this is becoming more a problem with the Democrats because of their pandeering to the Kos Krowd, and running congressional candidates such as Cynthia McKinney and Bob Bowman.

  • http://nykrindc.blogspot.com nykrindc


    What about the Vice President, he is already in a position of power and has a responsibilty to tell the truth yet even while admitting that his own theory is wrong (i.e. Saddam-al Qaeda link was wrong) he continues to say, “We don’t know. I mean, we’ve never been able to, to, to link it, and the FBI and CIA have worked it aggressively. I would say, at this point, nobody has been able to confirm…” That is not a clear answer. The Senate report said there is no link.

    Even the president has tried to avoid this and link by association by stating, there was no link between Hussein and al Qaeda but there is a link between Iraq and the War on Terror. Both statements are true, but he does not say that it was his policy to invade Iraq that made Iraq a front in the war on terror. Moreover, as much as Iraq is a front in the war on terror, it is unlikely that al Qaeda could get much of a foothold there once the US leaves given all the competing players who would jump into the fray, from Iran to the Saudis to Turkey and more. At most, it would become a very unstable area. The biggest front in the war on terror is Afghanistan and juding by recent reports, we are loosing. That is where Bin Laden was on 9/11, that is where we went to capture him, and that is where he is still hiding, somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Iraq is important, but Afghanistan is far much more.

  • Mike Kennedy

    Just to set the record straight:

    There were numerous links to al-Qaeda since the end of the first Gulf War. In 1992, Hasan al-Turabi, leader of the Islamic revolution in Sudan, set up a meeting between Iraqi intelligence services and al-Qaeda with the goal of creating a “common strategy” for deposing pro-Western Arab governments. Those talks fell apart but there were later contacts, according to the 9/11 report on page 66. Furthermore, Iraq intelligence services have found documents that prove meetings in Iraq between al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri.

    All this according to Lawrence Wright’s masterful book “The Looming Tower. al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.” It is based on more than 600 interviews that took the author to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan and Europe. Every American should read this book.

  • sfcmac

    Hussein din’t have any direct tie to 9/11. SO WHAT? The Germans and Italians didn’t have a direct connection to Pearl Harbor, either. When you go after the enemy, you go after their allies, as well.


    “The redacted version of “Saddam and Terrorism” is the most definitive public assessment to date from the Harmony program, the trove of “exploitable” documents, audio and video records, and computer files captured in Iraq. On the basis of about 600,000 items, the report lays out Saddam’s willingness to use terrorism against American and other international targets, as well as his larger state sponsorship of terror, which included harboring, training and equipping jihadis throughout the Middle East.

    “The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region gave Saddam the opportunity to make terrorism, one of the few tools remaining in Saddam’s ‘coercion’ toolbox, not only cost effective but a formal instrument of state power,” the authors conclude. Throughout the 1990s, the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) cooperated with Hamas; the Palestine Liberation Front, which maintained a Baghdad office; Force 17, Yasser Arafat’s private army; and others. The IIS gave commando training for members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the organization that assassinated Anwar Sadat and whose “emir” was Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command when the group merged with al Qaeda in 1998.

    At the very least the report should dispel the notion that outwardly “secular” Saddam would never consort with religious types like al Qaeda. A pan-Arab nationalist, Saddam viewed radical Islamists as potential allies, and they likewise. According to a 1993 memo, Saddam decided to “form a group to start hunting Americans present on Arab soil; especially Somalia,” where al Qaeda was then working with warlords against U.S. humanitarian forces. Saddam also trained Sudanese fighters in Iraq.

    The Pentagon report cites this as “a tactical example” of their cooperation. When Saddam “was ordering action in Somalia aimed at the American presence, Osama bin Laden was doing the same thing.” Saddam took an interest in “far-flung terrorist groups . . . to locate any organization whose services he might use in the future.” The Harmony documents “reveal that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al Qaeda — as long as that organization’s near-term goals supported Saddam’s long-term version.”

    For 20 years, such “support” included using Fedayeen Saddam training camps to school terrorists, especially Palestinians but also non-Iraqis “directly associated” with al Qaeda, continuing up to the fall of Baghdad. Saddam also provided financial support and weapons, amounting to “a state-directed program of significant scale.” In July 2001, the regime began patronizing a terror cartel in Bahrain calling itself the Army of Muhammad, which, according to an Iraqi memo, “is under the wings of bin Laden.”
    Link: http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB120631495290958169.html

    I would have leveled at least half of the Middle East on 12 September 2001, but I’m a former Soldier, not a politician.