Friday, June 18, 2004

In the Land of Make-Believe 

Via Zemblan patriot P.S.: According to Condoleezza Rice, there is no conflict whatsoever between administration claims of a link between Saddam and al Qaeda and the 9/11 Commission's finding that no such link existed -- when you pretend:
In publishing a report that cited no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 commission actually meant to say that Iraq had no control over the network, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

As the White House strove to curb potential damage to President Bush's credibility on Iraq, his closest aide on international security denied any inconsistency between the bipartisan panel's findings and Bush's insistence that a Saddam-Qaeda relationship existed.

"What I believe the 9-11 commission was opining on was operational control, an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq which we never alleged," Rice said in an interview with National Public Radio.

"The president simply outlined what we knew about what al Qaeda and Iraq had done together. Operational control to me would mean that he (Saddam) was, perhaps, directing what al Qaeda would do" . . . .

The chairman and vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission differed with Rice's characterization of their panel's findings in separate interviews with Reuters.

"We don't think there was any relationship whatsoever having to do with 9/11. Whether al Qaeda and Saddam were cooperating on other things against the United States, we don't know," Commission Chairman Thomas Kean said.

Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said he was unaware of anyone ever claiming that Saddam had directed al Qaeda . . . .

The Sept. 11 commission's staff report said there had been contact between Iraqis and al Qaeda members including a Sudan meeting between al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officers.

But the panel concluded that Iraq never responded to a bin Laden request for help and said there was no evidence of a "collaborative relationship."
According to later comments by Ms. Rice, the commission also meant to say that Saddam Hussein was not the alter ego or "secret identity" of al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. The administration, she noted, has always taken pains to point out that the two are distinct individuals -- a stance that would have been fully corroborated by the commission, had it said what it meant.

There is, however, substantial evidence that both men are "brain slaves" to the same "brilliant but unspeakably malevolent hive mind."

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