Bush and Cheney Stick with the Cover Story
On Thursday both President Bush and Vice President Cheney stuck with their assertions of a close tie between Saddam Hussein and Usamah Bin Laden. Cheney even had the nerve to attack the New York Times for daring to report the findings of the 9/11 commission that there was no operational involvement of Iraq in September 11 (something that even Bush had earlier admitted when pushed).
Cheney as much as admitted that he gets his news on these things from the National Review, a rightwing magazine that is not known for having real experts on the Arab world, the sort who know Arabic and have lived there, on the staff.
Bush took cover in the 1994 Sudan meetings between al-Qaeda and Iraqi secret police, which went nowhere.
These two top leaders have been successful in misleading the American public in the past by using innuendo mixed with falsehoods (Cheney said, “We know where the WMD is” and Bush alleged Niger uranium purchases that the CIA knew were false). I suppose they think that mere repetition will somehow hypnotize the public yet again.
I doubt it will work. Before, they had enormous credibility as political leaders with the press, in part because of 9/11. That has begun collapsing. And even the American public, which doesn’t pay much attention to foreign news, has started figuring out that it was misled into a misadventure that could still end in catastrophe.
Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld admitted that he had a prisoner entered into the Iraqi prison system without recording it, keeping the prisoner anonymous and unknown to the Red Cross. Apparently the prisoner ended up being forgotten in virtual solitary confinement. No doubt he was a bad guy, but it is hard to see how this procedure made anyone safer.
The episode is further fodder for widespread suspicions that Rumsfeld authorized at least in a general way the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghuraib.