This afternoon, President Bush recycled the false claim he has made many times prior to and since the Iraq war began, inciting fear that Iraq has some connection to 9/11.
Prior to the war, Bush referred to Saddam Hussein “often in the same breath with Sept. 11,” reinforcing “an impression that persists among much of the American public.”
Today, Bush engaged in a similar rhetorical maneuver. “The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims,” Bush said.
“It was the second time in two weeks that Bush has made the link in an apparent attempt to transform lingering fear of another U.S. terrorist attack into backing for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq.” While many in the media gloss over such false statements, Jonathan Landay of McClatchy Newspapers debunked it, just as he did frequently prior to the war. Landay wrote that Bush’s claim is misleading on two counts:
1) Prior To The War, Al Qaeda Was Not Operating In Iraq. “Al Qaida in Iraq didn’t emerge until 2004. While it is inspired by Osama bin Laden’s violent ideology, there’s no evidence that the Iraq organization is under the control of the terrorist leader or his top aides, who are believed to be hiding in tribal regions of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.”
2) Even Now, Al Qaeda Is Not The Main Source Of Instability. “While U.S. intelligence and military officials view al Qaida in Iraq as a serious threat, they say the main source of violence and instability is an ongoing contest for power between majority Shiites and Sunnis, who dominated Saddam Hussein’s regime.”
False claims cultivated the war in Iraq, and unfortunately continue to sustain it.