The Washington Post’s Ann Kornblut catches Sarah Palin using the 9/11 anniversary to tie Iraq to 9/11:
Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.”
The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.
Bill Kristol thinks this is totally unfair, calling Kornblut’s interpretation “either stupid or malicious“:
It makes no sense for Kornblut to claim that Palin is arguing here that Saddam Hussein’s regime carried out 9/11—obviously Palin isn’t saying that our soldiers are now going over to Iraq to fight Saddam’s regime. Palin isn’t linking Saddam to 9/11. She’s linking al Qaeda in Iraq to al Qaeda.
Kornblut doesn’t claim that Palin is arguing that “Saddam Hussein’s regime carried out 9/11,” (even people like Bill Kristol and John McCain have stopped making that claim), rather Kornblut simply reports that Palin falsely asserted that the U.S. in Iraq to fight “the enemies who planned and carried out” the 9/11 attacks.
More generally, Kornblut correctly recognizes that Palin — having obviously been coached in this by McCain’s neocon brain trust — is now engaged in the same sort of meticulous deception that has characterized George Bush, Bill Kristol, and John McCain’s advocacy of the Iraq war all along, manipulating Americans’ fear and anger and confusion about 9/11 in order to gin up support for a radical agenda to reorder the Middle East.
Now that that agenda has proven to be a disaster, imbecilic in its conception as it was incompetent in its execution, people like Kristol are reduced to parsing language in the morning paper. But even though a strong majority of Americans now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake, Kristol and McCain are part of a small extremist minority — the bulk of whom now work with John McCain’s campaign — who still believe in the underlying premise of the war, which is that an appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks was to invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.