On Rush Limbaugh’s radio show this afternoon, Vice President Dick Cheney attacked the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) for refusing to use the phrase “global war on terror.” Cheney said Skelton exhibited “flawed thinking” and was “dead wrong on this.”
As ThinkProgress reported, in attacking Skelton, Cheney is also attacking President Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers — all of whom have stated that the “global war on terror” is misnamed. Rumsfeld explained:
It is not a ‘war on terror.’ Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and (through) a small group of clerics, impose their dark vision on all the people they can control. So ‘war on terror’ is a problem for me.
In his defense of the phrase “global war on terror,” Cheney repeated his long-running canard that Iraq was linked to 9/11. “There’s no way you can segment out” the war against terror networks, Cheney said, because al Qaeda (through Zarqawi) was “operating in Iraq” before “we ever launched into Iraq.”
In fact, last year’s Senate Intelligence Committee report found, “Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi.”
LIMBAUGH: Yesterday I read that Ike Skelton, who chairs — I forget the name of the committee — in the next defense appropriations bill for fiscal ’08 is going to actually remove the phrase global war on terror, because they don’t think it’s applicable. They want to refer to conflicts as individual skirmishes. But they’re going to try to rid the defense appropriation bill — and, thus, official government language — of that term. Does that give you any indication of their motivation or what they think of the current plight in which the country finds itself?
CHENEY: Sure — well, it’s just flawed thinking. I like Ike Skelton; I worked closely with Ike when I was Secretary of Defense. He’s Chairman of the Armed Services Committee now. Ike is a good man. He’s just dead wrong about this, though. Think about — just to give you one example, Rush, remember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, Al Qaida affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for Al Qaida, then migrated — after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the Al Qaida operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene, and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June. He’s the guy who arranged the bombing of the Samarra Mosque that precipitated the sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni. This is Al Qaida operating in Iraq. And as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.
There’s no way you can segment out and say, well, we’ll fight the war on terror in Pakistan, or in Afghanistan, but we can separate Iraq, that’s not really in any way, shape, or form, related. That’s just dead wrong. Bin Laden, himself, has said, this is a central battle in the war on terror.