Ok, so some people may think the title is preposterously obvious? I have met far too many who say “of course we are in Iraq because of 9/11” According to polling data, most Americans believe we entered Iraq for reasons related to 9/11.
Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.
Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.
The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.
President Bush and members of his administration suggested a link between the two in the months before the war in Iraq. Claims of possible links have never been proven, however.
Veteran pollsters say the persistent belief of a link between the attacks and Saddam could help explain why public support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has been so resilient despite problems establishing a peaceful country.
The president frequently has called the Iraq war an important centerpiece in the United States’ war on terror. But some members of the administration have said recently they don’t believe there is a direct link.
The Post poll of 1,003 adults was taken Aug. 7-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Initially and during the events leading up to the Iraq war, I furiously spoke with people who would not waver from their belief that the Iraq war was retribution for 9/11. In retrospect I better understand why uninformed Americans might believe that Iraq was a war based on the attacks of 9/11. Despite public belief, congressional support and political support were based on three major premises:
1) Iraq has obtained weapons of mass destruction and may use them at will.
2) Saddam Hussein has purchased nuclear material for the purpose of nuclear weapons development.
3) Iraq was sponsoring terrorists including al-Qaeda members and that Iraq may provide these terrorists with the weapons mentioned above for attacks on US targets.
Though none of these calls to war directly include 9/11, the context in which they were often mentioned was apparently sufficiently indistinct from 9/11. In this hazy context many Americans disillusioned by 9/11 stopped discerning between the two events. The context I speak of were frequent speeches made by Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush which invoked 9/11, al-Qaeda and Iraq in the same conversation and often as intrinsically intertwined events. This was a distinction that has proven to be difficult for some Americans, below is some video showing why that might be the case:
Now given the context of his full conversation, which I will provide in a quote below, it does seem clear that he did not directly indict Saddam Hussein of an association with 9/11. However, he specifically mentions says that there is new information coming to light about the connection between 9/11 and Iraq. He then goes on to mention and validate as “pretty well confirmed” a meeting between Mohammed Atta, a 9/11 ring leader, and an Iraqi intelligence officer. His false confirmation is, at the very least, a direct implication of involvement though not a direct accusation of involvement. This is a the smoke and mirror tactic often employed by the very secretive Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld which I believe led to the confusion and misleading of the American public.
RUSSERT: Let me turn to Iraq. When you were last on this program, September 16, five days after the attack on our country, I asked you whether there was any evidence that Iraq was involved in the attack and you said no.
Since that time, a couple of articles have appeared which I want to get you to react to. The first: The Czech interior minister said today that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with Mohammed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the September 11 terrorists attacks on the United States, just five months before the synchronized hijackings and mass killings were carried out.
And this from James Woolsey, former CIA director: “We know that at Salman Pak, in the southern edge of Baghdad, five different eye witnesses–three Iraqi defectors and two American U.N. inspectors–have said, and now there are aerial photographs to show it, a Boeing 707 that was used for training of hijackers, including non-Iraqi hijackers, trained very secretly to take over airplanes with knives.”
And we have photographs. As you can see that little white speck, and there it is.
RUSSERT: The plane on the ground in Iraq used to train non-Iraqi hijackers.
Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?
CHENEY: Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that’s been pretty well confirmed, that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.
Assuming that the polling data is correct and most Americans did, near the time of the Iraqi war invasion, believe that Iraq and 9/11 were intricately tied together those very Americans were set up for a major disappointment when they learned this connection to be false. The heavy criticism of more observant and discerning Americans about this important distinction as well as general criticism for the abysmal post-war planning of the Bush administration slowly brought this truth to bear.
So our military, politicians and some discerning citizens chose to enter this war based on the reports of weapons of mass destruction, the nuclear threat, purported ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq and perhaps for humanitarian reasons as well (genocide of the Kurds). The public supported this invasion due, in large part, to Iraq’s perceived ties to the 9/11 attack and to a lesser degree the other points mentioned above. Once Saddam’s military had been disassembled we find every “fact” or “truth” or “they have xxx” pushed by the Bush administration to be false. As it later turns out, the Downing street memos and information from intelligence officials demonstrates that this was pushed by the Bush administration despite strong evidence that all of these assertions were unverifiable or patently false. There were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no nuclear threat, there were no al-Qaeda ties but there were humanitarian reasons. I completely disagree with Bush’s assertion that we are spreading freedom because we simply have no cause to traverse the world, forcing our system of government upon other sovereign nations consuming the lives of our soldiers and wearing the worlds tolerance thin.
Then the tide starts to turn. Bush’s popularity plummets. Polls regarding his administration and their handling of the Iraq war, for which there was apparently little to no post-war planning, plummet. Hindsight shows that many Americans believed an idiot who took advantage of his people in a disillusioned and vulnerable state of blind rage, fear and unfailing patriotism. Patriotism and fear that were preyed upon with all manner of unconstitutional abuses of executive power. The question then becomes why are we there now? Evidence now suggests that Saddam Hussein, in his ruthless authoritarian regime, suppressed civil disorder rippling under the surface of Iraq. Saddam Hussein also suppressed the gun toting, fundamentalist, opium bandits passing themselves off as terrorist albeit at the end of a gun. The US took down Saddam’s regime and prosecuted its leadership. Obliterating Saddam’s regime started a civil war, took human rights and women’s rights into a state of post-apocalyptic hell, generated international derision and hatred towards the US and provided a breeding ground for the opium growing terrorists. Senator Biden has called this a self-fulfilling prophecy in which al-Qaeda did not previously exist in Iraq and now does as the result of US policy. It seems preposterous then that Bush would argue that the reason we should stay in Iraq is to bring order, freedom and stable government to the region by militarily defeating the insurgency and notably al-Qaeda! What? Really? Seriously? Was that the argument I heard tonight when Bush addressed the nation and told Americans that he would keep troops in Iraq and force this condition on the next president?
Despite my tirade I am not anti-republican but I have never felt so ashamed, enraged and defiant of an American president until George W. Bush. What really upsets me at the end of Bush’s justification for continuing to send the sons and daughters of this country into a hotbed of violent hatred while ignoring our crumbling educational system, health care system, infrastructure and constitutional rights?