Saturday, June 26, 2004

Bush/Cheney Unveil New Campaign Slogan: “Go Fuck Yourself Kerry!”

From Today’s Washington Post:

Cheney said he "probably" used an obscenity in an argument Tuesday on the Senate floor with Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and added that he had no regrets. "I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it," Cheney told Neil Cavuto of Fox News. The vice president said those who heard the putdown agreed with him. "I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue."

I adore this line of reasoning, I really do. It’s okay because everybody else said it was. And it felt good. Ahh, there’s such sweet satisfaction in the vulgarity expressed of necessity! Next time I hope he sucker punches Leahy.

And now let’s turn our attention to Mr. Go Fuck Yourself’s continued assertions of an al Qaeda-Iraq connection. The Administration has quietly confessed that there was no al Qaeda-Iraq connection in regards to 9/11 because to make any bigger deal of it, to have unequivocally confessed that they’ve been conflating things, would run the risk of bringing untimely truths to those 69 percent of the public (according to a recent Harris poll) who believe Saddam Hussein was supporting the terrorist organization al Qaeda, which attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

The administration is now making a new and desperate attempt to show a “collaborative relationship” between the two. Not directly related to 9/11, of course, but a relationship to that great and all ecompassing amorphous: terror. Al Qaeda and Iraq were, no doubt, planning other (9/11) things, other (9/11) acts of terror. And should you choose to believe otherwise, even after Cheney mentions 9/11 in sentences both before and after making such assertions, then you've misunderstood him. Unfortunately, those pesky bastards over at the 9/11 Commission recently released a report, after reviewing all the information given to them, and were unable to find any evidence of a "collaborative relationship." So Mr. Go Fuck Yourself and his 'lil buddy had this to say:

This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and Al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of Al Qaeda, in the Sudan. There's numerous contacts between the two.

Ah, yes, "contacts." They’ve met. They had tea. But what about the actual levels of coooperation? Meeting is one thing. Meeting and then actually cooperating is yet another. But for Bush and Cheney, the validity of their pre-emptive war against Iraq (Iraq=the central front of the war against terror) now hinges on this "collaborative relationship." Saddam Hussein was, we're to believe, busy contacting al Qaeda and the two were planning horrific acts that would have eventually, had we not intervened with overwhelming force, led to acts of terror against us the likes of which not even 9/11 would compare.

Here’s Cheney on Fox from the other night:

CAVUTO: So, in your eyes, as well there is an unmistakable link between Al Qaeda and Iraq?
CHENEY: Absolutely.
CAVUTO: That seems to be — the vice president (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and John Kerry has been saying that has not been proven.
CHENEY: Well, they're wrong. And the fact is, if you go look at George Tenet's testimony before the Senate intel committee in the fall of '02, he talks about a relationship going back 10 years, to the early '90s.
There's a story on the front page of The New York Times this morning that talks about a link between Iraq and al Qaeda when Saddam Hussein was operating in the Sudan, which he did for many years before and moved to Afghanistan. We have the whole case of Zarqawi, who is today probably the biggest terrorist operating in Iraq, and the ongoing conflict there.
He originally was Jordanian. He was an associate, an al Qaeda associate. He was operating training camps in Afghanistan. He fled to Baghdad after we took Afghanistan.
Saddam Hussein knew he was in Baghdad because we arranged to have that information passed to — to a third country intelligence service. In Baghdad, he ran the poisons facility, largest poisons facility we've ever found that al Qaeda was operating up in northeastern Iraq. He had about two dozen associates with him in Baghdad from an outfit called Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which had merged with al Qaeda.

First, let’s take a look at that New York Times article Cheney mentions and draws from. He’s using the Times and its status as “the paper of record” to continue to bolster the Administration’s conflation/distortion campaign of an al-Qaeda-Iraq-9/11 collusion- hey, if the Times says this, its gotta be true! But the information source Cheney is really drawing from (and the Times article is reporting on) actually comes from a document obtained by the Iraqi National Congress, the organization led by neo-conservative favorite Ahmad Chalabi and "part of a trove that the group gathered after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government last year." It’s important to note here that much of the information passed on to us by the Iraqi National Congress has since been discredited and that the organization, with all its links to the Administration’s neo-conservative wing, has dramatically fallen from favor and was recently raided with the help of US forces. Cheney wants this information to seem like its a revelation, something the 9/11 commission, for whatever reason, wasn’t privy to. But the Times article goes on to say that the IRC document Cheney is drawing from seems to have already been reviewed by the 9/11 Commission and their conclusion, in regards to the al Qaeda-Iraqi meeting, was that no collaborative relationship resulted. Tom Shanker, the author of the Times article, writes:

The document provides evidence of communications between Mr. bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence, similar to that described in the Sept. 11 staff report released last week.
"Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime," the Sept. 11 commission report stated.
The Sudanese government, the commission report added, "arranged for contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda."
"A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan," it said, "finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded."
The Sept. 11 commission statement said there were reports of further contacts with Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan after Mr. bin Laden's departure from Sudan, "but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," it added.
It is not clear whether the commission knew of this document. After its report was released, Mr. Cheney said he might have been privy to more information than the commission had; it is not known whether any further information has changed hands.

Cheney, in the Fox interview quoted above, then breathlessly moves on to Zarqawi, who now seems to be the Administration’s new number one evil guy. Hell, with over 100,000 troops operating in Iraq, there’s even a good chance we’re going to kill him soon, so it’s wonderfully expedient to inflate him into “probably the biggest terrorist operating in Iraq,” and make sure everybody knows it. But as Peter Bergan points out in an editorial in today’s Times:

The central question the administration has failed to answer is: Was there guidance or direction from the Al Qaeda leadership to Zarqawi?" Mr. Cressey, the former counterterrorism official, told me. "The evidence presented so far is there was not." At a briefing on June 17, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld seemed to agree with that assessment, saying of Mr. Zarqawi that "someone could legitimately say he's not Al Qaeda."

And what about that poisons factory Cheney mentions?

What Mr. Cheney described as the "poisons factory"Mr. Zarqawi ran was actually in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq, an area protected by American jets since 1991. Mr. Rumsfeld had more control than Saddam Hussein over that part of Iraq.

And when Zarqawi was in Baghdad?

As for the medical treatment Mr. Zarqawi supposedly received in Baghdad, for some time American officials thought it was a leg amputation. However, the footage of Mr. Zarqawi in the video of Mr. Berg's execution seems to show a man in possession of both limbs. And last week Mr. Zarqawi released an audiotape on a jihadist Web site containing a blistering critique of Saddam Hussein, whom he described as a "devil" who "killed the innocent."

If all else fails, you can always shroud your sources in secrecy.

Asked if he knows information that the 9/11 commission does not know, Cheney replied, "Probably."

And so it goes.

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