With a Nixonian flair for irreality, President George W. Bush today denied the findings of the September 11 Commission that there was no contact between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda prior to 9/11, that, in fact, the well known differences between Baathism and Islamic fundamentalism undermined any possible connection between the two. During an exchange with the press at the conclusion of a Cabinet meeting, Mr. Bush said, well, here’s the exchange:
Q Mr. President, why does the administration continue to insist that Saddam had a relationship with al Qaeda, when even you have denied any connection between Saddam and September 11th. And now the September 11th Commission says that there was no collaborative relationship at all.
THE PRESIDENT: The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. 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.
I always said that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He was a threat because he was a sworn enemy to the United States of America, just like al Qaeda. He was a threat because he had terrorist connections — not only al Qaeda connections, but other connections to terrorist organizations; Abu Nidal was one. He was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi, who is still killing innocent inside of Iraq.
No, he was a threat, and the world is better off and America is more secure without Saddam Hussein in power.
Of course, there was no follow up saying that Abu Nidal was not associated with al Qaeda or that there is no evidence Zarqawi was in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion made the country a front in the war with al Qaeda.
In short, the lies seem to be eating away at his judgment at an alarming rate. The pathological inability to acknowledge mistakes make it impossible for the nation to learn how to fight this war more effectively. Any rational person would, confronted with overwhelming evidence, accept the truth, but for Mr. Bush it is a matter of faith and preventing any questions about that faith in his own perception that prevents him from acknowledging the reality, that his policies have amplified the threat to the United States by a magnitude of order.
The lights are on, but is anyone home?