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13.3.03

For those who wish the media would come out and say it when someone (by which they usually mean "President Bush") lies, a story from the Christian Science Monitor:

The Impact Of Bush Linking 9/11 And Iraq

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime.


For the most part I agree with the obvious implication of this story, that it's wrong to support the war because you think Saddam was behind September 11, and wrong to encourage that belief in order to rally support. It gets irritating to hear about September 11 all the time from some hawks, and I sympathize with a protest sign I saw somewhere that said "don't hijack our grief." But at the same time I can't entirely blame Bush for bringing up the attacks. While there may be no connection between Saddam and September 11, the attack on the World Trade Center is the type of scenario that hawks motivated by national security concerns fear. It provides a poignant reminder of the sort of devastation that can be wrought by an attack on America. While I'm skeptical of the claim that the war will reduce the threat of a future September 11-like event that is carried out by Iraq, I can accept that it's a plausible argument given the levels of uncertainty surrounding nearly everything we know about the situation. And if we grant the legitimacy of the argument, there's nothing any more disingenuous about invoking September 11 than there is in doves' invocation of the horrors of war. The problem comes when the argument slips into blaming Iraq for September 11.

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