Al Franken's newest effort to deflate the political right is called Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them. I finished the book in about 48 hours. In it, Frankin looks at some of the worst participants in the politics of personal destructions, like Ann "liberals hate America" Coulter, Bill "Can't tell a Peabody from a Polk Award" O'Reilly and Sean "[American Taliban John] Lindh converted from anything-goes liberal agnosticism to hardcore Middle Eastern radical Islam" Hannity. Oh, he has a word or two about (political advisor) Karl Rove, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.
Lies is similar in tone to Franken's previous effort Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot, but this time around the attacks are just bit piqued. This comes through in the more bitter than funny analysis of the Paul Wellstone's memorial service. Franken was at the memorial service that became infamously charactized as a sickening political rally over a corpse. Some claimed "20,000 people" booed Trent Lott and other high-profile Republicans who had come to pay their respects. Actually, only Lott received a smattering of catcalls, but that's not how the story was reported and embellished by the "liberal media."
There's lots of well-documented and fun information in Franken's book. In these fictional times, it's nice to hear a new story for a change.
On the heels of finnishing the book, I found this article on the Voice of America news site.
«Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration had never accused ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of being involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said there was no indication of Iraqi involvement in the attacks. A recent Washington Post poll said more than two-thirds of Americans believe the ousted Iraqi leader was involved.»
Wow. I mean, wow. I'm I misremembering this year? Let's see.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Bush appear to be suggesting a link between Hussein and WMD:
«In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.
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.»
From Fair.org comes the report of what former General Wesley Clark said to Tim Russert that there was an effort to link Hussein and 9-11.
«CLARK: "There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein."
RUSSERT: "By who? Who did that?"
CLARK: "Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.' I said, 'But--I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence."»
From Middle East Information Center comes this gem.
«Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney was referring to a meeting that Czech officials said took place in Prague in April 2000. That allegation was the most direct connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks. But this summer's congressional report on the attacks states, "The CIA has been unable to establish that [Atta] left the United States or entered Europe in April under his true name or any known alias."
Bush, in his speeches, did not say directly that Hussein was culpable in the Sept. 11 attacks. But he frequently juxtaposed Iraq and al Qaeda in ways that hinted at a link. In a March speech about Iraq's "weapons of terror," Bush said: "If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001, showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction."»
The UN Wire has this to say:
«U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today the United States did not go to war with Iraq because it had discovered new evidence that Iraq was producing banned weapons but because it regarded existing evidence differently than it had before September 2001.
"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit" of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, Rumsfeld said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light . through the prism of our experience on 9-11" (Reuters , July 9).»
Why have we been searching for WMD in Iraq if we had no new evidence at all? We could have just let Blix continue to paw around the desert for another five years.
So the US invaded Iraq because Saddam was bad or, more likely, an inconvenient man. Iraq made the US "jumpy." Yes, there where UN sanctions in place that gave the UN (and hence the US) a legal pretext to help Iraq disarm (but why was it urgent to launch the attack now?). Yes, the Hussein regime was a brutal autocracy. Yes, I'm personally happy that monster is gone from office. No, I don't think the means (lying or at least serious misleading the public into a war) justifies the ends.
UPDATE: The Clarke quote is highly contraversial. Take a look at this spinsanity analysis of the contraversy.