Rumsfeld Says He Was Misunderstood on Iraq-Al Qaeda
2 hours, 9 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday he was misunderstood when he stated hours earlier that he knew of no "strong, hard evidence" linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda.
"I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between al Qaeda and Iraq," Rumsfeld said in a Web site statement issued following remarks he made to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday.
"Today at the Council, I even noted that 'when I'm in Washington, I pull out a piece of paper and say "I don't know, because I'm not in that business, but I'll tell you what the CIA thinks" and I read it'."
In the new statement, issued on the Pentagon Web site, Rumsfeld listed what he said were arguments for suggesting links between al Qaeda and Iraq under Saddam, including what the CIA regarded as "credible evidence" that al Qaeda leaders had sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction.
Rumsfeld, during a question-and-answer session before the Council on Foreign Relations, had been asked to explain the connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network -- one of the U.S. arguments for launching a war on Iraq.
He replied: "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."
Why, what ever could have prompted such a swift "correction"? Oh yeah, this:
Edwards, Cheney Set to Meet in Only Debate
Dick's never been shy about flogging that horse, has he? And I'm sure he'll do it again tonight. And Rummy had to be taken to the shed and reminded that he's not supposed to steal Big Dick's thunder.
What I'd really like John Edwards to do is to sit back and say, "I'd really like to hear the vice-president explain -- in detail -- the information he has that links Saddam Hussein and Osma bin Laden. I'll gladly hand over some of my alotted time for him to do it." And then, every time Cheney says, "We know [such and such]," for Edward to interrupt with, "Who is 'we' and how do they know it? You're not answering the question, Mr. Vice-President. Do you know the answer?"
Yes, it's a risk. No, it won't happen, even though it could. For whatever reason, people feel protective towards Bush. They don't feel the same way about Cheney. Edwards can get away with pushing him a lot harder. The only problem is that Cheney leans in over the table and starts talking to the host/moderator/reporter as though he's sharing deep information, and only when you pay attention and listen to the words do you realize that he's lying through his teeth. Not hedging his bets or putting a pretty spin on things, flat out lying, old-school Ari Fleischer style.
It could be an intersting confrontation tonight, but the thing to remember is that Cheney is going in knowing that he's got to restore the lustre of the administration after Bush's disastrous performance at last week's debate. The press, too, want to restore some gleam, and they'll favorably spin Big Dick's bullshit as "straight shooting". Bush was prickly because he's come to expect deference. Cheney's a thug who's not afraid to draw blood. In fact, he's probably hoping for it.