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The mother of all walkbacks: Bush admits Iraq had "nothing" to do with 9/11

The transcript:

[BUSH] The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East. They were …

Q: What did Iraqi have to do with that?

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q: The attacks upon the World Trade Center.

Bush: Nothing.

Right. OK, got that part.

Except for it’s part of —— and nobody’s ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a —— Iraq —— the lesson of September the 11th is: Take threats before they fully materialize, Ken.

Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.

Boy, is Bush parsing his words, and not about a blowjob, either. No, they never did say Hussein “ordered the attack.” But they did justify the war on Iraq by claiming “overwhelming evidence” that the two were “connected.”

AP via USA Today. For those who came in late:

Bush administration quotes linking Iraq and al-Qaeda

Comments by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice alleging links between al-Qaeda and Iraq under Saddam Hussein:

2002

Rice, Sept. 25: “There clearly are contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented; there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there’s a relationship here. … And there are some al-Qaeda personnel who found refuge in Baghdad.”

Bush, Oct. 7: “We know that Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade” and “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”

2003

Bush, State of the Union address, Jan. 28: “And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda.”

Bush, Feb. 6: “Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al-Qaeda” and “Iraq has also provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.”

2004

Cheney, Jan. 21: “I continue to believe — I think there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I’m very confident that there was an established relationship there.”

Cheney, Monday: Saddam Hussein “had long-established ties with al-Qaeda.”

BUSH: I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill, to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

And one way to defeat that ---- you know, defeat resentment ---- is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government.

Desperate people sometimes blurt out the truth. True even for Bush. I really like that part about giving hope through a "form of government," too. If only we had a Constitutional government in this country, what hope we would feel!

NOTE Thanks to Kossck Bob Johnson; I wanted to be able to cite the transcript before posting.

NOTE TPM has the video. Definitely a change in his meds.

UPDATE We look in vain for coverage. Of course. That darned liberal media!

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