October 06, 2004

The Best They Can Do? Part II

So the lefty blogs were tuned into the Veep debate last night. And their vast, throbbing fact-checking prowess was mobilized and sent charging into action by what?

Leftyblogs both large and lilliputian aroused their vast ire over...

...over Dick Cheney having been at a prayer breakfast with John Edwards, when he said they'd never met.

They even have pictures!

The answer is fairly simple; John Edwards was a non-entity in the Senate, a lightweight who has left very shallow electoral footsteps.

But hey, leftyblogs - great fact-checking! Maybe you can get to work on the memogate papers...

Posted by Mitch at October 6, 2004 01:29 AM | TrackBack

How clueless do you have to be not to realize that Cheney's point hit home because it was about Senate attendance, not prayer breakfasts?

This is one step shy of the Dems responding: Ah-ha! See? They met one time when Cheney played Santa Claus, and Edwards sat on his lap! We even found a picture!

They further Cheney's point even when they attempt to refute it.

Posted by: Doug at October 6, 2004 09:01 AM

Doug's right on. It was hilarious last night watching Kos and others fall all over themselves saying "See, Cheney lied!" By admitting that the only two times they have met were a prayer breakfast and Libby Dole's swearing in, the Dem's make Cheney's point for him: He never shows up for work.
That's probably why Edwards didn't refute the point during the debate -- Cheney would have hammered him on it with something like "I have never actually seen you doing your job."

Posted by: chris at October 6, 2004 10:20 AM

Cheney said many things that weren't true at the debate. This was just the most obvious lie.

The DNC has already connected Cheney's falsehood with his larger pattern of connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda in the face of all available evidence...which he also said he didn't do last night.

Watch Cheney versus Reality:

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 6, 2004 10:55 AM

Hey, it's not our fault Dick Cheney lied. And no, it's not just about never meeting John Edwards--although he said he'd "never met" John Edwards, not that he'd never seen him around the Senate--but the fact that he lied about whether he'd ever claimed an Iraq-al Qaeda tie or the fact that he shaded the truth by trying to add Iraqis to coalition deaths.

Cheney lied repeatedly. I just think that this one's the most fun.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at October 6, 2004 11:02 AM

Luke - the DNC is trying to parse the facts it will and won't recognize - AKA lying. Zarqawi is an AQ operative, and he was operating in Iraq long before the invasion. The DNC is trying to parse the facts it will and won't recognize.

Jeff - it was clear to anyone who wasn't already choked with hatred that Cheney was referring to Edwards' abysmal attendance record in the Senate.

Admit it: Cheney clobbered your guy - and by "your guy", I mean Kerry, not the Breck Boy. You're banging on these really comical "lies" because that's all you have.

It's f-ing hilarious.

Posted by: mitch at October 6, 2004 11:53 AM

Mitch, what part of "I've never met you" is unclear?

Besides, Cheney also lied about what, er, had to say:

"Cheney got our domain name wrong -- calling us "" -- and wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton. In fact, we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right."

So your guy clobbered us...with lies.

Oky doky. I thought Cheney won at first, too--but you lie repeatedly, you lose points.

(And of course, this was the VP debate. In 1988, Lloyd Bentsen utterly destroyed Dan Quayle. Ask President Dukakis how important that was.)

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at October 6, 2004 01:41 PM

Other fun When Dick Met John facts:

*He met John Edwards at least once on the floor of the Senate: when Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) was sworn in by Vice President Cheney, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) accompanied her, and the bible used to swear in Sen. Dole was the personal bible of...Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of John Edwards. As Keith Olbermann notes: "The only way Cheney could have avoided meeting Edwards was if he'd had an attack of tunnel vision, or cauliflower ear."

*Cheney claimed that he presides over the Senate every Tuesday. But looking at the record, he's only Presided over a Tuesday session of the Senate twice in the past three-and-a-half years--and not at all since November 19, 2002. John Edwards has presided over as many Tuesday sessions in the past four years as Dick Cheney. Sen. Dean Barkely (IP-MN) even presided over one during his two-month temp-job-Senator assignment.

*Cheney had also met Edwards backstage before "Meet the Press."

Now, if Cheney had just stuck to "John Edwards, you haven't been in the Senate enough," that would've been fine. But he couldn't stop there. He said, and this is a quote: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

That's a lie. Not a misstatement, not confusion, it's a lie. And I'm sorry, Mitch, but any good your guy did last night is now spiralling down the drain, thanks to this lie.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at October 6, 2004 02:03 PM


GET SOME PERSPECTIVE, man! Maybe pointillistic focus on the most piddling details of the last *four years of ones' life* is de rigeur in the mortgage biz - I've been there, I know - but in this context, it is *no more* than hyperbole after a point, that point being that Silkypony is pretty much a non-entity in the Senate.

If this is what you folks are pinning your hopes on - as would seem to be the case - I don't envy you.

Posted by: mitch at October 6, 2004 02:31 PM

I'm scratching my head here.

1. Cheney lied about never meeting Edwards. [Decide for yourself whether or not this has any larger significance.]
2. Lefty blogs were quick to refute this lie [among others].
3. Mitch makes a big deal over Lefty blogs fact-checking Cheney, while simultaneously trying to minimize and divert attention away from what they're fact-checking.

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at October 6, 2004 02:56 PM

Mitch, what part of "pattern of decit" do you not understand?

Cheney disembles, mischaracterizes the truth, paints rosy senarios and outright lies whenever it will benefit his party.

This is but one example. A Daily Kos diarist pointed out 9 other obvious mistruths in Cheney's debate performance:

The part about Saddam and Al-Qaeda, which I keep coming back to, is the most important.

Despite your constant assertion of a connection, there was none. Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, the Senate investigation, the 9/11 commission and even President Bush agree that 9/11 was not tied to Saddam. Only you and Dick Cheney live in the alternative universe where they were connected. But I guess I'm just "picking someone from the administration" who agrees with me, huh?

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 6, 2004 02:58 PM


What part of "you're artificially pixellating the debate" do you not understand? (I figure if I throw that particular obnoxious, juveline rhetorical device back in enough faces long enough, it'll finally go out of style. Chee-rist, I hate that line).

For starters, you're talking at cross-purposes. No, there has been no proven *operational* link between Hussein and Al Quaeda. As the 9/11 report said fairly clearly, that does not rule out other connections, and those connections are both obvious and important. Trying to draw an artificial dividing line between "operational" and "logistic, moral and financial" with covert groups is obtuse to the point of putting your hands over your ears and chanting "nya nya".

Your (plural) constant invocation of Powell, Rumsfeld, carefully-selected parts of the 9/11 report, yadda yadda, either means you're trying to fool the uninformed via judicious omission, or you're one of the ones that's been fooled.

Terrorists didn't come to the US on Iraqi landing craft wearing "I [heart] Baghdad" t-shirts. Gotcha. But they got financial, moral, intelligence and logistical help from Iraq. To ignore that is to not just miss the story, but to duck and weave to avoid it.

Posted by: mitch at October 6, 2004 03:10 PM

Still waiting for that proof, Mitch.

I'd also be curious to know the difference between "operational" and "logistic", "intelligence", or "financial" support along with some evidence that Saddam provided the latter to Al Qaeda.

No, terrorist training camps in parts of Iraq not controlled by Saddam don't count.

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 6, 2004 03:45 PM

"Still waiting for that proof, Mitch."

So as not to inconvenience you any further, what exactly are you looking for proof *of*? When you get a minute?

"I'd also be curious to know the difference between "operational" and "logistic", "intelligence", or "financial" support along with some evidence that Saddam provided the latter to Al Qaeda."

That I'm having to explain the basic vocabulary kinda explains part of the problem, here.

"Operational" means involvement in carrying out *operations*, the planning and setup and execution of whatever they're trying to do. I didn't figure the term was that opaque. Now, since you're not clear on the term, Luke, I figure that explains why you completely missed that distinction in the 9/11 report and many other Administration figures' remarks. Right?

Proof? Well, the presence of Zarquawi and hundreds of other AQ in Iraq *before* the invasion is a pretty fair indication that there's a connection of one sort or another.

More proof? I'm at work. More later.

Posted by: mitch at October 6, 2004 03:55 PM

Why does this matter? Well, for one, BC04 flak Ken Mehlmann described this as one of his favorite moments of the debate.

More than that, though: this is a perfect synechdote for what Cheney does. He lied about Saddam's 9/11 connection. He lied about WMD. He continued to lie long after the rest of his compatriots gave up.

Dick Cheney is a liar. Sometimes it's not the big lies that get you.

Don't forget, Mitch: Al Gore said he toured Texas with James Lee Witt in 2000. He actually toured Texas with one of Witt's underlings. Trivial? Hell yes. But that fact was repeated ad infinitum by the Wurlitzer--proof that Gore was a liar.

By that standard, Cheney is the King of All Liars. Sorry, folks. This just ended anything positive Cheney might have accomplished last night. And it turned what should've been largely a non-event into another stumble for BC04.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at October 6, 2004 04:05 PM

That's "Synecdoche".

Posted by: Todd Sanguillen at October 6, 2004 04:08 PM

Hey, how about that incredible Springsteen/Neil Young show? ;-)

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at October 6, 2004 04:50 PM

[via your favorite site, Daily Kos]

Here is a list of the Senate's Acting Presidents for every Tuesday session for 2001.

January 30 - Enzi
February 6 - Chafee
February 13 - Chafee
February 27 - Allen
March 6 - Burns
March 13 - Reid
March 20 - DeWine
March 27 - Chafee
April 3 - Smith
April 24 - Chafee
May 1 - Chafee
May 8 - Chafee
May 15 - Frist
May 22 - Chafee
June 5 - Enzi
June 12 - Byrd
June 19 - Carper
June 26 - Bayh
July 10 - Nelson
July 17 - Clinton
July 24 - Byrd
July 31 - Stabenaw
September 25 - Wellstone
October 2 - Clinton
October 9 - Clinton
October 16 - Edwards!!!!!
October 23- Byrd
October 30 - Bingaman
November 13 - Murray
November 27 - Jeffords
December 4 - Stabenaw
December 11 - Carnahan
December 18 - Nelson

A reward to whoever finds a Tuesday in 2002, 2003 or 2004 that Dick Cheney fulfilled his duties as President of the Senate here:


Tue 1/29 - Nelson
Tue 2/5 - Kohl
Tue 2/12 - Stabenow
Tue 2/26 - Landrieu
Tue 3/5 - Edwards
Tue 3/12 - Landrieu
Tue 3/19 - Miller
Tue 4/9 - Cleland
Tue 4/16 - Reed
Tue 4/23 - Wellstone
Tue 4/30 - Nelson
Tue 5/7 - Miller
Tue 5/14 - Cleland
Tue 5/21 - Nelson
Tue 6/4 - Durbin
Tue 6/11 - Corzine
Tue 6/18 - Dayton
Tue 6/25 - Landrieu
Tue 7/9 - Reed
Tue 7/16 - Corzine
Tue 7/23 - Reed
Tue 7/30 - Clinton
Tue 9/3 - Reed
Tue 9/10 - Corzine
Tue 9/17 - Reid
Tue 9/24 - Stabenow
Tue 10/1 - Miller
Tue 10/8 - Miller
Tue 10/15 - Reid
Tue 11/12 - CHENEY! -- WE HAVE A WINNER!
Tue 11/19 - Barkley (MN)


Jan 7 *Cheney*
Jan 14 Stevens
Jan 22 Stevens
Jan 28 Stevens
Feb 4 Stevens
Feb 11 Stevens
Feb 25 Stevens
Mar 4 Stevens
Mar 11 Stevens
Mar 18 Stevens
Mar 25 Stevens
Apr 1 Stevens
Apr 8 Stevens
Apr 29 Stevens
May 6 Talent
May 13 Ensign
May 20 Alexander
June 3 Stevens
June 10 Stevens
June 18 Murkowski
June 24 Coleman
July 8 Stevens
July 15 Stevens
July 22 Chaffee
July 29 Stevens
Sept 2 Stevens
Sept 9 Stevens
Sept 16 Stevens
Sept 23 Stevens
Sept 30 Sununu
Oct 21 Stevens
Oct 28 Stevens
Nov 4 Stevens
Nov 11 Warner
Nov 18 Stevens
Dec 9 Stevens


1/20 - Stevens
1/27 - Enzi
2/3 - Stevens
2/10 - Stevens
3/2 - Stevens
3/9 - Hagel
3/16 - Sununu
3/23 - Stevens
3/30 - Ensign
4/6 - Cornyn
4/20 - Stevens
4/27 - Chambliss
5/4 - Stevens
5/11 - Stevens
5/18 - Stevens
6/1 - Stevens
6/8 - Hutchinson
6/15 - Stevens
6/22 - Allard
7/6 - Burns
7/13 - Stevens
7/20 - Enzi
9/7 - Stevens
9/14 - Chafee
9/21 - Enzi
9/28 - Stevens
10/05 - Stevens

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at October 6, 2004 04:55 PM

And again - so what?

I've listened to that piece of the debate, and it's pretty clear that the "never met him" line was a combination misstatement and knock on Edwards' pathetic attendance record.

As to the WMD "lie" - well, you have to manipulate the facts pretty hard to get to that answer.

If this is the best you got out of the debate (and on listening further, it pretty much was), I can see why you're turning to beating up GOPer volunteers.

Posted by: mitch at October 6, 2004 07:58 PM

"I can see why you're turning to beating up GOPer volunteers."

Mitch, none of us are beating up anyone. Those that do are thugs, and I'd like them to get off my side.

We're actually trying to dialogue with you.

Well, I'm sorry; I'm not going to be called a brownshirt. I demand you retract that--now.

Posted by: Jeff Fecke at October 6, 2004 08:05 PM

This is such a great country. It is unfortunate that we have "progressed" to such a point where we no longer feel compelled to show any respect for our great leaders. Certainly, some of our leaders are power hungry, career politicians who have long forgotten the reason they were elected, but some (and I believe most) are truly trying to do what is best for their constituents and their country. Oh that it were not in that order. On rare occaision we will witness an event that allows our politicos to place the good of all ahead of the good of their few, but that is another comment section...
Back to 'Progress.' The smear campaigns are bad enough, but I am absolutely sick of hearing our President and Commander in Chief referred to as simply 'Bush.' Also, as I stated once before in this forum, if we were all carrying hog-legs there would probably be a lot more judicious use of the word "lie" and "liar." Former President Clinton was a liar (as in under oath) and Kerry makes my skin crawl in the same way, but if elected in November, that creepy guy will become President... not just Kerry.


Posted by: fingers at October 6, 2004 09:36 PM

That comment really fucking pisses me off, Mitch, and I demand an apology.

Off to post this on New Patriot right now...

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at October 7, 2004 05:11 AM

Oh, for the love of pete.

Pffft. Fine. Here you go.

"Note to world: Chuck Olsen and Jeff Fecke didn't trash any GOP offices and are not engaged in intimidating GOP volunteers".

Get over yourselves. The "you" was plural.

Now, all you sensitive Democrats - are you going to demand that the DFL denounce the coast-to-coast pattern of thuggery and intimidation that the AFL-CIO and others have been carrying out this past two weeks? Let's see *that* on the New Patriot, k?

Back to facts, here, if it's not too much trouble; Dick Cheney wasn't "lying" by any standard that matters (or that anyone who supported Bill Clinton had better squawk about, not that Dick Cheney came anywhere close to that); the context was pretty clearly the discussion about Edwards' legislative record. There is none, hence Cheney's remark. But given that Cheney really, really hammered Edwards on facts AND style, I can see why you are all focusing on it.

As to WMD and terror links - as I noted earlier, some of you aren't even close to up on this issue. The 9/11 commission said there was no "operational" link, which is very, very distinct from "no link", and the report and its constituents noted as much publicly. So, by your own logic...


The overall point (and I apologize for any perceived, if unintended, insult) is that you guys have got to be getting desperate; it'd explain things ranging from this moronic "Cheney Lied" meme that started with Kos and Atrios and filtered (like all lefty memes) downward, to the AFL-CIO's coordinated thuggery.

And if "Cheney's a habitual liar" is the best you can do after a debate, it's pretty pathetic, even IF it's true! To co-opt a particularly annoying phrase - Silkypony got served. The more I listen, the more clear it is, Silkypony is no more ready to be Veep than is, idunno, Justin Timberlake.

To call him the Dan Quayle of the left is an insult to Dan Quayle.

Posted by: mitch at October 7, 2004 06:39 AM

... Hey, why can't I cut n' paste?

* Mitch talks about operational vs. other types of support, incl. moral

Well, yeah... but in the privacy of my own home, cursing at the TV, and in conversations over beers with friends, I'm sure I must have expressed moral support for whomever was trying to get the Taliban out of Afghanistan a few years ago. It turns out there were some pretty nasty people in that crowd... does that mean *I* have given moral support to terrorists? I mean, I just want to know if I'm supposed to turn myself in, or write a check or something.

This logic of "The person who doesn't make himself an enemy of my enemy (and may or may not be the friend of my enemy) is the same as the busom friend of my enemy, is the same as my enemy" is pretty a weak line of argument. Especially when the actual enemy is still a threat.

* Fingers talks about referring to the President just as 'Bush' and how that's disrespectful. Fingers refers to "Former President Clinton" as "a liar (as in under oath)" (and is correct about that, btw)

You know, Fingers here is absolutely right. I don't particularly respect the man, and I certainly am not happy with the job his administration has done, but I respect the office, and the way the job should be done. He's "President Bush" and that's how I shall endeavor to refer to him. (I could complain about whether he really was elected legitimately, but I live in the real world and it's 4 years later.)

It's interesting, to come over here from NP and see how things go. Thanks.


Posted by: Erik at October 7, 2004 09:43 AM

...also, I'd like to make a motion in support of the term 'Silkypony' to refer to Sen. Edwards, on the condition we refer to Vice Pres. Cheney as 'Grumblecakes.'

Posted by: Erik at October 7, 2004 09:46 AM

I think it's a fine line between "collaborative operational relationship" and providing intelligence , money, and logistical support (logisitical support, in my mind, is intimately connected to operational planning). That's why I asked for clarification.

While I'm waiting for evidence of those links, I invite you all to read Newsweek's takedown of Cheney's latest justification for the war:

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 7, 2004 10:17 AM

Why yes, Luke, we agree - it IS a fine line between operational collaboration and other kinds of support - especially among covert and illegal organizations. *That's one of many reasons Hussein was a threat*.

While you're "waiting for evidence of those links", Luke, please explain the obtuseness; you know Zarquawi is a known lieutenant in Al Quaeda, and he operated in Iraq long before the war started. You know, presumably, of the Iraqi link between the first WTC bombers and Hussein - right?

By the way, a "takedown" is only a "takedown" if it puts your opponent on the floor. I guess this more-complete reading of the ISG report probably qualifies as a "two point reversal":

Hey, the next MOB party's going to be a doozy, huh? Hope you New Patriot guys'ngals can make it.

Posted by: mitch at October 7, 2004 02:13 PM

Zarquawi was operation outside of Saddam's area of control. The CIA says they weren't collaborating. If they were passing money or information to each other, I'd like to see proof.

What's more, the Bush administration turned down Pentagon plans to bomb Zarquawi's camp at least twice. Why? It hurt their case for war.

And I can't believe you're peddling Mylroie's Saddam/WTC bombing conspiracy theory. That's been completely discredited.

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 7, 2004 02:34 PM

"Zarquawi was operation outside of Saddam's area of control."

Er, "in the no-fly zone" does not mean "outside Saddam's area of control". You don't need a plane or a helicopter to maintain links with terrorists.

Zarquawi's presence *in* the Ba'athist/Fedayin area of operations today is, I'd say, indicative. True, co-location doesn't necessarily equal causation, but it's not far removed.

" The CIA says they weren't collaborating."

Well, that settles it, then. The CIA - which has bungled EVERY HUMINT operation in the middle east in my entire memory, is suddenly the ultimate source? Especially given their establishment's antipathy toward Bush?

"What's more, the Bush administration turned down Pentagon plans to bomb Zarquawi's camp at least twice. Why? It hurt their case for war."

Yep. Politics is a strange thing. Civilians control the military, for better or worse.

"And I can't believe you're peddling Mylroie's Saddam/WTC bombing conspiracy theory. That's been completely discredited."

Incompletely proven is not the same as "completely discredited". I'm not going to bet my mortgage payment on her story just yet, but to my knowledge, it's only "completely discredited" in Kos' mind (AKA "the lefty blogosphere's standard of proof"). Furthermore, while her Iraqi link to the OKC bombing seems stretchy and circumstantial at the moment, I think her case linking Ramsi Yusef to the first WTC bombing is a lot more solid.

Feel free to show us that "complete discredit", though.

Posted by: mitch at October 7, 2004 03:34 PM

It's funny going over the list above of the senate leaders for the day and I did not see Kerry's name once. Did I overlook something? Or is this guy gone even more than Edwards?

Posted by: Jason at October 8, 2004 12:48 PM

I believe that what Cheney meant by "never met you" is that in the process of building support, for various items, you obviously meet with representatives on the other side of the aisle. In that process you would probably meet with Daschle, Clinton, Lieberman, Biden, Kennedy but not Kerry or Edwards. That is the point Cheney made and why Kerry nor Edwards have made that much out of it because neither one can point to one thing positive they did in their time there.

Posted by: Jason at October 8, 2004 12:58 PM

No, that would be "I never met WITH you," or "I never had a MEETING with you." English is a pretty good language for specificity.

...unless... Gosh, you don't think he meant they've never gone to see a Mets game together, do you? Maybe after all this, Cheney is just bummed because he always wanted to go to the ol' ballpark with Edwards? Awww. Poor guy.

Posted by: Erik at October 8, 2004 04:50 PM

Regarding Mylroie:

Her theory is that Pakistani terrorist Ramzi Yousef who was convicted of bombing the WTC, assumed the identity of Abdul Basit with the help of Iraqi intelligence and that they were two different people. The FBI investigated this and found it to be unlikely. After 9/11, Wolfowitz had FBI fly to England to check Basit's fingerprints. However, when "Basit's" fingerprints were the same as Yousef's. They were the same person. There was no "switched identity" and there was no Iraqi link. (read this article, it has more details and explains who Wolfowitz tried to get Yousef declared an "enemy combantant" so the military could question him.)

And Richard Clarke notes in his book that Mylroie was widely believed among the neo-cons in the administration, much to Clarke's dismay:

The extent of Mylroie's influence is shown in the new book Against All Enemies, by the veteran counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, in which he recounts a senior-level meeting on terrorism months before September 11. During that meeting Clarke quotes Wolfowitz as saying: "You give Bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don't exist." Clarke writes: "I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was spouting the Laurie Mylroie theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Centre, a theory that had been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.",2763,1254072,00.html

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 11, 2004 10:00 AM

My apologies, I shouldn't have let your Zarquawi comment go without rebuttal.

There's no way to prove Saddam and Zarquawi weren't cooperating in some way or another. I say that I haven't seen proof that they were; You say I can't prove that they weren't. We're verging on the metaphysical here, so I'll just leave it on this note:

Zarquawi could've been destroyed without invading and occupying Iraq. As an Al Qaeda operative, he should've been eliminated or captured immediately after pinning down his location. But the administration said no. They said no because if Zarquawi was out of the picture, their precious link between Iraq and Al Qaeda would be gone and that would undercut the reason for war.

Many lives have been lost because of this politically motivated decision.

This is not the kind of "leadership" I want to reward with a second term.

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 11, 2004 10:10 AM

More on Zarqawi's connection to Saddam from Juan Cole:

"Cheney has been using Zarqawi's occasional presence in Iraq in the Saddam period as a proof of Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda for years. This line of reasoning is typically squirrelly and does not hold up. First, Zarqawi was in that period a bitter rival with al-Qaeda and would not share the resources his Monotheism and Holy War organization in Germany with Bin Laden's group. In Iraq, Zarqawi was said to be associated with the Ansar al-Islam group, which consisted of 200-400 Kurdish members who were radical fundamentalists, and some of whom had fought in Afghanistan. Ansar al-Islam was a deadly enemy of the Saddam regime. The US declined to take out its base on more than one occasion in spring of 2003. Some think Rumsfeld was afraid of removing a pretext for the Iraq war. I myself suspect that Ansar was at that point seen as a potential ally against Saddam.

Cheney used to allege that Zarqawi could not have gotten treatment at a Baghdad hospital for his leg wound without Saddam's knowledge. But now there is doubt that Zarqawi had a leg wound. And it should be obvious that the Iraqi refime was so dilapidated that an argument from its totalitarian efficiency is just ridiculous. Some informed observers think Zarqawi is dead, and that the Bush administration has a black psy-ops game going to build his ghost up as a threat in Iraq. (It is painful to admit that the US is actually mainly fighting the Iraqis it said it came to liberate.)"


Zarqawi's connection to Saddam's regime is tenuous at best and is not sufficient to be used as justification for war.

Posted by: Luke Francl at October 12, 2004 02:16 PM