Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Stop having "Relations" with us!

My "yearrrrghhh!" of the day:
Q [Ken Herman, Cox News Service]: Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?
THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would --
who had relations with Zarqawi.
Relations? Relations?! Like these kind of relations?
Of course, anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to reality will remember that Zarqawi had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. In fact, before the invasion, Zarqawi made his not-yet-alQaeda-bones as a low-budge terrorist criminal in the northern city of Kirma--a city that was not controlled by Saddam Hussein, I would hasten to add. According to NBC news (that bastion of pinko conspiracy nuttery), the White House actually quashed three separate military plans to take-out Zarqawi before the invasion...you know...lest his elimination 'ruin' a perfect Iraq/Qaeda link:
In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide. The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.
“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.
Four months later [
Fall 2002], intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe. The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.
[...] In
January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq. The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration
feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late — Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone.
Sorry, Mr. President, I clearly interrupted you mid-answer. You were saying?
[PRESIDENT]: And so my question -- my answer to [Ken Herman's] question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.
You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
Q What did Iraq have to do with that?
THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?
Q The attack on the World Trade Center?
THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. 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.
No sir. You most definitely have not. But you definitely had some kinda "relations" with us.

(H/t to Dan Froomkin for isolating the "yearghh" quotes from Monday's briefing; Screenshot of the South Park Movie Saddam inflagrante w/devil courtesy of these guys)

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