It takes a certain strength of character and integrity to admit error and own up to one’s mistakes. Dick Cheney, the man who rides shotgun in the Bush administration, is clearly lacking in this regard, as is his boss. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (as noted below), the Vice President maintains to this day that there were substantial links between the Iraqi government and members of al-Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003. Cheney touts such fictitious links as a way to justify the decision to go to warâ€”and to justify his role in promoting this tragic course of action. Whether he believes his own rhetoric is uncertain, but his continued perpetuation of the canard suggests the beliefâ€”or hopeâ€”that, if he keeps repeating the lie, it will become the truth. The fact that many Americans still find reason (or the lack thereof) to take Cheney at his word is a pity. But the greater pity is that a man so utterly lacking in moral character and intellectual honesty remains in a position of significant authority, when he and his co-conspirator in the White House ought be pilloried and impeached. They should be held accountable for their war crimes.
From the Washington Post:
Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides “all confirmed” that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.
The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community’s prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and about its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information. The report had been released in summary form in February.
The report’s release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq “before we ever launched” the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.
“This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq,” Cheney told Limbaugh’s listeners about Zarqawi, who he said had “led the charge for Iraq.” Cheney cited the alleged history to illustrate his argument that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq would “play right into the hands of al-Qaeda.” [full text]