Sunday, May 16, 2004

Irresponsible rhetoric

From Reuters:

President Bush on Friday blamed al Qaeda supporter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for beheading American Nicholas Berg and cited him as an example of Saddam Hussein's "terrorist ties" before the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Bush's revival of accusations linking Saddam to terrorism comes as the president faces growing doubts among Americans over his Iraq policy.

At a fund-raising lunch in Bridgeton, Missouri, Bush said Zarqawi was an example of the threat posed by the ousted Iraqi leader. "We knew he (Saddam) had terrorist ties. The person responsible for the Berg death, Zarqawi, was in and out of Baghdad prior to our arrival, for example," Bush said.
Someone needs to call the Bushies on rhetoric like this. It's irresponsible and outright misleading to drop the reference to "terrorist ties" without putting into context Zarqawi's links to Ansar al-Islam and his alleged trips to Baghdad for medical treatment. Both hardly connotate a link to Hussein's regime, although the administration has been trying to make the connection for quite some time, only to be rebuffed by virtually everyone in the intelligence field.

There is a reason why so many Americans have it wrong on the connections between Al Qaeda, 9/11, and Iraq, and Bush's vague insinuations above -- which effectively equate "terrorist ties" with "ties to Osama" -- say a lot about how that's come to pass.