May 31, 2007

Robert Parry: Bush’s Killer Iraq Talking Points

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 9:18 am

Robert Parry, Consortium News, May 30, 2007

It’s an old military adage that bad intel can get soldiers killed, but it now turns out that false talking points may be even more lethal, a lesson that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney continue to teach the world as the death toll mounts in Iraq.

In pounding the Democratic-controlled Congress into submission on Iraq War funding last week, the President and Vice President let loose a withering barrage of non-sequiturs, appeals to fear, long-discredited canards and personal attacks on critics for endangering U.S. troops.

Fearing an escalation of the rhetorical assault over the Memorial Day weekend, Democratic leaders crumbled, reneging on their vow that Bush would never again be given a blank check. Instead they cleared the way for a bipartisan vote that handed the President more than $100 billion without any meaningful strings attached.

But Bush’s Iraq War talking points – while appealing to some Americans and frightening some Democrats – remain a potpourri of cherry-picked intelligence, irrational arguments and outright lies.

Back were some golden oldies – like Saddam Hussein failing to comply with U.N. demands to get rid of his WMD, even though the world knows that he did – and some newer favorites – like the need to listen when al-Qaeda boasts about driving the U.S. out of Iraq, although U.S. intelligence knows al-Qaeda actually believes that “prolonging the war” is in its interest.

At the May 23 Coast Guard commencement, Bush reprised some of his old talking points and unveiled a new one, citing intelligence that Osama bin Laden tasked al-Qaeda forces in Iraq in January 2005 to conduct terrorist attacks outside of Iraq, including possibly the United States. “I’ve often warned that if we fail in Iraq, the enemy will follow us home,” Bush said.

“Many ask, ‘How do you know?’ Today, I’d like to share some information with you that attests to al-Qaeda’s intentions.” Bush then laid out the story of bin Laden ordering Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to divert some of his operatives in Iraq to terrorist activities outside Iraq.

“Bin Laden emphasized that America should be Zarqawi’s number one priority in terms of foreign attacks,” Bush said. “Zarqawi welcomed this direction; he claimed that he had already come up with some good proposals.”

The operations, however, were thwarted, Bush said, and Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. bombing raid inside Iraq in June 2006.

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