For Vice President Cheney's lies and distortions to be exposed is common. But it's a rare satisfaction for them to be thrown back in his face on the same day
Yesterday, Cheney, in an interview with Rush Limbaugh, again touted a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, saying
...remember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, al Qaeda affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then migrated -- after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the al Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene, and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June.... This is al Qaeda operating in Iraq. And as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.
Now, as with nearly every Cheney statement, this is about three distortions rolled into one big lie. The three distortions: Zarqawi did not organize operations for Al Qaeda prior to the invasion, in fact, he did not affiliate himself with al Qaeda until 2004
; prior to the 2003 invasion, he was in the northern Kurdish portion of Iraq, outside of Saddam Hussein's control, not Baghdad; and there's no evidence of collusion between Zarqawi and Hussein. (A bonus fourth distortion might be the fact that the U.S. reportedly
had a prime chance to kill Zarqawi before the invasion, but chose not to -- some say
because his presence in Iraq provided justification for the war.) But the big lie is that Iraq and Al Qaeda were allies and co-conspirators.
It just so happens that something else happened yesterday: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) released a declassified version of the Defense Department's Inspector General's report on Doug Feith's intel shop at the Pentagon, the one tasked
with finding a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the runup to the war. And the report shows that not only did the Intelligence Community speak with one voice before the war that there was no evidence of a significant relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but they were right
. From The Washington Post
...the inspector general's report, in a footnote, commented that it is "noteworthy . . . that post-war debriefs of Sadaam Hussein, [former Iraqi foreign minister] Tariq Aziz, [former Iraqi intelligence minister Mani al-Rashid] al Tikriti, and [senior al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shaykh] al-Libi, as well as document exploitation by [the Defense Intelligence Agency] all confirmed that the Intelligence Community was correct: Iraq and al-Qaida did not cooperate in all categories" alleged by Feith's office.
From these sources, the report added, "the terms the Intelligence Community used to describe the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida were validated, [namely] 'no conclusive signs,' and 'direct cooperation . . . has not been established.' "