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... or at least that's what can be taken from Howard Dean's comments during a conference call defending his former adversary in the primaries, John Kerry. Dean made these remarks:
"The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend."
After thinking about the implications of blaming George Bush for a bombing that killed 200 people, the ever-classy Dean later issued a "clarification", a uniquely Democratic mechanism in which a candidate retracts their stupidity while trying to make it sound like genius:
"Let me be clear, there is no justification for terrorism. Today I was simply repeating what those who have claimed responsibility for the bombings in Spain said was the reason they carried out that despicable act."
Dean also offered the excuse that he was merely repeating what was said on al-Qaeda's tape, which sounds an awful lot like the time he simply repeated an "interesting theory" on NPR -- that George Bush was warned by the Saudis about 9/11. Dean's record of statements like these remind us why, for the first time in memory, the candidate with the biggest organization and largest funds failed to win a single primary. (He won Vermont, his home state, after he dropped out.)
But let's get back to his original statement, because Dean and Kerry seem to acknowledge the AQ statement as truth: Spain was bombed because of her participation in overthrowing Saddam. If this is so -- and it certainly seems to be -- it demonstrates a link between AQ and Saddam. Otherwise, bin Laden would be laughing in his Afghani/Pakistani cave at the folly of the Coalition and planning his next moves elsewhere. If focusing on Iraq never disrupted any AQ operations, what cause would they have to attack Spain, other than the reconquest of al-Andalus?
Dean's acknowledgement of the connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq will probably result in a further "clarification" in the near future. In the meantime, Kerry's campaign finally acknowledges that the war on terror is just that -- a war:
"It's clear that what happened in Spain is a painful reminder that the war on terror is far from over," [campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter] said, "and the nation would be better off if this administration took the time to rebuild our alliances rather than engaging in political attacks."
Two thoughts: one, the more that John Kerry keeps reminding people that the war isn't over, the more they'll want to keep Bush in office, since Kerry keeps talking about the same law-enforcement strategies that led to 9/11; and two, working on alliances would be a lot easier if the Kerry campaign would quit signaling to other countries that he would give them a better deal.
As far as "engaging in political attacks," that's pretty rich (pun intended) from the candidate who just called the Bush administration the "most crooked, you know, lying group." What happened to "Bring It ON!!", Senator?Sphere It View blog reactions
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