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After the revelation this morning that Russia had repeatedly warned the US between 9/11 and the kickoff to the Iraq War about Saddam Hussein planning terror attacks inside the US, I expected the left to either ignore it or to create conspiracy theories on its meaning. Fortunately, they've managed to do both at the same time.
For instance, over at ABC News, their web site has not one single mention of the statement by Vladimir Putin, more than five hours after wire services broke the story. At CBS, the breaking story about pregnant Aussies postponing births to get a cash bonus seems to have driven it off the radar screen at the Tiffany Network. CNN carries the story on their main web site -- below the urgent story that Clinton slept on the couch after admitting his affair with Monica Lewinsky. MS-NBC runs the story in a similar position, but under the Cheney story from yesterday.
Gee, don't you suppose that an assertion from Russia that Saddam actively planned terror strikes in the US merits a banner headline -- or some notice at all?
Meanwhile, the port side of the blogosphere has, after a stunned silence, begun spinning their own take on Putin's remarks. For instance, the aptly named In Search Of Utopia (who was well-mannered enough to link back to me) asks two questions:
Guys, I hate to burst your bubble, but this one smells fishy to me.
1. If Putin had such Intelligence, and passed it on to the Administration, WHY did Russia oppose the war so strenuously?
2. If The Administration had this since shortly after 9/11, why has it never been mentioned by the administration before?
At least David asked fairly intelligent questions, written in proper English, so I'll answer.
1. Because Putin's government was raking in billions of dollars in legal and illegal trade with Saddam Hussein, and that money was desperately needed to stabilize the central government. War meant an end to that revenue stream, and a permanent one at that. Putin allied himself publicly with both the US and Iraq; that this should surprise anyone at this point only indicates the extent to which some people paid little attention.
2. Perhaps Bush was reluctant to out the Russians as a resource because he didn't want to eliminate future intelligence data. Putin has now made clear to everyone that he's sharing information with Bush on a high-level basis. Do you think that helps the Russian intelligence service or hurts it?
Not everything is about the election, guys.
David then goes on to claim that I'm "grasping at straws" while he concocts a secret deal with Putin to make this statement, while at the same time people the people on his side claim that Bush can't work with foreign leaders to build alliances any more. However, like I said, at least David presented a coherent argument, which is more than I can say for Oliver Willis. Willis' entire argument is presented in a post entitled (I kid you not), "Did Pooty-Poot Send Us To War?":
KGB operative turned Russian president, President Bush claimed he could see into his soul -- then Putin started rolling Russia back to communism (jailing his political opponents, etc.). Did Bush allow his affection for Putin to sway him towards going to war, now that this revelation is coming out?
At least Willis leaves out the conspiracy theories, but you get the drift -- Putin somehow wanted the US to take out Saddam Hussein even while threatening to veto the UN resolution that would have explicitly called for military action, and opposing our invasion to this day. Why? Because Putin's a communist, you see. (Uh, no, Oliver, he's not. He may be on the way to becoming a dictator, but he's not a communist, which the Russian communists would be glad to explain to you.)
What it comes down to is this: either Putin lied or he told the truth. Ask yourself this -- what possible motive could Putin have to lie about the issue? All his statement does is to confirm a solid cassus belli for a war he and his country strongly opposed. Not only that, but it strengthens the man who blew off his country in going to war. Speaking of which, the Democrats claim that Bush has no more credibility with other heads of state -- it's one of John Kerry's major themes -- so how could Bush convince Putin to lie for him? He'd have to be one persuasive fellow to get Putin to do that, especially after Bush and Blair cost Russia tens of billions of dollars in trade with Saddam.
And of course, if Putin told the truth this morning, then we attacked a country that actively planned terror strikes on US soil and US assets abroad, which made them an imminent threat to our security. Under such a scenario, our action was not only understandable, but necessary to stop such attacks. And it fit perfectly with what Bush told the world on September 20, 2001, which was that states that targeted the US for terror attacks or sheltered groups that did so could expect the full weight of US might against their regimes.
The left can spin all the paranoid conspiracy theories they want, but if Putin told the truth, the case is closed.
UPDATE: PilotCMan accuses me of running scared because the 9/11 Commission supposedly said that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. However, today, both the Republican and Democratic co-chairs vehemently denied this is what the Commission said:
Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton blasted the mainstream press yesterday for distorting the Commission's findings on links between Iraq and al-Qaida, saying those findings actually support Bush administration contentions.
"The sharp differences that the press has drawn [between the White House and the Commission] are not that apparent to me," Hamilton told the Associated Press, a day after insisting that his probe uncovered "all kinds" of connections between Osama bin Laden's terror network and Iraq.
The report specified the 9/11 attacks, not overall operations between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and both Hamilton and Thomas Kean explained that the Commission stayed within its mandate. It really helps to read multiple news sources before leaping to conclusions, Pilot.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on June 18, 2004 1:20 PM
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» Answering El Capitan... from In Search of Utopia
I don't know if Bush and Putin had a discussion about this or not. Honest answer? Despite my low regard for the intelligence of this President, I dont think he would be stupid enough to ask a foreign leader to lie for him. I am more inclined to belie... [Read More]
Tracked on June 18, 2004 3:49 PM
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