This afternoon the Democrats sent an email attacking President Bush’s eloquent speech on the Iraq war. The Democrats’ email featured this contemptible charge:
The distortions continued this afternoon, as President Bush took the stage and again misled people. Here’s what he said:
BUSH: “First, just if I might correct a misperception, I don’t think we ever said — at least I know I didn’t say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein.”
That is false. In fact, almost exactly three years ago he did just that:
“The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” [President George W. Bush, Letter to Congress, 3/21/03]
The full text of Bush’s letter is here. It advises the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate that, pursuant to Congress’s Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, he has made the determination that “further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, nor lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.” Therefore, he has ordered military action against Iraq.
The Democrats apparently believe that the members of their party can’t read, and have very short memories. The excerpt from the letter quoted by the Democrats does not say that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks. It says that attacking Iraq is “consistent with” the policy of taking action against international terrorists, including–but not limited to–those who committed the September 11 attacks. In fact, by March 2003 many of those who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11 attacks had fled from Afghanistan to Iraq. Zarqawi, the most famous such refugee, was only one of many.
What the Democrats fail to mention could fill volumes: Congress passed a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. The resolution itemized many grounds for the action, but participation in the September 11 attacks was not among them. President Bush delivered a series of speeches to the American people in which he outlined the case for deposing Saddam, including, among others, the 2003 State of the Union address and the speech he gave on the eve of the war. In none of these speeches did Bush say that Iraq had been involved in the September 11 attacks. Likewise, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and other administration spokesmen have given any number of speeches on the Iraq war; not once has any of them said that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have given many interviews on the subject of Iraq. They have often been asked about possible connections between Iraq and September 11. On every occasion, they have said that we do not know of any such connection.
The leaders of the Democratic Party write to the members of their party exactly as they would if they believed those members to be ignorant of current events, unable to read plain English text with any discrimination, and consumed by hatred of President Bush. Are they right? I don’t know. They know their members better than I do.