Reality-based observers have long known that the Bush administration's attempts to connect al Qaeda with pre-invasion Iraq have been nothing more than a campaign of misinformation. Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, and even afterward, the so-called "al Qaeda in Iraq" never amounted to anything more than a "microscopic terrorist organization" with "850 full time fighters." But regardless of the facts, one theme has been constant from this administration. The presence of al Qaeda, terrorists, "special groups," and foreign fighters (typically from Iran) is sold as justification for the invasion and occupation, when it is actually the result of the invasion and occupation.
That's what makes this part of the interview between President George W. Bush and ABC News' Martha Raddatz, highlighted by Ali Frick at Think Progress, so extraordinary.
BUSH: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take-
RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.
BUSH: Yeah, that's right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they're going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand.
Wow. "That's right. So what?" That's how he admits that the repeatedly mentioned links between the September 11 attacks, al Qaeda, and Iraq were just manipulations?
I believe President Bush just threw both his shoes at our intelligence. Duck!