Wednesday, June 16

UK: Bush "Misled The World"

The reporting of this story is absolutely devastating.

Official verdict: White House misled world over Saddam September attacks

President George Bush, 1 May 2003:
"The liberation of Iraq removed... an ally of al-Qa'ida."

Vice-President Cheney, 22 January 2004:
"There's overwhelming evidence... of a connection between al-Qa'ida and Iraq."

Donald Rumsfeld, 14 November 2002:
"Within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qa'ida."

Condoleezza Rice, 17 September 2003:
"Saddam was a danger in the region where the 9/11 threat emerged"

The Bush administration's credibility was dealt a devastating blow yesterday when the commission investigating the attacks of 11 September said there was no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had assisted al-Qa'ida - something repeatedly suggested by the President and his senior officials and held up as a reason for the invasion of Iraq.

A report by the independent commission said while there were contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida operatives in the 1990s, it appeared Osama bin Laden's requests for a partnership were rebuffed. "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qa'ida co-operated on attacks against the United States," the commission said. It also discounted widespread claims that Mohamed Atta, the hijackers' ringleader, met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague.

The report forced the Bush administration on to the defensive, as it appeared to undermine one of its key justifications for the invasion of Iraq.

While Mr Bush has been forced to admit there was no specific evidence to link Saddam to 11 September, his deputy, Dick Cheney, claimed on Monday that the former Iraqi leader was "a patron of terrorism [with] long-established ties with al-Qa'ida".