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.
--George W. Bush, March 2006
Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq...
--Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, signed into law by Bush, 2002
[Invading 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 persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
--Letter by President Bush to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, March 18, 2003
I had to go look it up, but it was Sen. Hiram Johnson who first said, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." In the Iraq war, truth was assassinated to clear the path to war -- before the first shot was fired. Lie upon lie upon lie were piled up on top of the truth, smothering it. Before the first boot hit Iraqi soil, the Bush administration had fired off 935 false statements. And, as the quotes above show, the Bush administration has never stopped lying about Iraq.
First, Bush signed statements tying Iraq to 9/11 into law. Later, he claimed those statements never existed. You don't even need the internet to prove him wrong, you can look it up in a law library.
Once it became clear that Iraq didn't have anything to do with 9/11, the Bush administration continued to claim that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were joined at the hip. It wasn't really all that hard to push this propaganda, since the media's coverage of the middle east prior to 9/11 left most Americans largely ignorant of the facts on the ground there. Saddam was a Muslim and a monster, al Qaeda were Muslims and monsters -- clearly, they were exactly the same. What Edward Said termed "Orientalism" filled in the gaps in our knowledge. We "knew" that they were all the same -- murderous zealots obsessed with religious doctrine.
That this doesn't describe Saddam Hussein, that allower of liquor stores and connoisseur of really bad paintings of women with really big tits, was beside the point. If there's one thing Americans have become used to, it's religious hypocrisy. We have no problem wrapping our minds around that concept.
Bush used our ignorance of the middle east and our orientalism to continue to cast the occupation of Iraq as part of his "Global War on Terror." When the middle east is populated almost entirely by likeminded religious loonies, it really doesn't matter much which country you invade. If they're all the same, you can fight the GWoT in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, etc. You've got to start someplace and Iraq was as good as any.
So, even though he'd given up his "Iraq caused 9/11" BS, he didn't quit claiming that secular Saddam Hussein and the religious cult al Qaeda were basically the same thing.
Washington Post, June 2004:
President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week's finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.
"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. As evidence, he cited Iraqi intelligence officers' meeting with bin Laden in Sudan. "There's numerous contacts between the two," Bush said.
Except, of course, there weren't. Throughout the years, Bush and his neocons have claimed concrete knowledge of things that later turned out to be untrue. Donald Rumsfeld said that the administration had "bulletproof" evidence of Iraqi-al Qaeda ties. Colin Powell told the UN the US knew that Iraq had "mobile laboratories" to make chemical weapons. He referred to "the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's biological weapons" as his source.
Which raises an interesting question; how can you "know" something that's not true? How can you claim concrete knowledge that can't possibly be known? How can you say you have proof of the unprovable? Because there's no way you can prove an untruth -- that's practically the definition of an untruth. To say that you've proven something that's not true is to lie.
Speaking of proof and truth, we now have the Pentagon shooting down the last of Bush's lies -- since the 9/11 commission report wasn't good enough.
The U.S. military's first and only study looking into ties between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda showed no connection between the two, according to a military report released by the Pentagon.
The report released by the Joint Forces Command five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq said it found no "smoking gun" after reviewing about 600,000 Iraqi documents captured in the invasion and looking at interviews of key Iraqi leadership held by the United States, Pentagon officials said.
The assessment of the al Qaeda connection and the insistence that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction were two primary elements in the Bush administration's arguments in favor of going to war with Iraq.
Let's take a different tack with Bush and the other neocon asses who've never been right about a damned thing in this damned occupation. They haven't been lying. Let's say that they believed all this crap, despite all the evidence against it and the obvious lack of evidence for it. The WMD, the ties to al Qaeda and 9/11, the whole shebang. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren't lying,
If we do this, we have to conclude that they're completely delusional. They're insane. Goofy. Not firing on all cylinders. If we take them at their word, then we should lock them up in some hospital where they can't hurt themselves or anyone else. And we shouldn't let them out until they're cured.
We can even say it's for their own good. That's it's also for our good is just a bonus.