Calling Bush Into Question for Claiming Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties - June 25, 2004

June 25, 2004
Calling Bush Into Question for Claiming Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties
"For most of 2002, President Bush argued that a commission created to look into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks would only distract from the post-Sept. 11 war on terrorism. Now, in 17 preliminary staff reports, that panel has called into question nearly every aspect of the administration's response to terror, including the idea that Iraq and Al Qaeda were somehow the same foe. Far from a bolt from the blue, the commission has demonstrated over the last 19 months that the Sept. 11 attacks were foreseen, at least in general terms, and might well have been prevented, had it not been for misjudgments, mistakes and glitches, some within the White House." - Douglas Jehl, June 18.

Left-Wing Documentary "Devastating" to the White House

"For the White House, the most devastating segment of' 'Fahrenheit 9/11' may be the video of a befuddled-looking President Bush staying put for nearly seven minutes at a Florida elementary school on the morning of Sept. 11, continuing to read a copy of 'My Pet Goat' to schoolchildren even after an aide has told him that a second plane has struck the twin towers. Mr. Bush's slow, hesitant reaction to the disastrous news has never been a secret. But seeing the actual footage, with the minutes ticking by, may prove more damaging to the White House than all the statistics in the world." - From Philip Shenon's "fact-check" of left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," June 20.

White House Won't Admit 9/11 Warnings
"With its historic access to government secrets, the panel was able to shed new light on old accountings, demonstrating, for example, that Mr. Bush himself, in the weeks before the attack, had received more detailed warnings about Al Qaeda's intentions than the White House had acknowledged." - Douglas Jehl, June 18.

Bush on Sept. 11: Uncertain, Indecisive
"In the studies, Mr. Bush in particular has come off as less certain and decisive than he has portrayed himself. The final report, issued on Wednesday, reminded Americans that Mr. Bush remained in a classroom in Florida for at least five minutes after the second jet struck the World Trade Center, in what he told the panel was an effort 'to project calm' for a worried nation." - Douglas Jehl, June 18.

Hillary Was Right

".the film suggests that Mr. Clinton's peccadilloes were nothing compared with the vast, unethical lengths to which his enemies were willing to go to discredit him. Using research gathered by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons for their book of the same name, 'The Hunting of the President' does a credible job of documenting the 'vast right-wing conspiracy' that Hillary Rodham Clinton said was ranged against her husband..At times, 'The Hunting of the President,' which opens today in New York, takes on the paranoid cast of an Oliver Stone political thriller, particularly when it's dealing with the shadowy Arkansas organization of Clinton haters called ARIA (Alliance for the Rebirth of an Independent America). Figures like Larry Case and Larry Nichols, who stage-managed the Gennifer Flowers revelations, would be right at home among the New Orleans lowlifers of Mr. Stone's 'J. F. K.'" - Movie critic Dave Kehr in a June 18 review of the pro-Clinton documentary "The Hunting of the President."

"Among observations from cable news regulars like Jeffrey Toobin, James Carville and Paul Begala, 'The Hunting of the President' offers interviews with figures closely involved with the Clinton investigations, including, most movingly, Susan McDougal, the Whitewater figure who declined to cooperate with Kenneth Starr and went to jail. She appears here as a dignified victim, quietly placing the blame for the Whitewater mess (whatever it was) on her late, estranged husband, James McDougal." - Dave Kehr on "The Hunting of the President," June 18.

Reporter Christopher Marquis, Who "Calls Himself" Objective
"Conservative religious groups are keeping the pressure on the administration. A group leading the fight against the fund is the Population Research Institute in Front Royal, Va., which calls itself a research and education group that exposes human rights abuses in population control programs." - Christopher Marquis on conservative opposition to stem-cell research, June 21.

Gassing Up for Higher Gas Taxes
"Gas prices finally headed down last week, and may have peaked for the year, the Energy Department reported. This is good news for drivers and businesses. But the pattern over the last 30 years suggests that this is bad news for anyone who believes that Americans, the world's biggest oil consumers, can ever curb their energy consumption.William C. Ford Jr., the president of Ford, has said that higher gas taxes are needed to change consumer choices substantially. But few politicians want to lead the way. Senator John Kerry is paying the price for even considering higher gas taxes years ago; a Bush campaign ad lashed him for what it called this 'wacky idea.'" - Timothy Egan, June 20 Week in Review.

U.S. in Iraq = Soviets in Afghanistan
"A superpower invaded an impoverished Islamic nation. Guerrillas responded with AK-47's and rocket-propelled grenades. A generation of warriors was born, eager to wage jihad. That was Afghanistan in the 1980's. It became a breeding ground for terrorists-most infamously Osama bin Laden-who exported their deadly skills throughout the world. In Iraq, some of the same conditions that nurtured terrorism in the mountains of Afghanistan have emerged in the power vacuum created by the American occupation, Iraqis and terrorism experts say." - Edward Wong, June 20 Week in Review.

Accurate or Not, Michael Moore "A Credit to the Republic"
"while Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' will be properly debated on the basis of its factual claims and cinematic techniques, it should first of all be appreciated as a high-spirited and unruly exercise in democratic self-expression. Mixing sober outrage with mischievous humor and blithely trampling the boundary between documentary and demagoguery, Mr. Moore takes wholesale aim at the Bush administration, whose tenure has been distinguished, in his view, by unparalleled and unmitigated arrogance.Mr. Moore is often impolite, rarely subtle and occasionally unwise. He can be obnoxious, tendentious and maddeningly self-contradictory. He can drive even his most ardent admirers crazy. He is a credit to the republic." - Movie reviewer A. O. Scott, June 23.

9-11 Report "Undermines" Bush-Cheney on War
"The report found that there did not appear to have been a 'collaborative relationship' between Iraq and the terrorist network. That finding appeared to undermine one of the main justifications cited by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for invading Iraq and toppling Mr. Hussein." - Philip Shenon and Richard Stevenson on the 9-11 Commission's report, June 19.

9-11 Report "Called Into Question a Central Rationale to the War"
"Mr. Putin, who has cultivated a warm relationship with Mr. Bush despite sharp differences over the war, made his remarks a day after the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported in Washington that there was no clear evidence that Iraq had a relationship with Al Qaeda. That called into question a central rationale to the war, although Mr. Bush disputed the finding." - Steven Lee Myers, June 19.

9-11 Report "Contradicted" Bush and Cheney on War
"A staff report released by the commission last week said that there did not appear to have been a 'collaborative relationship' between Iraq and Al Qaeda, a finding that contradicted repeated statements by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in explaining the rationale for the war. The White House reacted with fury to the suggestion that it had overstated the Iraq-Al Qaeda ties." - Philip Shenon, June 20 Week in Review.

"No Evidence" to Back Up Bush on Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties
"An independent commission in Washington investigating the attacks of Sept. 11 reported last week that there was no evidence of a working relationship between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda, as the Bush administration had said in pressing its case for war." - Edward Wong, June 20 Week in Review.

Reality Check:
"Critics of the Bush administration argue that it falsely created a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks to help justify the war. Last week, the administration countered that it had never made such an assertion-only that there were ties, however murky, between Iraq and Al Qaeda. A survey of past public comments seems to bear that out-although whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say." - Tom Zeller, June 20 Week in Review.

Sentimentality for Sept. 11 victims? Perish the Thought
"The people behind the Freedom Center, one of the cultural institutions chosen this month to occupy ground zero, have spent much of their time so far insisting on what the nascent museum is not. It is not an arm of the Bush administration, despite the longtime friendship of its creator, the developer Tom A. Bernstein, with President Bush. It will not be a palace of pro-American propaganda, Mr. Bernstein says, or a place for sentimentally commemorating victims of the Sept. 11 terrorists." - Arts reporter Robin Pogrebin in a June 24 story on the proposed Freedom Center at Ground Zero in Manhattan.