According to a poll conducted last week
, 42% of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks which occurred three years ago tomorrow. If that figure doesn't scare you, it should. This comes long after the president finally stated at least twice, in no uncertain terms, that there was no evidence of any connection. (source
.) The phrasing of the poll question, which has been repeated periodically since just after the attacks, was as follows
"How likely is it that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks? Would you say that it is very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely?"
Respondents who were listed as believing the connection came from the "very likely and somewhat likely" groups.
If you want some good news (sort of) that number is improving. On 9/13/01 the figure was 78%. By 2/6/03 it had dropped to 72% and by 8/11/03 it slipped to 69%. But even with the admission by Bush and the complete lack of any evidence, how do 42% of Americans still hold onto this myth? The likely answer is that each time Bush comes out and admits there is no connection, Dick "Damn the evidence, full speed ahead" Cheney shows up on the next round of Sunday morning talk shows and says there is "no question there is a connection." Or more recently, "There may or may not be a connection, but there is no information we can share with you about it at this point."
Then you only need to add into this equation the near daily appearances of George W. Bush talking in rosy terms about how well things are going in Iraq and how we are doing so well in the "war on terror
." Guess what, Mr. President? The war on "terror" (if you can even have such a "war") is in Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan, don't you? And that fellow with the long beard hanging out in the mountains over there.... what was his name again? bin something?
Let's all join in together now and loudly have a verbal exercise to wake ourselves up. Say it with me now. "IRAQ HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WAR ON TERROR."
Don't you feel better?
Iraq is, if anything, a distraction
from the "war" on terror. How many troops do we have on the ground in Iraq now? Roughly 120,000? Take a look at Afghanistan
. It's not even the size of Texas. That mountainous section along the border with Pakistan is smaller than New Jersey. Can you imagine what would have happened if we put 120,000 angry troops into that region right off the bat? If you were trying to hide in there you'd be tripping over our soldiers. Not to mention the thousands of troops from allied countries who were more than willing to go in there and help out. If we had gotten serious about hunting down the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and used the type of force we have employed in the diversion of Iraq, bin Laden would have long since been dead or captured and the Army Corps of Engineers would likely be busy right now building golf courses and paving the parking lot around the new McDonald's.
In the beginning of 2002 President Bush not only had the support of the international community - he had the support of almost the entire nation for an assault on the terrorists hiding out in Afghanistan. Even the most peace loving among us were saying, "Ok, George. We don't much care for war, but these guys just murdered 3,000 of our citizens. Go get the bastards." Instead, we made a token gesture with an insufficient number of under-funded and ill equipped troops, and now they are holed up in the three major cities while warlords, the Taliban and bin Laden's boys continue to blow up the place. As a consolation prize we get one thousand dead American troops in Iraq.
And what about you, Senator Kerry? I've heard you say that we should be aggressively prosecuting the war in Afghanistan, and that's great. Probably one of your best talking points and you haven't diverted from it very much. But exactly how do you plan to do it? Where will the troops come from, and when? In short, where's the beef, John? Don't give us platitudes if you want our votes. Give us some details.