Today, Tony the Snow job gets into the finer points of what the president supposedly didn't say:
Q Well, one more, Tony, just one more. Do you believe -- does the President still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to Zarqawi or al Qaeda before the invasion?Is Tony true or false? Or, does it look more like he spinning the rhetoric to split hairs so no one can call Bush a liar?
MR. SNOW: The President has never said that there was a direct, operational relationship between the two, and this is important. Zarqawi was in Iraq.
Q There was a link --
MR. SNOW: Well, and there was a relationship -- there was a relationship in this sense: Zarqawi was in Iraq; al Qaeda members were in Iraq; they were operating, and in some cases, operating freely from Iraq. Zarqawi, for instance, directed the assassination of an American diplomat in Amman, Jordan. But they did they have a corner office at the Mukhabarat? No. Were they getting a line item in Saddam's budget? No. There was no direct operational relationship, but there was a relationship. They were in the country, and I think you understand that the Iraqis knew they were there. That's the relationship.
Q Saddam Hussein knew they were there; that's it for the relationship?
MR. SNOW: That's pretty much it.
Q The Senate report said they didn't turn a blind eye.
MR. SNOW: The Senate report -- rather than get -- you know what, I don't want to get into the vagaries of the Senate report, but it is pretty clear, among other things, again, that there were al Qaeda operators inside Iraq, and they included Zarqawi, they included a cleric who had been described as the best friend of bin Laden who was delivering sermons on TV. But we are simply not going to go to the point that the President is -- the President has never made the statement that there was an operational relationship, and that's the important thing, because I think there's a tendency to say, aha, he said that they were in cahoots and they were planning and doing stuff; there's no evidence of that.
Really, does it matter whether or not the inference is that there was not an "opperational" connection when President Bush says,
Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world and he continues to do so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein is a danger, and that's why he will be disarmed -- one way or the other.Who is the great "deciever" here?