Fact-checking a Dick Cheney interview with Rush Limbaugh is an almost impossible task -- there are just too many lies -- but try we must. The embattled Vice President chatted once again with radio’s most notorious demagogue and offered the kind of doozies that only Cheney can provide. For example, nearly five years later, the VP still wants Americans to believe al Qaeda was active in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
“[R]emember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, al Qaeda affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then migrated — after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the al Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene, and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June. He’s the guy who arranged the bombing of the Samarra Mosque that precipitated the sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni. This is al Qaeda operating in Iraq. And as I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq.”
Ironically, almost the exact time Cheney was repeating nonsense that was debunked years ago, the Defense Department’s Inspector General was inadvertently making Cheney look ridiculous.
Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides “all confirmed” that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.
As for Zarqawi, before our invasion, he wasn’t a member of al Qaeda; was a rival to bin Laden. And at the time, Zarqawi wasn’t in Iraq with Saddam’s blessing; he was operating in a part of Iraq that wasn’t under Saddam’s control. (The Senate Intelligence Committee found that Saddam “attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi.”
If Cheney were capable of feeling shame, now would be a good time for it.