Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld isn’t letting go of his talking points that support the U.S. invasion of Iraq following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Exactly 10 years after those attacks, Rumsfeld suggested to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday that Iraq had been “hospitable” to al Qaeda before the U.S. invaded the country.
“There’s no question that al Qaeda and Zarqawi and people were in Iraq,” Rumsfeld argued. “They aggregated there.”
“If we hadn’t invaded, they wouldn’t have been there,” Zakaria pointed out.
“We don’t know that,” Rumsfeld insisted. “You don’t know that. I don’t know that.”
“But they went in to fight us. So since we weren’t there, why would they have gone into Iraq?” Zakaria countered.
“Why have they gone into Yemen and Somalia?” Rumsfeld asked. “Why do al Qaeda go anywhere? They go where it’s hospitable.”
“Right, and Iraq hadn’t been hospitable,” Zakaria said.
A Department of Defense Inspector General report declassified in 2007 debunked claims that Pentagon official Douglas Feith had made to bolster the Bush administration case for war, that there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.
“The Feith office alternative intelligence assessments concluded that Iraq and al Qaeda were cooperating and had a ‘mature, symbiotic’ relationship, a view that was not supported by the available intelligence, and was contrary to the consensus view of the Intelligence Community,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said in a statement.
In fact, George Piro, the former FBI agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein, confirmed to CBS News that the Iraqi dictator had viewed Osama bin Laden as a threat.
In 2008, President George W. Bush admitted to ABC’s Martha Raddatz that al Qaeda had not been Iraq before the invasion.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Bush agreed. “So what?”
Watch this video from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, broadcast Sept. 11, 2011.