Friday, September 05, 2003

Relying on Deception

Shrubya once said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are ones you want to concentrate on.” In fairness, it was supposed to be in jest. In truth, it may not have been. But whether he meant it or not, his Presidency hinges on it now.

Hussein Link to 9/11 Lingers in Many Minds

By Dana Milbank and Claudia Deane

On the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, seven in 10 Americans continue to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks, even though the Bush administration and congressional investigators say they have no evidence of this.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they thought it at least likely that Hussein was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to the latest Washington Post poll. That impression, which exists despite the fact that the hijackers were mostly Saudi nationals acting for al Qaeda, is broadly shared by Democrats, Republicans and independents….

While that belief came without prompting from Washington, Democrats and some independent experts say Bush exploited the apparent misconception by implying a link between Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the months before war with Iraq. "The notion was reinforced by these hints, the discussions that they had about possible links with al Qaeda terrorists," said Andrew Kohut, a pollster who leads the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

The poll's findings are significant because they help to explain why the public continues to support the war in Iraq despite the setbacks and bloodshed there. Americans have more tolerance for war when it is provoked by an attack, particularly one by an all-purpose villain such as Hussein. "That's why attitudes about the decision to go to war are holding up," Kohut said.

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