One of the most reprehensible things about the past year's campaign against President Bush is that his accusers have repeatedly lied in calling him a liar -- and they've marshaled nonexistent evidence to support their fraudulent claims.
One of the principle complaints against President Bush's prosecution of the War on Terror is that he distorted the facts to tie Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks against the United States in order to strengthen his case for attacking Iraq.
Indeed an interim report by the 9/11 commission staff stated there is no credible evidence that Saddam collaborated with Al Qaeda on any attacks against America. A salivating partisan media, Senator Kerry and other assorted Bush-haters seized on that headline as if it were one of the final nails in the president's electoral coffin.
But just like almost every other wished-for smoking gun against President Bush, this "finding" has ended up being an embarrassing, impotent little water pistol.
The Bush administration is guilty of no misrepresentations on this issue. If someone sets about to prove another person of lying, at the very least he should accurately quote the accused. After all, if you don't even know what the alleged liar said, how can you begin to determine whether he lied?
In all their gotcha-mania the accusers failed to meet this threshold requirement. They, including the New York Times, accused the administration of misrepresenting something it never said. You've got to have a representation before you can have a misrepresentation.
But now the Times has belatedly admitted that the Bush administration never claimed there was a specific connection between Saddam and 9/11 attacks, "only that there were ties, however murky, between Iraq and Al Qaeda."
Don't just brush over this as if it's a minor detail. The Times just confessed that neither Bush nor his team ever said Saddam was tied to 9/11. The Times even provided statements from various administration officials claiming there were connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda, but never positing a 9/11 conspiracy. This is a major, painful admission by the Times. Suffice it to say that if administration officials had made such an assertion, the Times would have discovered it in their frantic Nexis searches.
But true to form, the Times refused to remove the Bush smear completely, ending its paragraph with this tacky little bit of innuendo: "although whether there was a deliberate campaign to create guilt by association is difficult to say." Translation: "While we grudgingly concede the Bush team made no express claims tying Saddam to 9/11, it may well have tried to imply there was such a connection by confusing the issue."