During a discussion on Colorado State of Mind, Republican former Colorado House speaker Lola Spradley parroted the dubious claim that the 9-11 attacks "started" the Iraq war. In fact, even President Bush has admitted that there is no evidence of a link between Iraq and the 2001 terrorist attacks.
On the January 12 broadcast of Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind, guest and former Colorado House speaker Lola Spradley (R-Beulah) repeated the widely discredited notion that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks "started" the Iraq war. In response to host Greg Dobbs' question about whether President Bush's "new war plan," a "so-called surge" of more than 20,000 troops, will "help," Spradley replied, "Well, I hope so," adding, "let's not forget what started all this, and that was 9-11." In fact, even Bush admitted in 2004 that there is no evidence that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Spradley's comment echoed a claim Bush made in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address that "[e]vidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda," the terrorist organization identified as responsible for the 9-11 attacks. Bush again implied a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda in a March 21, 2003, letter to congressional leaders immediately following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. According to the letter, "[T]he use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." Further statements from Bush alleging a collaborative link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, along with similar statements from Vice President Dick Cheney, later proved patently untrue.
As Media Matters for America noted, the 9-11 Commission found that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no "collaborative relationship," and a September 8, 2006, Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward [Iraqi Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al-] Zarqawi and his associates."
Furthermore, as Media Matters has noted, in response to the question, "What did Iraq have to do with ... [t]he attack on the World Trade Center?" raised during an August 21, 2006, press conference, Bush replied, "Nothing."
From the January 12 broadcast of Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind:
DOBBS: Now, let's move on to the war. As you know, Wednesday night the president, in a nationally televised and broadcast address, laid out his new war plan. And it involves more financial support for the Iraqis to create a better society; it involves more Iraqi troops taking the lead in the fights in Baghdad, but mainly involves this so-called surge, more than 20,000 troops, about 80 percent of them going to Baghdad, going to the worst parts of Baghdad, to try to put down the insurgency. And my question -- we'll start, Lola, with you, and just ask to go around the table, less than a minute apiece -- will it help?
SPRADLEY: Well, I hope so. I think it's an important thing that we win this war, that we continue to stay there, that we support the Iraqis. I think there's a lot of positive things going on in Iraq right now. I think people are going to school that haven't been to school. I think boys and girls are going to school that have been precluded from that. I think the infrastructure's being built. I think there's a lot of issues that need to be worked on. And -- but I hope that we would not withdraw, or some people are calling it redeploy. I don't know exactly what that means. But -- redeploy to where? But I think we need to stay the course and make improvements --
DOBBS: So, briefly --
SPRADLEY: -- and -- and make improvements and so that we win this thing, because, let's not forget what started all this, and that was 9-11 --
DOBBS: But do you believe -- Lola --
SPRADLEY: -- and we had over 3,000 people killed.
DOBBS: Lola, do you believe -- and just, in a word -- do you believe that this new war plan will help us win this thing?
SPRADLEY: You know, I think as a citizen who's listening to what's being said and those kinds of things, the military has a lot more information and knows a lot more than we do, and I just -- I'm willing to stay the course and try to win this war, because I think it's important -- I think it's an important signal to our leadership and to countries like Iran, so I think we need to -- to win this war.
AL LEWIS (Denver Post columnist): This new war plan is a joke.