Sunday, 7 September 2003

More Saddam and 9/11

I know virtually nobody reads my blog, but you saw this AP reporting here six weeks ago. However, something odd struck me in the article:

President Bush and members of his administration suggested a link between the two [Saddam and 9/11] in the months before the war in Iraq. Claims of possible links have never been proven, however.

Bush et al. have suggested a direct link between the Hussein regime and al-Qaeda, most famously during Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations earlier in the year. To my knowledge, they have never suggested a direct link between Hussein and the 9/11 attacks (and I’ll gladly link to any credible source that contradicts this statement). Both myths—the mass public’s belief that “Saddam was involved in 9/11” and the leftists’ “Bush said Saddam was involved in 9/11“—seem to persist despite any evidence to support them. The former is explainable as voters using heuristics to fill in the gaps in their knowledge; the latter mostly seems to be a partisan screen connected to the “lefties are smarter than Bush” belief system.

What’s amazing is that the former belief is widely rejected by political and media elites, but the latter seems to have gained widespread acceptance, to the point the allegation can appear routinely in AP articles without supporting evidence. Yet exactly the same body of evidence underpins both beliefs, and it supports neither conclusion.