June 18, 2004
HMM. THIS REPORT puts a different spin on the week's news:
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) - Russia gave the Bush administration intelligence after the September 11 attacks that suggested Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was preparing attacks in the United States, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. . . .
"After Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services, the intelligence service, received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other interests," Putin said.
He said the United States had thanked Russia for the information. There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials.
"It's one thing to have information that Saddam's regime is preparing terrorist attacks, (but) we didn't have information that it was involved in any known terrorist attacks," Putin said in the Kazakh capital Astana after regional economic and security summits.
(Emphasis added.) That's the difference between revenge and preemption. Bush's strategy was preemptive, for which he was criticized at the time. And this information seems rather more significant than the 9/11 Commission's claim that it can't prove a Saddam connection to the earlier attacks. It will, however, receive far less media attention, since there's no anti-Bush angle.
UPDATE: Lorie Byrd wonders what would have happened if we hadn't invaded Iraq, and there had been further attacks. Would Democrats be calling for Bush's impeachment?
Yep. And probably noting how tough Clinton was on Saddam, what with his signing the Iraq Liberation Act and calling for regime change and everything.
UPDATE: More thoughts here. Plus this observation: "I don't trust Putin in the slightest. But if he's lying that's interesting and if he's telling the truth, that's interesting."
ANOTHER UPDATE: This piece by James Joyner is worth reading, too.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh.