By Bruce Riedel

Twenty years after the al-Qaida assault on September 11, 2001, the US continues to be concerned in a struggle in Iraq that it began. President George W. Bush was obsessive about the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and intentionally misled the American individuals about who was chargeable for the 9/11 assault.

I used to be within the White Home on September 12, 2001, on the workers of the Nationwide Safety Council. I just lately got here throughout my pocket diary for 2001. In it, I wrote temporary notes on every day’s exercise within the White Home the place I used to be senior director for the Close to East. I met with Nationwide Safety Adviser Condoleezza Rice daily and Bush virtually as ceaselessly due to the second intifada. We had been always attempting to include the violence and forestall a wider regional battle. In reviewing the diary I used to be intrigued by two notes.

On September 14, I used to be with Bush when he had his first telephone name after 9/11 with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush instantly mentioned he was planning to “hit” Iraq quickly. Blair was audibly stunned. He pressed Bush for proof of Iraq’s connection to the 9/11 assault and to al-Qaida. After all, there was none, which British intelligence knew.

On September 18, per week after 9/11, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan got here to the White Home to see Bush. The assembly passed off on the Truman Balcony. Vice President Richard Cheney and Rice had been there as properly. My notice says the president “clearly thinks Iraq should be behind this. His inquiries to Bandar present his bias.” Bandar was visibly perplexed. He instructed Bush that the Saudis had no proof of any collaboration between Osama bin Laden and Iraq. Certainly their historical past was of being antagonists.

Afterward, Bandar instructed me privately that the Saudis had been very apprehensive about the place Bush’s obsession with Iraq was going. The Saudis had been alarmed that attacking Iraq would solely profit Iran and set in movement extreme destabilizing repercussions throughout the area. The Saudis pressed Bush to return out publicly in help of a Palestinian state as he had privately promised Crown Prince Abdullah Al Saud.

On September 28, Bush obtained Jordan’s King Abdullah. The king pressed the president to take motion to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He argued that the Palestinian battle was the driving power behind al-Qaida’s reputation and legitimacy. However the president was centered on Iraq.

The US did go to struggle with Iraq quickly sufficient. The Bush administration was wanting to mobilize the anguish of the 9/11 assault to help the struggle. Regardless of the intelligence group’s unequivocal conclusion that Iraq had nothing to do with both 9/11 or al-Qaida, the administration let People consider the opposite.

Consequently, the US went to struggle in Iraq on a false pretense that it was someway avenging these killed by al-Qaida. A Washington Publish ballot carried out two years after 9/11 dramatically illustrated the story: 69% of People on the time believed Saddam Hussein was “personally” concerned within the 9/11 assault. Much more staggering, 82% believed Saddam supplied help to Osama bin Laden. Each had been totally false.

One lesson of the previous 20 years is the crucial of an knowledgeable public. Sadly, we’re nonetheless a good distance from an enlightened public.

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