POLITICS
03/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bush Continues To Link Iraq With 9-11

Five years after the beginning of the Iraq War, some things never change. Among them, our President's continuing effort to sell his Middle East misadventure as a response to the September 11th attacks. He did it again today, as a means of shaming those who doubt the wisdom of ignoring a central threat to our national security for the purpose of creating a newer, costlier one.

As much as he'd prefer to pretend that criticism of the Iraq War doesn't affect him, he's clearly been listening to it, hence this curious passage:

BUSH: When we consider the costs of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq, if we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate and Iraq would descend into chaos. Al Qaeda would regain its lost sanctuaries and establish new ones, fomenting violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq's borders with serious consequences for the world's economy. With such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened with new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America, and embolden al Qaeda with access to Iraq's oil resources, could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction and to attack America and other free nations. Iran would be emboldened, as well, with a renewed determination to develop nuclear weapons and impose its brand of hegemony across the Middle East.

Of course, civilian casualties in Iraq are on the rise again, al Qaeda has regained sanctuaries abroad, they have fomented violence beyond Iraq's borders, and they are gaining recruits. Meanwhile, Iran is, in fact, emboldened, their determination to develop nuclear weapons has been renewed and their hegemony is spreading because of alliances with Iraqi Shiites.

In short, Mr. Bush thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts. And this is never more apparent than his insistence on seeing Iraq as a response to the September 11th attacks:

BUSH: To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11th and make it more likely that America would suffer another attack like the one we experienced that day, a day in which 19 armed men with box cutters killed nearly 3,000 people on our soil. A day after which following that attack more than a million Americans lost work, lost their jobs.

If the central lesson of September 11th is that we need to launch a costly, unending war against a nation that couldn't threaten us, carving out a power vacuum for terrorists to fill, what have we been taught, other than appeasement?