Out of bounds! Palin confuses Iraq with al Qaida

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 12, 2008 

WASHINGTON — Throw the flag on: Sarah Palin.

Call: Pass interference.

What Happened: On the 7th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Palin linked Iraq to those attacks.

"You'll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the deaths of thousands of Americans," Palin told an Army brigade in Alaska that will ship off to Iraq later this month.

Why that's wrong: The bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States."

The panel also said that contacts between al Qaida and Iraq before the attacks "do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."

The group's conclusion confirmed similar findings by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. President Bush, who once claimed such a pre 9-11 connection to Iraq, has since backed off.

In fact, the man who planned the 9-11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is in U.S. custody at the Guantanamo base in Cuba.

It is true that there are terrorists in Iraq, including many associated with a branch of al Qaida. But the Iraq-based al Qaida has no operational connection to the al Qaida that planned and carried out the 9-11 attacks.

Penalty: Set Palin's credibility back 10 yards.


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