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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Bush administration on Iraq 9/11 link
US President George W Bush has explicitly stated for the first time that there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

George Bush
Bush maintains Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda are connected
Mr Bush has never directly accused the former Iraqi leader of having a hand in the attacks on New York and Washington, but he has repeatedly associated the two in keynote addresses delivered since 11 September. Senior members of his administration have similarly conflated the two.

A recent opinion poll suggests that 70% of Americans believe the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

Despite his stated rejection of any clear link between Saddam Hussein and the events of that day, Mr Bush continues to assert that the deposed president had ties with al-Qaeda, the terrorist network blamed for the 11 September attacks.

BBC News Online looks at some of the remarks made by Mr Bush and members of his administration both in the run-up to war and after hostilities had officially ended.


Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2002. The speech was primarily concerned with how the US was coping in the aftermath of 11 September.


We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On 11 September, 2001, America felt its vulnerability - even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

President Bush speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October, 2002, in which he laid out the threat he believed Iraq posed.


Before 11 September 2001, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents and lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons, and other plans - this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

President Bush in his State of the Union address, January 2003. He made these comments in the context of the links he perceived between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.


The terrorists have lost a sponsor in Iraq. And no terrorist networks will ever gain weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein's regime.

President Bush in his speech to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, September, 2003.


For America, there will be no going back to the era before 11 September 2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength.

They are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans.

We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.

President Bush in a televised address to defend his administration's policy on Iraq, September 2003.


We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after 11 September, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of 11 September.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a presentation to the UN Security Council, setting out the US case against the Iraqi regime, February 2003.


We don't know.

Vice-President Dick Cheney when pressed on whether there was a link between Iraq and 11 September during a TV interview, September 2003.


We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who've had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

Mr Cheney in the same interview, commenting on the war against Iraq.


We've never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it.

Mr Cheney in the same interview, while recounting the controversial claim that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, met an Iraqi official in Prague before the attacks.


[Saddam Hussein posed a risk in] a region from which the 9/11 threat emerged.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice defending the reasons why the US went to war against Iraq, September, 2003.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Juliet Dunlop
"President Bush has been cornered into making a potentially dangerous admission"



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