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CNN Carol Costello questions Repub claim of evidence linking Saddam - 9/11 [View All]

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dancingme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-29-05 08:53 AM
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CNN Carol Costello questions Repub claim of evidence linking Saddam - 9/11
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Good morning.

COSTELLO: Representative Hayes, your district includes Fort Bragg, where the president made his speech.

I want to read you an e-mail from one of our viewers. Dan in California writes: "Bush really should be making this speech at Arlington National Cemetery, not at Fort Bragg."

Was it appropriate for President Bush to speak there?

HAYES: Absolutely, it was. It shows our love and appreciation for the troops and what they're doing. The president spent three hours with family members who've lost loved ones as a result of this war against terror and terrorists.

COSTELLO: But isn't he, in part, using Fort Bragg as an appropriate backdrop to cheerlead the war in Iraq?

HAYES: It's not about cheerleading the war in Iraq, it's about informing the American people of the progress that's been made. The e-mail I got from Iraq yesterday, "a time line is a terrible mistake," "we are winning," "we will win." And the stakes, the future is Western civilization and freedom around the world.

COSTELLO: President Bush said in his speech we're there to fight terrorists. But he failed to explain how a war to remove a dictator bent on using nuclear weapons has turned into a fight against Muslim militants.

Doesn't he owe us an explanation?

HAYES: He gave us a very good explanation of what the war is about. It's winning the war against terror and people that would kill us, innocent women and children. This is about a military action against ruthless, brutal killers who have no conscience whatsoever.

COSTELLO: Well, we understand that.

HAYES: It's about destroying us.

COSTELLO: But that's not what it started out, when the United States invaded Iraq.

It's changed, hasn't it?

HAYES: I don't think it's changed at all. It's very clear that terrorists are connected to what Saddam Hussein was all about. And that again faces up to the most severe threat going forward...

COSTELLO: But there is no...

HAYES: We have to do a good job explaining...

COSTELLO: ... evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way to al Qaeda.

HAYES: Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you're mistaken. There's evidence everywhere. We get access to it, unfortunately others don't. But the evidence is very clear.

COSTELLO: What evidence is there?

HAYES: The connection between individuals who were connected to Saddam Hussein, folks who worked for him, we've seen it time and time again. But the issue is where are we now. Nobody disputes 9/11. They would do that again if not prevented. Preventing 9/11 wherever it might happen in America, winning the war overseas, not bringing it here to our shores, is the issue in that regard.

COSTELLO: Well, are you saying that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11?

HAYES: I'm saying that Saddam Hussein -- and I think you're losing track of what we're trying to talk about here -- Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11. Did he make the phone call and say...

COSTELLO: There's no evidence of that.

HAYES: Well, I'm sorry, you haven't looked in the right places.

COSTELLO: I must not have, because I know of no evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. And, also, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And many people writing to us this morning wanted the president to explain those things.

HAYES: Well, we would be glad to explain it. I'd love to talk to those people face-to-face because hundreds of thousands of Kurds were gassed and killed, biological weapons were used. Fortunately, nuclear weapons weren't there. That's one smoking gun we didn't find. But it's very clear he would have used it if he could. The terrorists that remain would clearly use nuclear, biological, chemical, any other kind of weapon to destroy you, me and our families.

COSTELLO: All right, well, let me ask you this, because taxpayers are doling out in excess of $400 billion to pay for this war. You have the power when it comes to this.

Is there a time when you will say enough?

HAYES: I will say enough when we have victory against terror and terrorists. We are winning the war in Iraq. A time line is a terrible idea. That came directly from the people who are fighting the war. Progress is being made. The men and women are doing a fabulous job. There's a time line clearly with a constitution and elections being held. We stand down as they stand up. Progress is being made every day in the strength and confidence of the Iraqi security forces. That's what brings our men and women home. And the stake is our future and our children's future.

COSTELLO: A final question.

Do you feel safer here because of the war in Iraq? Is that preventing terrorist attacks in the United States?

HAYES: Absolutely. Well, we haven't had an attack since 9/11, and that's what we're here to prevent. And I absolutely do feel safer. If not now, when? If not here, where? And better in Iraq than in America.

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