Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, said on national television Sunday that it is "false" that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States:
MR. RUSSERT: Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction.
DR. DEAN: I said I wasn't sure, but I said I thought there probably were. But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false. [From NBC's "Meet The Press," May 22,2005]
Chairman Dean is, of course, wrong. Contrary to the Yowler's assertion, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States actually supports the fact that Osama bin Laden "had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States." From the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States' Monograph on Terrorist Financing [PDF file], at page 27:
Once in Afghanistan, Bin Laden focused on building al Qaeda into a fully operating
organization. Al Qaeda spent money on military training and support, including salaries
for jihadists, training camps, and related expenses. Reportedly there were also
propaganda and proselytizing-related expenses and costs to support al Qaeda outside
Before 9/11 al Qaeda was reportedly highly organized, with a committee structure that
included the Finance Committee. Credible evidence indicates that Bin Ladin played a
significant role in planning each operation and was very attentive to financial matters.
Other than Bin Ladin, the person with the most important role in al Qaeda financing was
reportedly Sheikh Qari Sa’id. Sa’id, a trained accountant, had worked with Bin Ladin in
the late 1980s when they fought together in Afghanistan and then for one of Bin Ladin’s
companies in Sudan in the early to mid-1990s. Sa’id was apparently notoriously
tightfisted with al Qaeda’s money.18 Operational leaders may have occasionally bypassed
Sa’id and the Finance Committee and requested funds directly from Bin Ladin. Al Qaeda
members apparently financed themselves for day-to-day expenses and relied on the
central organization only for operational expenses.
Al Qaeda funded a number of terrorist operations, including the 1998 U.S. embassy
bombings in East Africa (which cost approximately $10,000), the 9/11 attacks
(approximately $400,000–500,000), the October 18, 2002, Bali bombings.
The scary thing is that Chairman Dean and many of his followers may actually believe Dean's vile ranting, even though it is demonstrably false. To avoid the charge that I took dean's quote out of context, I've provided a longer passage from the Meet The Press transcript in the extended post. It is worth reading, if for no other reason than to see more evidence of the uncivil tone used by Chairman Dean when talking about Republicans:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me talk about some of the things you have said about the Republicans. Here's Howard Dean in January: "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for..."
Howard Dean in February: "This is a struggle between good and evil and we're the good?"
Do you really hate Republicans? Do you consider them evil?
DR. DEAN: I don't--well, actually that was a little out of context. But I don't hate Republicans as individuals. But I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country. I really do. I hate deficits, as you know. When I was governor, I really was very tough on fiscal responsibility. Deficits in the long run aren't good for the country, and they do lower our standard of living. Every American family knows that you have to pay your bills. I hate the dishonesty, you know, the idea that you'd put a program through Congress without telling people what it costs, I think that's wrong. Some of the things that the president said on our way into Iraq, they just weren't true, and I don't think that's right. So...
MR. RUSSERT: Such as?
DR. DEAN: Such as the weapons of mass destruction, which we have all known about, but the...
MR. RUSSERT: Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction.
DR. DEAN: I said I wasn't sure, but I said I thought there probably were. But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false. Is it wrong to send people to war without telling them the truth. And the truth was Osama bin Laden was a very bad person who was doing terrible things, but that Iraq was never a threat to the United States. That was the truth. It was underlined by the 9-11 Commission, headed, again, by a Republican, a well-respected group of people. I don't think you send American men and women to war, first of all without properly equipping them, and secondly without telling the truth to their parents about why it is we're asking them to make that sacrifice. So those are the kinds of things that I think are very bad about the Republicans.
Then there's some smaller things that are equally important. There was a study--the president has just put out rules for how much mercury is allowed in the air. Now, as a physician I know that mercury is a neurotoxic chemical which now has prevented people from eating most of the fish they catch because so much of it is going into the water. The president ignored--excuse me, the--his people ignored a report that said that mercury was much more toxic than they suspected and that the rules that the president was putting out were going to a allow more mercury into the air and make things worse. That report just got taken off the table and they went ahead and did it anyway because they have an agenda that's different than protecting the environment.
I don't like that kind of stuff. If the president wants to do that, he should say to the American people "Look, it's true that mercury's a bad thing and this may allow a little bit more, but it may allow for more jobs." I don't know what his reason for changing his position on mercury or pollution is. Why not be truthful with the American people about why it is and what the trade-offs really are?
If you wanted to send troops into Iraq--you know, I supported his father when his father sent troops to Iraq. I thought his father made a reasonable case. Kuwait is an ally of the United States. Saddam Hussein has invaded it. He's torturing people. We have an obligation as the last superpower to fix this. Instead the president said, "Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States," and that was just flat-out false. And I don't think that's the way you run a government.
MR. RUSSERT: But John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman all said Saddam was a threat to the United States. That was the belief.
DR. DEAN: Because they were told that by the president of the United States, and there is a wide berth given to the president. And I think it's justifiable. In a time of threat to the United States, there is a wide berth given to the president. You trust the president of the United States to give you the information no matter what party they're in. And I think the president was not--did not treat the Senate and the House properly either.
MR. RUSSERT: Wasn't it the intelligence community that misled the president, as well?
DR. DEAN: Well, I believe, and I think many Americans believe, and I think this has been written about, that there was pressure put on the intelligence agencies, as John Bolton was clearly demonstrated to have put pressure on a variety of people in the State Department, to come up with the conclusions that the president wanted. That's what I believe, and I think there's some evidence to that.
MR. RUSSERT: When did the president ever suggest that Saddam Hussein was responsible for September 11?
DR. DEAN: He didn't. His nuance--his people suggested that. He suggested that in a nuanced way in many of his speeches. He was asked once directly about it and said, "No, I don't have that evidence." But the truth is in every speech, including the ones during the campaign where he deliberately muddled the anti-terrorism war that we're engaged in with the war in Iraq. They are two separate efforts. Unfortunately, now because of the president's actions, I would argue that we're in greater danger now because of what's going on in Iraq than we were before. Now, there are terrorists in Iraq. They have migrated there since our troops were there.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me stay on your rhetoric. January, I mentioned that "I hate the Republicans, what they stand for, good and evil, we are the good." In March, you said, "Republicans are brain dead." You mentioned you're a physician--and this is April. "[Dean] did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh. `I'm not very dignified,' Dean said."
DR. DEAN: Well, that's true. A lot of people have accused me of not being dignified.
MR. RUSSERT: But is it appropriate for a physician to mock somebody who has gone into therapy and the abuse for drug addiction?
DR. DEAN: Here's the point I was trying--as most of these things are taken by the Republicans, spun around Washington saying this in a one sentence, which I generally had said. But then they're sort of manipulated around, saying this is the kind of thing he said. The Rush Limbaugh comment was one that I made about Rush Limbaugh, and I also said something about Bill O'Reilly. The problem is not that these folks have problems. They do, and they have problems in the case of a drug addiction. That's a medical problem. And I respect those who clearly, in my profession, who are trying to overcome their problems.
The problem is it is galling to Democrats, 48 percent of us who did not support the president, it is galling to be lectured to about moral values by folks who have their own problems. Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings. I don't think we ought to give a whole lot of lectures to people--I think the Bible says something to the effect that be careful when you talk about the shortcomings of somebody else when you haven't removed the moat from your own eye. And I don't think we ought to be lectured to by Republicans who have got all these problems themselves.
Rush Limbaugh has made a career of belittling other people and making jokes about President Clinton, about Mrs. Clinton and others. I don't think he's in any position to do that, nor do I think Bill O'Reilly is in a position to abuse families of survivors of 9/11, given his own ethical shortcomings. Everybody has ethical shortcomings. We ought not to lecture each other about our ethical shortcomings.
MR. RUSSERT: But should you jump in the fray and be mocking those kind of people?
DR. DEAN: I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy. I'm not going to be lectured as a Democrat--we've got some pretty strong moral values in my party, and maybe we ought to do a better job standing up and fighting for them. Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans', is we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night. Our moral values say that people who work hard all their lives ought to be able to retire with dignity. Our moral values say that we ought to have a strong, free public education system so that we can level the playing field. Our moral values say that what's going on in Indian country in this country right now in terms of health care and education is a disgrace, and for the president of the United States to cut back on health-care services all over America is wrong.
Democrats have strong moral values. Frankly, my moral values are offended by some of the things I hear on programs like "Rush Limbaugh," and we don't have to put up with that. Our problem in this party is we didn't stand up early enough and fight back against folks like that who thought they were going to push us around and bully us, and we're not going to do it anymore.
Thanks to Jonathan at GOP Bloggers for the tip.UPDATE: Jackson's Junction has the video.