Uzbekistan Enters Vice-Presidential Debate

by Laurence on 10/6/2004

John Edwards mentioned Uzbekistan in his debate with Vice-President Cheney last night, according to this transcript:

EDWARDS: Here’s what it means: It means that Saddam Hussein needed to be confronted. John. Kerry and I have consistently said that. That’s why we voted for the resolution. But it also means it needed to be done the right way.

And doing it the right way meant that we were prepared; that we gave the weapons inspectors time to find out what we now know, that in fact there were no weapons of mass destruction; that we didn’t take our eye off the ball, which are Al Qaida, Osama bin Laden, the people who attacked us on September the 11th. Now, remember, we went into Afghanistan, which, by the way, was the right thing to do. That was the right decision. And our military performed terrifically there.

But we had Osama bin Laden cornered at Tora Bora. We had the 10th Mountain Division up in Uzbekistan available. We had the finest military in the world on the ground. And what did we do?

We turned — this is the man who masterminded the greatest mass murder and terrorist attack in American history. And what did the administration decide to do?

They gave the responsibility of capturing and/or killing Saddam — I mean Osama bin Laden to Afghan warlords who, just a few weeks before, had been working with Osama bin Laden.

Our point in this is not complicated: We were attacked by Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

We went into Afghanistan and very quickly the administration made a decision to divert attention from that and instead began to plan for the invasion of Iraq.

And these connections — I want the American people to hear this very clearly. Listen carefully to what the vice president is saying. Because there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th — period.

The 9/11 Commission has said that’s true. Colin Powell has said it’s true. But the vice president keeps suggesting that there is. There is not. And, in fact, any connection with Al Qaida is tenuous at best.

IFILL: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds to respond.


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