Did Sep. 11, 2001 justify the Bush Administration's decision to attack Iraq?

PRO (yes)

George W. Bush, MBA, US President at the time of the quote, stated in a May 1, 2003 speech on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln:

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on.

That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America.

By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world.

They have failed...

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding."

May 1, 2003 - George W. Bush, MBA 

Sarah Palin, US Vice Presidential candidate at the time of the quote, stated in a Sep. 11, 2008 address to Iraq-bound US soldiers in Alaska:

"You'll be [in Iraq] to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans. You'll be there because America can never go back to that false sense of security that came before September 11, 2001."

Sep. 11, 2008 - Sarah Palin 

Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense at the time of the quote, stated in a July 9, 2003 hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee:

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq’s pursuit of WMD; we acted because we saw the existing evidence in a new light—through the prism of our experience on 9/11."

July 9, 2003 - Donald Rumsfeld 

Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush, is quoted in a Sep. 12, 2007 Washington Post article titled "9/11 Linked to Iraq, in Politics if not in Fact" by Peter Baker:

"Nine-one-one absolutely is a bona fide, legitimate reason to remind people what's at stake... The point is not that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. They're not. But 9/11 should be a vivid reminder to everyone about how vulnerable our country is and that's why we need to win in Iraq."

Sep. 12, 2007 - Ari Fleischer 

John Kriesel, an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs in a blast near Fallujah on Dec. 2, 2006, stated in an advertisement (accessed via YouTube.com on Sep. 10, 2009) for Freedom's Watch, a conservative 501(c)4 lobbying organization:

"Congress was right to vote to fight terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. I reenlisted after 9/11 because I don't want my sons to see what I saw. I want them to be free and safe. I know what I lost, I also know that if we pull out now, everything I have given in sacrifice will mean nothing. They attacked us and they will again. They won't stop in Iraq."

Sep. 10, 2009 - John Kriesel 

Dick Cheney, MA, US Vice President at the time of the quote, stated in a Mar. 16, 2003 interview on NBC's Meet the Press:

"We’re now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons.

After we got hit on 9/11 the president said no more and enunciated the Bush doctrine that we will hold states that sponsor terror, that provide sanctuary for terrorists to account, that they will be treated as guilty as the terrorists themselves of whatever acts are committed from bases on that soil. That’s a brand- new departure. We’ve never done that before. It makes some people very uncomfortable, but it’s absolutely essential as part of our strategy for taking down the al-Qaeda organization and for ending the terrorist threat that the United States has been forced to deal with over the years."

Mar. 16, 2003 - Dick Cheney, MA 

CON (no)

Dennis Kucinich, MA, member of the US House of Representatives (D-OH), stated on his website kucinich.house.gov (accessed Apr. 27, 2006):

"We have seen that there has been nothing but a trail of lies that led the United States into its involvement in Iraq. That Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda's role in 9/11, nor with the anthrax attack upon this country. Iraq had neither the intention nor the capability of attacking the United States."

Apr. 27, 2006 - Dennis Kucinich, MA 

Ron Paul, MD, member of the US House of Representatives (R-TX), stated in an Apr. 22, 2004 speech on the House floor:

"Evidence has shown that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and the guerilla attacks on New York and Washington, and since no weapons of mass destruction were found, other reasons are given for invading Iraq. The real reasons are either denied or ignored: oil, neo-conservative empire building, and our support for Israel over the Palestinians."

Apr. 22, 2004 - Ron Paul, MD 

Charles Lewis, MA, Founder of the Center for Public Integrity, and Mark Reading-Smith, Senior Researcher and Editor at the Fund for Independence in Journalism, wrote in a Jan. 23, 2008 Center for Public Integrity article titled "False Pretenses":

"President Bush’s true reason for invading Iraq- regime change- was a poor and immoral excuse...

Bush knew that 9/11 had generated tremendous fear within the American people and that people placed tremendous faith in the federal government after those attacks: Americans were unlikely to question anything he said or did with respect to foreign policy.

Because he undoubtedly knew that regime change as the reason for invading Iraq would encounter resistance among people who place a high value on human life, Bush developed his wide range of alternative justifications (WMD, ties to terrorists, dangerous dictator, liberation, democracy-spreading, etc.) for invading Iraq. But all those alternative justifications were nothing more than false and fallacious covers for the decades-long policy of the U.S. government to extend its power around the world through the support and installation of U.S.-approved regimes."

Jan. 23, 2008 - Charles Lewis, MA 
Mark Reading-Smith 

Wesley Clark, MA, US General at the time of the quote, in a June 15, 2003 interview with Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press, stated:

Wesley Clark: "There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein."

Tim Russert: "By who? Who did that?"

Wesley Clark: "Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.' I said, 'But--I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence."

June 15, 2003 - Wesley Clark, MA 

Barack Obama, JD, US Senator (D-IL) at the time of the quote, stated in a Sep. 11, 2007 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with General David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker:

"I have to say, and this hasn't been commented on, I think that we should not have had this discussion on 9/11 or 9/10 or 9/12. Because I think it perpetuates this notion that somehow the original decision to go into Iraq was directly related to the attacks on 9/11."

Sep. 11, 2007 - Barack Obama, JD