So here's a theory. Dick Cheney is actually a robot. Back in the early days of the Bush Administration, when he underwent "heart" surgery, he was actually Stepfordized. Admittedly, this theory has a few loose ends (mostly in that he's certainly not any better looking now), but at least it offers a feasible explanation for his insistence that Hussein had ties to al Qaida (i.e, there's a fatal error or short-circuit in his data access update loop or something like that).
From Marshall's Gaggle report:
Q Can I ask about Vice President Cheney, because yesterday he repeated what is a very controversial claim. He said that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda. Does the President believe that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda?
MR. McCLELLAN: We certainly talked about the ties with terrorism between the -- between the regime that was removed from power, and we talked about those ties prior to the decision to remove that regime from power. So that was well-documented. Secretary Powell went before the United Nations and talked about some of those ties to terrorism, as well. And Zarqawi is certainly a senior al Qaeda associate who was in Iraq prior to the decision to go in and remove the regime from power.
Q There's also al Qaeda in the United States. That does not mean the United States is cooperating with those members of al Qaeda. Just by the presence of someone does not mean there's a cooperation.
MR. McCLELLAN: But, remember, we're talking about an oppressive regime that was in power in Iraq that exercised control over that country. And go back and look at what we documented, Norah. We documented all this, and I think that's what the Vice President was referring to.
Q So today you're saying the President does agree there were long --
MR. McCLELLAN: We stand by what we've said previously, in terms of the regime's ties to terrorism, yes. And I think that's what the Vice President was referring to.
Q The President said there were no ties in the run up to the war.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, Helen, that's a mischaracterization. There were clear ties to terrorism between the regime --
Q He said there were no ties with al Qaeda.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- certainly supporting suicide bombers in the Middle East.
Q Are you repudiating what the President said?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think you're talking about September 11th.
Now let's be honest here. There are two possible interpretations of Cheney's statment that ""[Hussein] had long established ties with al Qaeda." 1) Hussein was somehow behind the attacks on 9/11 and 2) Hussein was supportive of al Qaeda, but had nothing to do with 9/11, per se.
The first one is, again, being discounted. This time by the 9/11 Commission:
The commission investigating the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US has found no "credible evidence" that Iraq helped al-Qaeda carry them out.
But the second one is seemingly discounted as well by the Commission, although we may need to wait for the full report to know for sure. The Associated Press headline does seem to imply there is more to understand here:
Bin Laden made overtures to Saddam for assistance, the commission said in a staff report, as he did with leaders in Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere as he sought to build an Islamic army.
While Saddam dispatched a senior Iraqi intelligence official to Sudan to meet with bin Laden in 1994, the commission said it had not turned up evidence of a "collaborative relationship."
Meanwhile, Cheney is campaigning, against all public evidence, on the idea that there were STRONG ties.
The most charitable explanation for this is that he's a malfunctioning robot. And I'm nothing, if not charitable. :p