I think I’ve figured it out. No really! We’re all pretty much in agreement these days that Iraq was not involved in the planes-crashing-into-big-ass-buildings event of September 11th, 2001. So some have wondered why it is that politicians keep trying to connect the 9/11 terrorist attacks with our presence in Iraq. Here’s the reasoning:
There are only so many items that your average terrorist can get his hands on that will kill thousands of people. That list includes airplanes, as evidenced by 9/11. That list also includes anthrax, mustard gas, dirty bombs, and a host of other “weapons of mass destruction.” So let’s split the thousands-killers into two groups: everyday weapons of mass destruction (EWMDs), and special order items of mass destruction (SOWMDs). [To be fair, EWMDs are not exactly "weapons" in the normal sense of the word. But we've been fed the WMD phrase for so long that it is hard to change and not create confusion.] Terrorists can get their hands on EWMDs on their own. But terrorists need governments to get SOWMDs. Because only governments have the buying power (politically and financially) to obtain SOWMDs.
So to prevent another large scale terrorist attack using EWMDs, to prevent another 9/11, we needed to seal off the borders and tighten security at airports. Or something.
But to prevent a large scale terrorist attack similar to 9/11, but using SOWMDs, we needed to topple governments shady enough to sell SOWMDs to terrorists.
Which is not to say I think this reasoning is sound. I’m not sure how being convinced we are susceptible to large-scale EWMD attacks “fundamentally changed ‘the balance of risk’ in the world”, and required us to rethink our approach to “rogue” states. Tighter reasoning could be found if a disgruntled Scotsman procured smallpox from a rogue state, then released it in London, killing thousands. This hypothetical would be a better impetus to go to war with Iraq, even if Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with providing the smallpox. Why? Because it would indicate our vulnerability to the actions of rogue states, and the need for better containment. Or it would provide some evidence, at any rate.
But no matter. The point is that by bringing up 9/11 during a speech on Iraq, it is not necessarily the case that Bush is ignoring the facts or trying to dupe the American public again.