Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Would someone please make sure Dick Cheney gets a copy of this report?

The Pentagon ordered an intensive review, in which over 600,000 pages of documents captured after the fall of the Iraqi government were examined, and they prove what most people - and all of the sane ones - have known for years, and what the Senate Intelligence Committee found in September 2006 (before the Democratic majority!)

There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Iraq was not a safe haven, nor did the state supply material or financial support to the terrorist network. The study was produced by a federally-funded think tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses, under contract to the Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Joint Forces Command. The report, entitled "Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents" was completed last year, but the declassification process has been a rough process, seeing as how it points the finger and screams "J'accuse!!!" at a whole bunch of high-ranking administration officials.

Officials - plural - familiar with the report spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity, because the report will not be delivered to Congress until at least Wednesday. But let's revisit some of the lies, just to refresh our memories, shall we?

  • President Bush and his aides used Saddam's alleged relationship with al Qaida, along with Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, as arguments for invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
  • Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had "bulletproof" evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam's secular dictatorship.
  • Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell cited multiple linkages between Saddam and al Qaida in a watershed February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council to build international support for the invasion. Almost every one of the examples Powell cited turned out to be based on bogus or misinterpreted intelligence.
  • As recently as last July, Bush tried to tie al Qaida to the ongoing violence in Iraq. "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims," he said.
The issue of al Qaeda and Iraq has already been an issue in the 2008 presidential race, with John McCain mocking Barack Obama with a sneering "I have some news [my friend]. al Qaeda is in Iraq."

Obama wasted no time in firing back that he had a breaking story himself. "There was no such thing as al Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade." (Actually, the organization that calls itself AQI emerged in 2004, over a year after the invasion.)

In the final analysis, it will probably not amount to a whole hell of a lot - it doesn't, after all, have any bombshells of previously undisclosed information. But still, that won't stop both sides from at least trying to make a little bit of political hay out of it - the report does show that Saddam Hussein's government did support some regional terrorism, such as Palestinian groups that attack Israel. So just let me say this: when these people start crowing, and flapping their yellow wings and setting up quite the barnyard ruckus, they need to be reminded that the United States does the same damned thing by supporting Jundallah, an al Qaeda offshoot that stages terrorist attacks in Iran. Ditto PKK terrorists who find safe haven in Iraqi Kurdistan and slip into Iran to stage raids and terrorist attacks. So call them on the hypocrisy and point to the facts. And ya know, you can call 'em willfully-ignorant, amoral, lying, murderous thugs, too.

And while you're at it, ask them if they have their checkbooks handy, because this unholy clusterfuck is costing our country three thousand dollars a second.