TCS Daily


Better Right Than Never

By Harold Hutchison - March 23, 2006 12:00 AM

"I was an early voice saying we shouldn't go in, that it was not connected to the war against international terrorism, that it was not among the highest national security concerns that we should be considering."
- James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy, October 30, 2005

It is almost an article of faith among the mainstream media and many opponents of the liberation of Iraq that Saddam Hussein's regime had no connection to terrorism. This is one of the prime assertions that underpins the anti-war movement's protests against the liberation of Iraq.

The problem with the anti-war movement's position, in this case, is that they know something that just ain't so -- and they are now being contradicted by the memos from Saddam Hussein's own intelligence service, the Mukhabarat.

The first of these memos to emerge came in April, 2003, when Toronto Star reporter Mitch Potter discovered a memo in the bombed-out wreckage of Mukhabarat headquarters. The memo discussed bringing an envoy from Osama bin Laden to Baghdad for the purpose of "discussing the future of our relationship with him." Unlike the hotly-debated reports of Mohammed Atta meeting Mukhabarat officer Ahmed al-Ani in Prague in April, 2000, this was something that was not relying on eyewitness identification. This was Saddam's own intelligence service saying they wanted to chat with an envoy from Osama bin Laden.

However, this memo was quickly obscured by the failure to immediately find the weapons of mass destruction and by the beginnings of the Valerie Plame controversy. And soon, the memo was lost and forgotten in the minds of the mainstream media.

These connections were widely ignored by all save Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard. Hayes was pushing for the release of nearly two million captured documents, and got it. The payoff has already arrived in the form of a second document tying Saddam Hussein's regime to al-Qaeda, this one a letter concerning a contact with a Taliban consul dated four days after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

ABCNews.com has covered it, but did so as part of an effort to discount it -- due to the fact that the information came from an anonymous source, ignoring not just the standard operating procedure of intelligence agencies around the world, but also anonymous sources used by ABC and other mainstream news outlets.

This is not the first time the elite media have taken such great pains -- and in a somewhat disingenuous manner. In 2004, three Fedayeen rosters were leaked to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which apparently showed that Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, the Iraqi who attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus tried to make it look like a case of mistaken identity, but did not seem to notice that in Arabic, names can be spelled in a variety of different ways.

The evidence presented so far on this connection makes the decision to liberate Iraq a good one. If Saddam Hussein's regime was assisting al-Qaeda though September of 2001, then taking it out was not a strategic mistake, but a necessity. The MSM's effort to cover up this connection does the American people a great disservice, particularly when prominent opponents of that decision are running for elected office.

The author is a contributor to Strategypage.

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150 Comments

Gosh!!! You should tell the President and Mr. Cheney
They could really use this information, and the rest of the government too. I mean, they aren't making these claims. They don't bring this um evidence up when asked to justify the war, even though at a time like this they really, really need justifications for the war.

Let me think. Why wouldn't they be officially claiming this. One reason is they haven't heard about it. I guess that's possible. Another would be that they know these reports are faked and phonied.

Naw!!! Couldn't be! So, please, tell Mr. Cheney. He can use all the help he can get now.

They have know for 4 yeras
I seem to remember this issue coming up many times over the past few years. Each time it was the left brushed it aside and tried to say it didn’t exist. It’s just like the WMD issue. The information was there just like the WMDs where there for all to see, but they chose to look right past each and every item.

In both cases, Bush stated the truth and laid it out. In both cases the evidence was dismissed by the media and others. Each time another item was found they just said “it only one shell/memo where is the rest.” The thing is that as each of these small pieces got thrown on the pile,; the pile began to get big. Now looking back on the pile of discarded items people are say just what you are saying. “Umm all this must be fake because they would have been showing it to use.”

The reason they have not been “officially” claiming this is because it has been their official claim sense the beginning. Saddam was working with OBL was one of the original claims. Why would they need to come back and play “I told you so”?

To date none of Bush’s prewar claims has been disproving.

Bush: WMD are in Iraq
Left: But you have only found lots of small stashes and no large stock piles.

Bush: Saddam was working with OBL
Left: All you have is some memo’s and second hand reports and nothing points too them meeting in person

Bush: The UN signed 1441 to go in and uphold the terms of the 1991 cease fire
Left: But we didn’t think you would really do it

Bush: Saddam broke every aspects of the 1991 cease fire
Left: Well yes, but the inspectors still need a few years to look around and prove it.

The list goes on


The truth is that no matter what real evidence is found Bush would still be wrong in the eyes of the left. Saddam and OBL could make a join public confession that everything was just as Bush stated and people would say that he made it up and forced them to say it.

Best reason
Like rats leaving a sinking ship, the terrorist rousted from Afganistan would have fled to Iran, Iraq and Syria and been granted safe haven.
The allies had a wedge into Iraq with the no fly zones, inspectors, a cease fire agreement and sanctions, so well supported by our allies the Russians and French officials.
Iraq was the next logical choice strategically to provide pressure on terrorist organizations in Iran and Syria, states whose leaders actively supported them. Sadaam, recall, rewarded the families of Palisitinian homicidal bombers.

Then why isn't the administrationpublicly pointing to these documents???
It's not what "the left" says here, it's what the administration brings up as important and supportive of its case.

If these documents proved an assertion that collaborative ties existed with Al Qaeda, you'd think the administration would be bringing them up and trumpeting them, to disprove "the left," and officially vouch that they appear genuine.

I don't seem them doing it.
As for the rest:

>To date none of Bush’s prewar claims has been disproving.
Bush: WMD are in Iraq
Left: But you have only found lots of small stashes and no large stock piles.

We found random pieces of junk. More to the point, we made an exhaustive post-war investigation, looking for months. The result is summed up in the Kay and Duelfer reports: no WMDs. This isn't "the left," it's the official U.S. government investigation.

>Bush: Saddam was working with OBL
Left: All you have is some memo’s and second hand reports and nothing points too them meeting in person.

We had another official investigation, by the 9/11 commission. They found evidence of some contact many years before 9/11, but "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

>Bush: The UN signed 1441 to go in and uphold the terms of the 1991 cease fire
Left: But we didn’t think you would really do it

Democratic voted overwhelmingly to give Bush the authority to use force if Saddam didn't comply. But in the view of the U.N. inspectors on the scene, he _was_ complying with the inspections. Bush ignored that and launched a war anyway.

>Bush: Saddam broke every aspects of the 1991 cease fire
Left: Well yes, but the inspectors still need a few years to look around and prove it.

If we're talking 1998, the UN inspectors were withdrawn and bombed him severely, and went on bombing him under a Democratic president, but we didn't invade because the bombing was doing what had to be done. If we're talking 2002-03 - if the inspectors had spent the subsequent three years to "look around," we now know they'd have found Kay, Duelfer and the 9/11 commission found.

>The truth is that no matter what real evidence is found Bush would still be wrong in the eyes of the left.

The truth is, the "real evidence" doesn't exist or has been shown to be phony. That's been the problem. If this new stuff is "real evidence," why isn't the Bush administration pointing to it as justification?

give it up
AQ and OBL were in Afganistan in the first place because they could not go to Iraq or Syria.

Fortunado has your number: if this stuff had any merit at all, your wouldn't need the freedom of information act to get it from the Bushies.

Loaded Gun?
"And that's the point Thomas et al don't want to understand. For reasons that still baffle me, the WMD threat — never the sole reason to invade Iraq — not only became the only argument, it became a thoroughly legalistic one, as if foreign policy has rules of evidence and procedural due process. After 9/11, that kind of foreign policy by lawyers looked ridiculous, and rightly so.

The fact that Hussein turned out to be bluffing about WMD isn't a mark against Bush's decision. If you're a cop and a man pulls out a gun and points it at you, you're within your rights to shoot him, particularly if the man in question is a known criminal who's shot people before. If it turns out afterward that the gun wasn't loaded, that's not the cop's fault."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg23mar23,0,3678385.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

No Subject
I have been adducing some of the same evidence to which Harold refers in his article for three years. I have further sold copies of Stephen Hayes' book et al. We also now have the evidence of two former Sadaam geenrals and friends who say the WMD was shipped to Syria six weeks before invasion...and the only response of the liberal mind is a classic: Why do Bush and Blair not keep articulating it?

Now is it me? Am I missing something here. As someone who worked in the courts for 15 years evidence has always been counted evidence. Yet, for anti-war liberals it seems it is not. It needs top be authenticated it seems - by the very people the same liberals dislike the most.

So much for the liberal mind and liberal logic. Good call Harold. You see evidence is evidence even when soem are unable to actually engage with it.

Evidence and the liberal (absent) mind
I have been adducing some of the same evidence to which Harold refers in his article for three years. I have further sold copies of Stephen Hayes' book et al. We also now have the evidence of two former Sadaam geenrals and friends who say the WMD was shipped to Syria six weeks before invasion...and the only response of the liberal mind is a classic: Why do Bush and Blair not keep articulating it?

Now is it me? Am I missing something here. As someone who worked in the courts for 15 years evidence has always been counted evidence. Yet, for anti-war liberals it seems it is not. It needs top be authenticated it seems - by the very people the same liberals dislike the most.

So much for the liberal mind and liberal logic. Good call Harold. You see evidence is evidence even when soem are unable to actually engage with it.

All that's wrong with this is he didn't have a gun and wasn't pointing it at anyone
We had U.N. inspectors on the scene, combing the country. We were flying over the country every hour of every day. This was a criminal in custody, not someone pointing a gun.

If its "evidence," why isn't the Bush administration using it?
Why isn't Cheney pushing these documents at Russert and appearing on Fox saying the case has been made? Why is it just surfacing in deniable, fringe publications and places like this?

>You see evidence is evidence even when soem are unable to actually engage with it.

The "soem" appear to be members of the Bush administration. Again: why are they holding these remarkable findings at arms length even as criticism mounts of the war?

I have some email from NIgeria that wants me to help sell Saddam WMDs
They claim that they can guarantee millions of dollars; the buyers are all lined up; they just want to use my bank and credit numbers.

Peter, let me forward you this -- this could be real money for you.

Sure it was justified but was it smart? eom

Good night, and good luck , Mr Cloo-less
Now you see what I mean friends...STILL unable to engage with actual evidence...isn't the liberal mind a wonderfully non-logical thing?

Fortunato provides us with a fine example of the liberal art of insubstantial but aggressive bluster in the face of real evidence. Let it be a lesson to us all - if 1 + 1 makes 3 for us...then it will have happened to us too.

(NB. For the thinking person: Sadaam failed to abide by the 1991 ceasfire arrangements - including 17 - 17!!! UN resolutions aimed at enforcing those arrangments. He was a serial-invader of sovereign nations and had already used WMD - if the WMD is/was on Mars, at some stage you have to enforce the law. A ceasefire is merely a ceasefire until its conditions are complied with. End of story.)

The Rush imitation doesn't make it more convicning.
Peterglover offeres a fine example of Dittohead namecalling and inability to engage with facts.

>UN resolutions aimed at enforcing those arrangments.
Then why wasn't the UN Security Council - who made the resolution - behind the 2003 decision to invade.

>He was a serial-invader of sovereign nations and had already used WMD

When he was using WMD against Iran, we were helping him. Donald Rumsfeld was in Baghdad working on getting him the information he needed to target Iranian troops

>A ceasefire is merely a ceasefire until its conditions are complied with.

And, according to U.N. inspectors in 2003, he was complying.

>end of story

translation: "La la I can't hear you..."

Yes... (no text)

Apparently...
you don't wish to factor in the UN's corruption nor the billions several countries on the Security Council were making in illegal deals with Iraq. These are facts and a good reason for UN inaction on their Iraq resolutions.

The WMDs were believed to be in Iraq by every intelligence agency that counts. France, Britian, Russia, etc. all believed that Iraq still possessed them in good number. Not to mention the fact that most could have been moved or concealed with very little effort. Remember the jets hidden for months next to the Baghdad airport? I remember the NYT having a hissy-fit over the 200,000 soldiers that were expected to die when Saddam unleashed his WMDs.

The evidence points to the WMDs going into Syria but time will tell the truth about that. One also has to consider that the military wishes to appear as though they know nothing about terrorist connections or the location of WMDs in other countries. Sometimes it is best not to tell your enemies what you know.

It is not surprising that Fortunato does not see the liberal bias in the media nor the corruption in the UN. He is quite unable to see a great many things.

I wonder if Bush and Co. came out with a media onslaught to show this evidence would Fortunato believe it? If not, why would the Administration waste the time?

It can not be more clear now...
... that the war was wrongly opened then and is leading us nowhere now. Counterproductive. Is the author joking or is he thinking his audience is all idiots?

Just one example:
"the failure to immediately find the weapons of mass destruction"

C'mon, it has been 3 years, talk about "immediately".

I chose those words deliberately...
Because now there are indications that the WMD were moved (a former Iraqi general among them). Even Deulfer's investigation admits that is a possiblity.

The United States has recovered some other documents which indicate that anthrax and mustard gas were acquired (leaked to CNSNews.com).

http://www.cnsnews.com/specialreports/2004/mustardgas.asp

http://www.cnsnews.com/specialreports/2004/anthrax.asp

The worst that can be said about Operation Iraqi Freedom was that we went in looking for WMD and found evidence that Saddamn Hussein's regime had a relationship with al-Qaeda. Should he be off the hook for his apparent support of the terrorist group that flew airplanes into American buildings? It would make about as much sense as letting a criminal go free because a search of his house for a drug lab turned up a production facility for child pornography instead.

It's not what people "believed"
>The WMDs were believed to be in Iraq by every intelligence agency that counts. France, Britian, Russia, etc. all believed that Iraq still possessed them in good number.

And that was why the inspectors were in there looking for them. And failing to find them, even though they were getting the cooperation they needed. So what was such an urgent, emegency challenge that made it necessary to invade.

>Not to mention the fact that most could have been moved or concealed with very little effort.

With inspectors all over the country and continuoous surveillance overflights?

>The evidence points to the WMDs going into Syria but time will tell the truth about that.

Time has had a lot of time to tell this.

>I wonder if Bush and Co. came out with a media onslaught to show this evidence would Fortunato believe it? If not, why would the Administration waste the time?

They did it before. If the evidence is really there, why not use it?

UN 1441
"Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and
complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its
programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a
range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such
weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all
other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not
related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,
Deploring further that Iraq repeatedly obstructed immediate, unconditional,
and unrestricted access to sites designated by the United Nations Special
Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
failed to cooperate fully and unconditionally with UNSCOM and IAEA weapons..."

"Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire
would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including
the obligations on Iraq contained therein,..."

"Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that
it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its
obligations;"

http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement

For whatever UN resolutions are worth...

"Even Duelfer's investigation"
Anything's possible. Since Duelfer couldn't get into Syria, he could't totally rule out the possibility. But he found no evidence for it.

As for cnsnews.com, if their information is so good, again, why isn't the administration picking it up and trumpeting that its critics got it all wrong?

So where was the threat in February, 2003?
Inspectors were admitted, after the Security Council resolution, and were piecing together the truth: that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. So what was the rush to invade? Where was the threat?

I don't know...
And it really does not matter, if you ask me.

The information is out there. The assertions by opponents of the liberation of Iraq, like James Webb, seem to have very little - if any - factual basis at this point.

The Mukhabarat's own memos indicate there was a relationship between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda.

give it up
Are you really arguing that AQ can only be in one country at a time?

The documentation is solid, extensive, and totally being ignored by the left.

So now we're reading the X-Files
I mean, "the information is out there."??

That's the problem. The information is way, way out there. Provenance for the documents is sketchy. The people who could vouch for it aren't.

>The Mukhabarat's own memos indicate there was a relationship between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda.

contact was documented by the 9/11 commision, which nevertheless foujnd no evidence of a collaborative relationship. Specific instances that have come up previously have proven to be phony.

not just by "the left"
>The documentation is solid, extensive, and totally being ignored by the left.

It's not just the left: it's also the Bush administration. Mark, you should phone them and let them know.

guns
The weapons inspectors were being denied access to many locations, and when they did get into places, they had been sanitized. There own reports show this time and time again.

That Saddam had WMD's at one time is indisputable. The question remains, what happened to them, and what happened to the programs that created them.

Saddam wanted us to believe that he had, in the still of the night, destroyed these programs. But he never provided any documentation to support this claim, and he directly impeded the work of the inspectors trying to confirm his claims.

justifications
1) WMD's have been found. Not in the quantities they were believed prior to the war.

2) WMD programs have been found.

3) Evidence supporting the links between Iraq and many terrorists groups have been found.

4) 35 million people are now free to run their own lives.

The war was more than justified, it was necessary.

The passage from the April 2003 memo is clear...
"Discuss the future of our relationship" implies Saddam's regime had a relationship with al-Qaeda in 1998. The letter ABCNews.com tried to disingenuously explain away mentioned that there is the information. And if you go to the ABCNews.com website now, we discover that the 1994 and 1995 contacts with bin Laden were approved by Saddam himself.

What do you think those contacts were going to discuss, the upcoming Star Wars prequels?

Circular mentality
You are spinning in your tracks. I'd like to hear an answer from you to your own question. Was Saddam a threat?

Don't quite follow
We now know clearly that he was not a threat to the U.S. or to the region in February 2003. He had no WMDs, he was under surveillance, he was completely contained.

Clear but irrelevant
The fact is, we have no evidence they led to anything concrete.

The conclusion of the 9/11 commission, quite familiar with the contacts in 1993 and 1995, was "no collaborative relationship leading up to 9/11." As far as "relationship" -- we have a "relationship" with the government of North Korea. That doesn't mean we support them.

Instead of invading Iraq we should have made the UN do it of quit the UN.
'Sadaam failed to abide by the 1991 ceasfire arrangements - including 17 - 17!!! UN resolutions aimed at enforcing those arrangments. '

Well that was for the UN to respond to. Instead of invading Iraq we should have made the UN do it of quit the UN.

Sorry, you're wrong
>1) WMD's have been found. Not in the quantities they were believed prior to the war.

I believe the tally is one or two stray shells with no warheads.

>2) WMD programs have been found.
The history of the shutdown of the programs, yes.

>3) Evidence supporting the links between Iraq and many terrorists groups have been found.

terrorist groups aimed at Israel, absolutely. with al quaed, some contacts but "no collaborative relationship"

>4) 35 million people are now free to run their own lives.

Well, not quite: they don't have less electricity, less clean drinking water, lower oil production, and we've just told them the aid we promised to rebuild the country isn't going to be coming. Women are facing increased restrictions. And so on.

Sure, it's good Saddam is on trial. Was it worth it for the U.S? How?

No concern here! Everyone just keep moving!
How about in February of 2006? Do you think Saddam, with sanctions lifted, the U.S. & Brits out of the Middle East, billions of dollars in bribes to political operatives around the world, and trillions of dollars of oil at his disposal... would Saddam be a threat then? By the way, Saddam was under very poor and unreliable surveillance, thus the incredibly poor and imcomplete intelligence provided by the CYA, at al.

Mark, tell Hans Blick this, along with Kay and Duelfer
he was in charge; he wrote the reports. he says he was getting the cooperation he needed.

>That Saddam had WMD's at one time is indisputable. The question remains, what happened to them, and what happened to the programs that created them.

The question does not "remain" it has been conclusively answered by the Kay and Duelfer reports

>Saddam wanted us to believe that he had, in the still of the night, destroyed these programs. But he never provided any documentation to support this claim, and he directly impeded the work of the inspectors trying to confirm his claims.

he actually provided lots of documentation,confusing but there, In fact he had destroyed the weapons. Maybe he's hiding some under your bed. Call the FBI and have them check - it may be the only place they haven't looked.

Pick and choose...
what you wish to see and deny what doesn't fit into that picture. Doesn't seem to be a good way of viewing the world but different strokes, eh?

>And that was why the inspectors were in there looking for them. And failing to find them, even though they were getting the cooperation they needed. So what was such an urgent, emegency challenge that made it necessary to invade.

The inspectors were not getting the cooperation and Hans Blix say as much many times. He believed that we should continue the charade but that doesn't change the fact that Saddam was playing games with the inspectors. Blix and Baradei(?) had no clue about Saddam's capability. All they could offer was opinion that was based on the limited scope of the inspections.

>With inspectors all over the country and continuoous surveillance overflights?

The inspectors covered less than 2% of the country and the surveillance flights could not cover every truck nor could they discern between a barrel of oil and a barrel of anything else. They did however, see alot of trucks going over the border into Syria.

Perhaps you care to discount the fact that neither the inspectors nor the overflights discovered the fighter jets buried under the sands by Baghdad airport. If you can hide many a Mirage fighter how hard could it be to hide a briefcase size container of Smallpox?

>Time has had a lot of time to tell this.

Really? You believe that the US military should declassify all of its documentation without intensive study and confirmation of the facts? Not to mention the fact that they are still uncovering evidence of Saddam's other crimes: mass graves, hidden weapon dumps, etc. I would like it if our military took its time and preserved their tactical advantage.

>They did it before. If the evidence is really there, why not use it?

Indeed. And how well was it reported Fortunato? Did it make any difference the first time around? "Bush lied!" was the media's call even after the evidence was in. Do you ever hear that Joe Wilson has been proven wrong and liar? He was yet all I hear about is his wife's "blown" cover. Funny that an outed CIA agent, concerned with her security, would appear in a Vanity Fair photo-shoot...

The reason this administration no longer defends itself is that it is a waste of their time. Those rely on facts can find them easily. The anti-war crowd is not about to change their opinions for any reason that Bush gives them.

Anyway, I am certain that the facts will not stop you from making your wrong-headed charges. These mere pieces of information don't stop media talking heads nor most Democrat Senate members from spreading their disinformation, why would I expect it from you?

No evidence?
How about the matter Ahmed Hikmat Shakir?

The guy gets a job as a greeter at the airport in Kuala Lampur through an Iraqi intelligence officer stationed at the Iraqi embassy. The Iraqi embassy controls Shakir's work schedule. In January, 2000, he escorts at least one of the 9/11 hijackers through Malaysian customs, then joins him for the al-Qaeda summit. He then leave Malaysia, and when captured, it turns out he has documents relating to the 1993 World Trade Center attack and al-Qaeda's 1995 plot to destroy a number of airliners over the Pacific.

He gets released, then is recaptured in Jordan (what was he up to there?), and then Iraq starts leveling diplomatic pressure - with significant help from Amensty International. Shakir was last ssen heading to Baghdad. Now, we have those three Fedayeen rosters his name appears on - listing him as a lieutenant colonel in that organization.

Coincidence? Happenstance? I don't think so.

Then why...
Do we have reports that an apparent Iraqi intelligence officers was escorting 9/11 hijackers through Malaysian customs and attending the January, 2000 al-Qaeda summit, and another was having chats with Mohammed Atta in Prague (the latter, by the way, has not been recanted by the Czech government).

Source, please
Where does this information come from? And, again, if there's this ironclad connection, why isn't it being mentioned by Bush administration spokesman trying to justify the invasion?

Lots of things are potential threats..
the question is and was whether the threat posed by Saddam justified an invasion that has cost $200 billion so far, pinned down our military and now looks open ended has achieved none of the effects predicted justified the invasion.

>Do you think Saddam, with sanctions lifted, the U.S. & Brits out of the Middle East, billions of dollars in bribes to political operatives around the world, and trillions of dollars of oil at his disposal... would Saddam be a threat then?

Why would we be "out of the middle east?" Why is it so certain sanctions would have been lifted? What would be true in this case is that Iran would be, as it has been before, a counterweight even to the worst case. That's not how it is now.

> By the way, Saddam was under very poor and unreliable surveillance, thus the incredibly poor and imcomplete intelligence provided by the CYA, at al.

Since we now know that the Administration rejected and discouraged all intelligence that didn't fit its preconceptions, this isn't really surprising.

See my article...
When I discussed the case of Mr. Shakir, I linked to the Wall Street Journal editorial:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005133

Chicken
"If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament - under resolution 687 (1991) - could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided. Today, three months after the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002), the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if "immediate, active and unconditional cooperation" with UNMOVIC and the IAEA were to be forthcoming."

http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?NewsID=382&sID=6

Blix did not believe he was receiving immediate, active and unconditional cooperation.
It is not wise to play chicken with WMD.

We have reports of all kinds of things
We also had reports of Saddam buying uranium in Africa too.

The Malaysian stuff -- where did those reports come from?
Atta -- The FBI believes he was in the US when those chats took place. So does the CIA. The other factor is confusion of names between 2 Attas.
On this one, I think I'll belieive the FBI. There's a good Chicago Tribune story reprinted at:

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2004/300804twoattas.htm

Dangers of showing weakness
"Bin Laden: After our victory in Afghanistan and the defeat of the oppressors who had killed millions of Muslims, the legend about the invincibility of the superpowers vanished. Our boys no longer viewed America as a superpower. So, when they left Afghanistan, they went to Somalia and prepared themselves carefully for a long war. They had thought that the Americans were like the Russians, so they trained and prepared. They were stunned when they discovered how low was the morale of the American soldier. America had entered with 30,000 soldiers in addition to thousands of soldiers from different countries in the world. ... As I said, our boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. He was unable to endure the strikes that were dealt to his army, so he fled, and America had to stop all its bragging and all that noise it was making in the press after the Gulf War in which it destroyed the infrastructure and the milk and dairy industry that was vital for the infants and the children and the civilians and blew up dams which were necessary for the crops people grew to feed their families. Proud of this destruction, America assumed the titles of world leader and master of the new world order. After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers. America stopped calling itself world leader and master of the new world order, and its politicians realized that those titles were too big for them and that they were unworthy of them. I was in Sudan when this happened. I was very happy to learn of that great defeat that America suffered, so was every Muslim. ..."

“‘We're going to have a hard time passing any kind of resolution to go into Bosnia if we continue the confrontation in Somalia,’ said Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

“‘Our welcome has been worn out,’ Mr. Murtha said on NBC's ‘Today’ show, adding that Mr. Clinton has been ‘listening to our suggestions. And I think you'll see him move those troops out very quickly.’

“With those comments, Mr. Murtha joined a small but influential list of Democratic lawmakers who have publicly urged the president to change the mission in Somalia.”

Moving in circles, spinning, spinning, spinning
"We also had reports of Saddam buying uranium in Africa too."

Which is true. Iraq purchased many tons of yellowcake from Niger, where do you think Saddam's yellowcake ore came from? The esteemed J. Wilson testified to the WMD commission to the revelation that Iraqi emmissaries were making an attempt to re-establish commerce with Niger. Of course, he didn't mention this little thing when he was not under oath to the New York Times and the opposition media.

Maybe you weren't paying attention at the time.
This doesn't fit with the history

>Blix and Baradei(?) had no clue about Saddam's capability.

On the contrary, they did, particularly ElBaradei. By February 2003 his inspectors had concluded that Saddam had not restarted his atomic weapons program. He reported this publicly. **** Cheney said, publicly, on Meet the Press, that ElBaradei was wrong. ElBaradei was dead right; Cheney was dead wrong. Look it up.

>Really? You believe that the US military should declassify all of its documentation without intensive study and confirmation of the facts? Not to mention the fact that they are still uncovering evidence of Saddam's other crimes: mass graves, hidden weapon dumps, etc. I would like it if our military took its time and preserved their tactical advantage.

I don't know what you're referring to. The questions concerned WMDs. These were investigated, exhaustively, by Kay and Duelfer. They issued reports. No WMDs. Is your position that they actually found them and covered the fact up, acutely embarassing the Bush administration in so doing? If not, what's your point?

As far as Saddam killing lots of people: yes. Nobody, that's zero people, have denied this.

>Did it make any difference the first time around? "Bush lied!" was the media's call even after the evidence was in.

The media didn't make that call. "Bush was Mistaken" was the call, reporting that what was found was different from what Bush said would be found. As more evidence has accumulated, it does seem that a little more than being mistaken was at work, but that's my call, not the medias.

>Do you ever hear that Joe Wilson has been proven wrong..
That's what a Republican senate body said, using quetionable documents.
>... and a liar
That's not the case

?He was yet all I hear about is his wife's "blown" cover. Funny that an outed CIA agent, concerned with her security, would appear in a Vanity Fair photo-shoot...

After her cover was blown? Why not? And blowing the cover didn't endanger her: it endangered all her contacts abroad.

>The reason this administration no longer defends itself is that it is a waste of their time.

I see. Telling the truth and making their case is a waste of time. Then why is Bush spending full time on speeches justifying the war?

>Those rely on facts can find them easily.

Indeed they can, and this has made the Bush record look very bad.

>The anti-war crowd is not about to change their opinions for any reason that Bush gives them.

The "anti-war crowd" is growing every month because more and more people feel Bush didnt level with them.

>Anyway, I am certain that the facts will not stop you from making your wrong-headed charges.

What facts? You saing this doesn't make it a fact.

>These mere pieces of information don't stop media talking heads nor most Democrat Senate members from spreading their disinformation, why would I expect it from you?

I see. Everyone else is speading misinformation but you've got the real scoop. Thank you for sharing.


An editorial...
... is not a news report. If the information was so good, why did the Journal's news desk pass on it?

Sorry, you seem a little confused
Iraq had stores of yellowcake dating back decades, from before the Kuwait invasion, more yellowcake than it could use. The story about them shopping for more in Niger was not only unsupported, it made no sense at all. Wilson was one of a whole series of investigators who confirmed this.

>the revelation that Iraqi emmissaries were making an attempt to re-establish commerce with Niger.

this wasn't a "revelation." the fact that Iraq sent someone to Niger was the trigger for all the investigation. That visit was what produced the Italian forgery about the Yellowcake. The bottom line was Wilson (and the other investigators) were right; and the White House speech (withdrawn) was wrong.

Blix had the option to stop inspections
.. if he wasn't getting cooperation. He didn't. ElBaradei, looking for atomic weapons work, was able to conclude and report that the nuclear program hadn't been restarted. Cheney said he was wrong. He was not wrong: Cheney was wrong.

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