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Friday, April 06, 2007

Well That Settles It

A declassified report by the Defence department inspector general concludes that Feith's office threw out the analysis of the intelligence community "his [Feith's] office had bluntly concluded in a July 2002 critique of a CIA report on Iraq's relationship with al-Qaeda that the CIA's interpretation of the facts it cited "ought to be ignored"" and substituted the opinions which they shared with Cheney Wolfowitz et al.

Saddam Hussein did not assist al Qaeda. This was the consensus of the intelligence community before the invasion of Iraq and has been confirmed by inspection of Iraqi intelligence documents, al Qaeda documents and interrogation of top al Qaeda and Iraqi leaders.

Not only did the Bush administration fail to mention this consensus before the war, Richard Cheney continues to argue the point. According to R Jeffrey Smith, He has been reduced to arguing "that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" Smith notes that Zarqawi was not a member of al Qaeda at the time.

I would just add that Zarqawi operated inside Ba'athist controlled Iraq in the same sense that 9/11 hijackers like Hazmi and al Mihdar operated inside the USA. There is a difference, the Iraqi secret police were searching for him, while the FBI was not informed of the fact that known terrorists were in the USA. Saddam Hussein's efforts to capture Zarquawi were less inept than but equally unsuccessful as our efforts to capture al Qaeda operatives.

Cheney's claim that Zarqawi was a member of al Qaeda before the invasion was made to support the argument that, while the invasion has made the al Qaeda in Iraq problem much much worse, it did not create it from absolutely nothing at all. His claim is, as usual, false, but, even if it were true would be an overwhelming condemnation of Bush administration policy.

update: I should have read the Rush transcript (yech). It seems Cheney said

remember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, al Qaeda affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then migrated -- after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq;
This is a crazy lie. Cheney blew his stack when CIA briefers said they were not sure Zarqawi even visited Baghdad before the invasion. A "wanted" bulletin was sent out from Ba'athist tyranny central to arrest him if found (he wasn't). It is known that he was resident in the Ansar al Islam enclave in Iraqi Kurdistan far from Ba'athist controlled Iraq (the intelligence to that effect was described before the war as rock solid raising the question of why the Bush administration didn't try to kill him).

Cheney is ranting. I mean he has been for decades, but now it is so obvious it is almost pathetic.

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