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I’m surprised that Bush is still implying that Saddam and AQ were one beast. After all this time there are only a few wisps of evidence of AQ had contacts with Iraqi Int. Surely he’d be wiser to let that one go back in the grass.

The other point that strikes me is that AQ are incredibly audacious, almost to the point of military stupidity. Even considering 10 hijackings!

9/11 was fraught with difficulty. Four cells is a very big team to field on foreign soil, a coordinated action considerably amplifies risk. They had no way of knowing the Twin Towers attack would shatter the Towers. Given the length of the planning, preparation, and the number of people involved it is incredible the operation was not blown. They were very lucky and faced a unprepared nation. These people believe they have God on their side and that is their greatest weakness.


Have your read the report itself:
If so, how do you square the WaPo report with the following portions of the report:
The report notes explicitly that at least one terrorist group from Iraq joined the "broader Islamic army" that Bin Ladin was seeking to build with al Qaeda as its foundation. (See page 3, second full paragraph.)

In addition, the report reveals:

- Bin Ladin "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan" (1991-1996). The Sudanese "arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons." (See page 5, paragraph 4.) Apparently, Saddam did not provide the camps and weapons.

- Further contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq were reported after Bin Ladin's return to Afghanistan in 1996. (See page 5, paragraph 4.) These contacts apparently persisted despite no overt collaboration at that point.

While the report does state, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," it nowhere states that Iraq and al Qaeda did not cooperate otherwise, or might not have cooperated in the future on attacks against the U.S.


The Iraqi group in question, Ansar al-Islam, was indeed in the territory of Iraq--but not in the territority controlled by the regime in Baghdad. They ironically enjoyed the benefits of the safe haven created in the north for the Kurds, Ansar al-Islam's main target for years. However, Ansar was no friend of Saddam Hussein's, whom they considered to be a despot who, like other secular Arab leaders, was steering the Arab world away from the precepts of Islam. Both Ansar al-Islam and al Qaeda bitterly denounced Hussein.

Had they not benefitted from the protected Kurdish enclave, and instead operated within Iraq, their political programme would have remained the same. They just would have had to operate more carefully, more secretly, than they did. The same is true of any terrorist group opposed to the government of the country in which they're based: the al-Akhsa Martyr Brigade and Hamas in the occupied territories; the IRA in Northern Ireland; the Red Army in Japan; the Red Brigades in Italy--and groups like the Army of God in the United States.

As I said, it wouldn't be unprecedented for sworn enemies in the Middle East to quietly explore new alliances. However, the contacts between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government occurred in the early 1990s, at which point bin Laden decided there wasn't any fertile ground to explore. The report says:

"Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Laden in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan."

The distinction between the al Qaeda/Baath Part and al Qaeda/Ansar al-Islam relationships couldn't be clearer. Some of the other wording in the report, however, is a bit murky, but the conclusion is what the Post reported: on September 11, 2001, there was no alliance between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.


You might want to look at this:

I will let you know about his follow-up when he posts it


Further good points about the feeble report are here:

I confess it is hard to be persuaded by the findings of a commision which is so obviously more concerned with attacking Bush than finding the facts.

The problem is there are real issues that need to be worked out here, as this posting disussing a judges article in the WSJ suggsets:
Unfortunately, the Dems have gone all ABB on us at the worst possible time. They over look the fact that there are plenty of us on the right who aren't real thrilled with things either, and that fruitfull discussion is more in our nations best interest than staring at your navel and repeating the mantra "Bush lied and people died." I really hope that the Donks get TOTALLY TRASHED at the next election, not because I disagree with all their ideas, but because they need a wake up call.

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