…and the corrupt and/or incompetent DeMSM grossly misrepresent its findings –
The headline from ABC News: “Report Shows No Link Between Saddam and al Qaeda”
From the NY Times: “Oh, By the Way, There Was No Al Qaeda Link”
From CNN: “The U.S. military’s first and only study looking into ties between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda showed no connection between the two, according to a military report released by the Pentagon.”
But from the actual report from the Pentagon (via The Weekly Standard):
The Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) review of captured Iraqi documents
uncovered strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional
and global terrorism. Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many
terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States. At
times these organizations worked together, trading access for capability. In the
period after the 1991 Gulf War, the regime of Saddam Hussein supported a complex
and increasingly disparate mix of pan-Arab revolutionary causes and emerging
pan-Islamic radical movements. The relationship between Iraq and forces of
pan-Arab socialism was well known and was in fact one of the defining qualities
of the Ba’ath movement.
But the relationships between Iraq and the groups advocating
radical pan-Islamic doctrines are much more complex. This study found no
“smoking gun” (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.
Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-state actors was spread across a variety
of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. Some
in the regime recognized the potential high internal and external costs of maintaining
relationships with radical Islamic groups, yet they concluded that in some
cases, the benefits of association outweighed the risks.
When attacking Western interests, the competitive terror cartel
came into play, particularly in the late 1990s. Captured documents reveal that the
regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al
Qaeda – as long as that organization’s near-term goals supported Saddam’s longterm
Saddam’s interest in, and support for, non-Iraqi non-state actors was
spread across a wide variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic
terrorist organizations. For years, Saddam maintained training camps for foreign
“fighters” drawn from these diverse groups. In some cases, particularly for Palestinians,
Saddam was also a strong financial supporter. Saddam supported groups
that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally
shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.
No unbiased, objective reading of the report justifies the headlines used by ABC News or the NY Times, period.
UPDATE: Stephen F. Hayes has a detailed article on the Pentagon report at The Weekly Standard.