There were several screaming headlines last week from the mainstream media that seemed to suggest that a new Pentagon report undermined the administration’s case for toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The headlines read, “No Link Between Saddam And Al Qaeda” or some variation thereof. It’s true that the executive summary of the report says there was “no smoking gun” evidence of a direct connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda. So, we know that Saddam did not host an official state dinner in Baghdad with Osama bin Laden as the guest of honor and recipient of the “Terrorist Lifetime Achievement Award.” Fair enough. The rest of the report, however, is actually quite damning and confirms what has been repeatedly written in this space: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism, an enemy of the United States and a destabilizing influence in the Middle East and the world. Here are just a few of the findings the media chose to gloss over:
• Saddam’s regime often cooperated directly, albeit cautiously, with terrorist groups when they believed such groups could help advance Iraq's long-term goals. The regime carefully recorded its connections to Palestinian terror organizations in numerous government memos. One such example documents Iraqi financial support to families of suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank.
• State sponsorship of terrorism became such a routine tool of state power that Iraq developed elaborate bureaucratic processes to monitor progress and accountability in the recruiting, training, and resourcing of terrorists. Examples include the regime’s development, construction, certification, and training for car bombs and suicide vests in 1999 and 2000.
• 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.
That last point led Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard to ask rhetorically, “Really? Saddam Hussein ‘supported’ a group that merged with al Qaeda in the late 1990s, run by al Qaeda’s #2, and the New York Times thinks this is not a link between Iraq and al Qaeda? How does that work?” Unfortunately, it fits a now familiar pattern. Like last year’s National Intelligence Estimate that “concluded” that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, the media are cherry-picking selected lines out of context, missing the point entirely and making up the news, rather than reporting it. If you are interested in a detailed analysis and more accurate reading of the Pentagon report than what Big Media have provided thus far, I recommend Stephen Hayes’ column in the Weekly Standard entitled, “Saddam’s Dangerous Friends.”
The (Despicable) Burka
The burka has a grill in the front of the face. It is designed to take away a woman's peripheral vision. If she wants to look at something, she has to turn her entire head. In this way, a husband can tell all the time what his wife is looking at; and whether he is holding her interest. Of course the beatings commence when the couple gets home if she looks anywhere else....despicable!