Saturday, March 15, 2008

Al-Qaeda and Saddam

The Pentagon has released a 59 page summary of a 1,600 page document which itself was a distillation of 600,000 pages of primary source material about Saddam Hussein. There was a fair bit regarding Al-Qaeda.

Predictably, the MSM is misrepresenting it and the Bush administration can't bring itself to defend the truth. The 59 pages are here:


You can also read analysis at the links below.

Gunsmoke

Why is the Bush administration silent on the new Pentagon report?
by William Kristol
Late last week, the Defense Department released an analysis of 600,000 documents captured in Iraq prepared by the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded think tank. Here's the attention-grabbing sentence from the report's executive summary: "This study found no 'smoking gun' (i.e. direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda."

Relying on a leak of the executive summary, ABC News reported that the study was "the first official acknowledgment from the U.S. military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda." There followed a brief item in the Washington Post that ran under the headline "Study Discounts Hussein, Al-Qaeda Link." The New York Times announced: "Study Finds No Qaeda-Hussein Tie." NPR agreed: "Study Finds No Link Between Saddam, bin Laden."

And the Bush administration reacted with an apparently guilty silence.

But here's the truth. The executive summary of the report is extraordinarily misleading. The full report, released Thursday night, states, for example, on page 42: "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." In fact, as Stephen F. Hayes reports in this issue, the study outlines a startling range of connections between Saddam and various organizations associated with al Qaeda and other terror groups.
Saddam's Dangerous Friends
What a Pentagon review of 600,000 Iraqi documents tells us.
by Stephen F. Hayes
This ought to be big news. Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda's second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. "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." According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq's former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.

The study was commissioned by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and produced by analysts at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded military think tank. It is entitled "Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents." The study is based on a review of some 600,000 documents captured in postwar Iraq. Those "documents" include letters, memos, computer files, audiotapes, and videotapes produced by Saddam Hussein's regime, especially his intelligence services. The analysis section of the study covers 59 pages. The appendices, which include copies of some of the captured documents and translations, put the entire study at approximately 1,600 pages.
While you're at it, this 2004 piece by Stephen Hayes is worth reading, too; if only for a reminder of Al Gore's demagoguery.

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

Interesting stuff - really great post. Thanks for putting this stuff out there.

Jim Dawson said...

This report is a great opportunity for the country to reexamine the situation in Iraq and the way forward.

We don't have a clear set of priorities or goals in the region and until we do, we will just continue making immense mistakes.