Along the theme of the ongoing debate about Iraq, why we went in, and who decided, Investor's Business Daily has a great editorial (subscription required) today about the Phase II reports and what, exactly, they mean:
A Senate report that claims there was no link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al-Qaida is a conclusion in search of facts and suggests that, at least for the Democrats, Senate intelligence is an oxymoron.Ouch. Its not all harsh invective, however. The claims by Democrats that these phase II reports are somehow indicative of the Bush administration's guilt in going into Iraq are tenuous at best.
Read the rest
As I mentioned before, people like Sen. Jay Rockefeller are trying to pull the wool over the American people's eyes, saying things like "the Bush administration's case for war was fundamentally misleading." However, Rockefeller and others had the same information Bush did at the same time. For those of you who count with your toes, I'll explain that -- it means, he got the information not from Bush, but from the CIA. The White House had no part in influencing his decision. Any decision made by J.R. et al was by their own thought process, unless
Here's IBD's point-by-point rebuttal to the senate's report:
The report says one of Saddam's senior intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, admitted to meeting bin Laden in 1995. But the report accepts at face value Hijazi's claim that "this was his sole meeting with bin Laden or a member of al-Qaida, and he is not aware of any other individual following up on the initial contact."
- No mention is made of the December 1998 meeting between bin Laden and Hijazi in Afghanistan that got worldwide coverage in newspapers such as Milan's Corriere Della Sera and London's Guardian, as well as the New York Post. In 1999, an ABC News report mentioned this meeting and reported Saddam offered bin Laden asylum, citing their "long relationship."
A 1998 e-mail from Richard Clarke, national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism, to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger warned that if bin Laden were flushed from Afghanistan, he might just "boogie to Baghdad."
Michael Scheuer, the first head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, wrote in "Through Our Enemies' Eyes" that Saddam gave Hijazi the job of "nurturing Iraq's ties to fundamentalist (Islamic) warriors."
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes has reported, reams of captured documents reveal that elite Iraqi military units trained 8,000 al-Qaida terrorists, belonging to groups such as Algeria's GSPC, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ansar al Islam and the Sudanese Liberation Army, at camps in Samarra, Ramadi and at Salman Pak.
The links were confirmed by 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Thomas Kean, who said: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida, a number of them . . . They were definitely there."
- Abdul Rahman Yasin, a member of the al-Qaida cell that detonated the 1993 World Trade Center bomb, found safe haven in Iraq, and documents recently found in Tikrit indicate Saddam provided Yasin with both a home and a salary.
The Clinton Justice Department alleged in a 1998 indictment against bin Laden that "al-Qaida reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
Iraqi intelligence operative Ahmed Hikmat Shaker helped one of the 9/11 hijackers get to Malaysia and attend the Kuala Lumpur meeting in January 2000 with two of the hijackers, a meeting roundly acknowledged to be the initial 9/11 planning session.
As for 9/11 itself, according to a Nov. 11, 2001, report in the London Observer, two Iraqi defectors claimed they helped train Islamic terrorists at Iraq's Salman Pak training facility to seize a plane using only sharp knives. The facility's existence and the presence of a Boeing 707 fuselage were later confirmed by CIA satellite photos and reconfirmed by a personal visit by Charles Duelfer, chief weapons inspector in Iraq after David Kay.
Eric Rosenbach...came to the Senate after completing studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government under Rand Beers, a top foreign-policy adviser for Kerry. In Fall 2004, Rosenbach took three weeks to volunteer for the Kerry campaign in York County, Pennsylvania.Is it any wonder, then, that the Democrats are hailing this as a significant blow for their side? Of course not; it was written by one of their own. This is self-serving politics of the worst kind.
...Rosenbach is a co-author of “Defeating the Jihadists,” a 2004 report published by the liberal Century Foundation, in which he shared credit with Clarke, the White House counterterrorism official-turned-Bush-critic, and also with, among others, former Clinton White House official Roger Cressey, former Clinton White House official Steven Simon, former Clinton White House official William Wechsler, and former Clinton White House official Lee Wolosky.
According to the website PoliticalMoneyLine, the only political contribution Rosenbach has made was a $1,900 donation to Democratic congressional candidate Barend Samara, who in 2004 lost a hard-fought race for the House from New York’s 29th District.