Iraq and Al Qaeda

February 12th, 2003 § Two comments

Before the bombs start falling on Iraq, let’s get one thing straight: Osama bin Laden’s latest message to his Iraqi supporters does not prove that Saddam Hussein is in league with Al Qaeda. If anything, the tape discredits that theory. Bin Laden refers to Iraq’s leaders as “infidels” and “hypocrites,” and he tells his supporters, “[F]ighting should be for the sake of the one God. It should not be for…championing the non-Islamic regimes in all Arab countries, including Iraq.”

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the Bush administration from claiming otherwise. Yesterday, Colin Powell cited the tape as evidence of a connection, saying it proved that bin Laden is “in partnership with Iraq.” Ari Fleischer, the President’s press secretary, told reporters today, “If that is not an unholy partnership, I have not heard of one. …This is the nightmare that people have warned about, the linking up of Iraq with Al Qaeda.”

I have no idea whether Iraq has official ties with Al Qaeda; surprisingly enough, the CIA hardly ever sends me its classified intelligence briefings. If there’s a case to be made, though, I wish the Bush administration would make it through means other than lying.

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