March 22, 2008

Saddam and the Terrorists

Several of this blog's right-of-center readers were offended we linked to the left-of-center journalist Spencer Ackerman's hatchet job on Stephen F. Hayes and Jeffrey Goldberg. Yeah, sorry, but Hayes and Goldberg deserved every word of it.

Just to throw a little red meat to the masses, though, here's an article from the other end of the political spectrum by Abu Muqawama fave Eli Lake on Saddam's links with terror groups. The key finding, according to Eli:

The report, released this week by the Institute for Defense Analyses, says it found no "smoking gun" linking Iraq operationally to Al Qaeda. But it does say Saddam collaborated with known Al Qaeda affiliates and a wider constellation of Islamist terror groups.

That's a nice spin on things -- that there was "no smoking gun" -- which allows the folks who insist there were operational links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda to continue claiming so despite all the evidence to the contrary. Just wait a little longer and we'll find those WMDs too! Gang, there was no operational relationship whatsoever between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. But let's move onto these ties with terror groups:

A long time skeptic of the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq and a former CIA senior Iraq analyst, Judith Yaphe yesterday said, "I think the report indicates that Saddam was willing to work with almost any group be it nationalist or Islamic, that was willing to work for his objectives. But in the long term he did not trust many of the Islamist groups, especially those linked to Saudi Arabia or Iran." She added, "He really did want to get anti-American operations going. The fact that they had little success shows in part their incompetence and unwilling surrogates."

And there you have it. That paragraph and quote pretty much sums up the reality, removed from the reckless pre-war exaggerations of Hayes and also from any rhetoric on the extreme left that might like to imagine Saddam Hussein should have been left alone in Baghdad where he wasn't harming anyone and had no interest in funding or otherwise supporting terror groups.

This is going to be the last thing Abu Muqawama posts on this issue because it has nothing to do with counter-insurgency. The only reason Abu Muqawama linked to the piece in the first place is because it's absurd that Goldberg and Hayes continue to be promoted through the ranks and feted as star journalists as if what they wrote in the kinda important run-up to the Iraq War turned out to be true. Now let's all move on from this and go back to writing and reading about COIN (and NCAA basketball and Six Nations rugby). Deal?