Sunday, September 10, 2006

Iraq and al-Qaida:

Last week a new report came out stating that there was no link between al-Qaida and Iraq yet the 9/11 report says different in several locations.

One conflict is on page 128 in section 4.4 where the 9/11 Commission wrote:

Though intelligence gave no clear indication of what might be afoot, some intelligence reports mentioned chemical weapons, pointing toward work at a camp in southern Afghanistan called Derunta. On November 4, 1998, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed its indictment of Bin Ladin, charging him with conspiracy to attack U.S. defense installations. The indictment also charged that al Qaeda had allied itself with Sudan, Iran, and Hezbollah. The original sealed indictment had added that al Qaeda had "reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."109 This passage led Clarke, who for years had read intelligence reports on Iraqi-Sudanese cooperation on chemical weapons, to speculate to Berger that a large Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was "probably a direct result of the Iraq-Al Qida agreement." Clarke added that VX precursor traces found near al Shifa were the "exact formula used by Iraq."110

My favorite passage though is on page 61 where it states:

With the Sudanese regime acting as intermediary, Bin Ladin himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin Ladin is said to have asked for space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but there is no evidence that Iraq responded to this request.55 As described below, the ensuing years saw additional efforts to establish connections.

If we fast-forward to post 9/11. Knowing that we had al-Qaida on the run with our invasion of Afghanistan, was invading Iraq and eliminating a dictator who might seize the opportunity to allow Bin Ladin to setup shop a bad idea? The way I look at it, the evidence connecting the two was as foggy as the evidence Clinton had on Bin Ladin that stopped him from going completely after him. History now shows that if Clinton jumped on that foggy evidence instead of listening to Tenet, the U.S. would be better off today. Sometimes the bigger risk is not doing something and if we didn’t invade Iraq why would the world be better off today?

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