I blogged on this report back on March 13th, snarling and growling at the misleading headlines and pack of lies that were being passed off as journalism. But since that time, many - most with far more expertise than I - are pouring thru the 94 page document and expounding on the details.
Several media outlets - but not an overwhelming amount by any means - have done some great work. But Mark has taken it a step further - giving a much needed (however gentle) slap across the face by those who indulge in "the meaning of is... is" word games. Ya made me smile, Mark!
Excerpts below are the opening, and closing paragraphs. But I highly recommend everything in the middle as a "must read".
Links. Ties. Operational links. Sponsorship. These terms have vastly different meanings to different members of the media when they discuss relations between Saddam Hussein’s regime and the al-Qaeda network. This became clear yet again last week when news outlets reported on the Department of Defense-sponsored Iraqi Perspectives Project (all five volumes of which are now available here). The vast majority of news reports focused on a single sentence that was incorrectly taken to mean that no ties, links, relations or connections of any sort existed between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the al-Qaeda movement.
What exact word or phrase best describes the relations between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al-Qaeda, as well as other Islamic terror groups, is certainly debatable. What is not debatable, based on the Iraqi Perspectives Project, is that Saddam Hussein’s regime funded, trained, and assisted terrorist groups (including al-Qaeda proxies), and sometimes actually ordered them to attack American citizens, American interests, and American allies. To compound the danger, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was simultaneously using its intelligence and security apparatus to plot and conduct terror attacks of its own.
Instead of squabbling over who is and isn’t a member of al-Qaeda and what the requirements of a “link” or “connection” are, this report details Saddam’s broad support for (and sometimes direction of) a multitude of terrorist groups targeting Americans and American allies. Based on the Iraqi Perspectives Project, Saddam’s Iraq did not just use terrorism against America and her allies but took advantage of “the rising fundamentalism in the region” as an “opportunity to make terrorism . . . a formal instrument of state power.” Because of Saddam’s removal, which came at considerable cost in American blood and gold, a “formal instrument” of state terrorism is no longer secretly plotting to kill Americans. The American public deserves to know what a threat was removed for that price.
Now if we could just get them to stop playing the same game with what constitutes a WMD, or al Qaeda as the pure definition of the enemy.