micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
I deal with this here but it deserves to be said more forcefully...
In the final paragraph of The Weekly Standard piece about the memo suggesting ties between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda, "Case Closed," Stephen F. Hayes writes, "...there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to plot against Americans."
Complete and utter bullshit. Nothing in his article documents that Saddam's regime and al Qaeda worked together "to plot against Americans." If the ties turn out to in fact be true (hardly a given, especially since other intellignece looks to have been less than without fault), is it possible? Certainly. Likely? Maybe. A given? No, and the excuse for logic that suggests otherwise is very similar to the “logic” behind the idea that any weapons of mass destruction that Saddam ever had or may have ever had existed only for him to use against the U.S. and any ambition for such weapons was certainly an ambition to attack the U.S.
UPDATE: Via Matthew Barganier of antiwar.com, here's a bit from a Daily Mirror report by Bob Roberts (snicker) on U.S. President George W. Bush's cancellation of a speech before the British Parliament:
The US president planned to give a joint address to the Commons and Lords during his state visit to Britain."How dare they!" important intellectual Max Standard said. "How dare anyone even think about breaching ettiquete in the presence of the Grand Leader in the Global Fight for Freedom and Fun! I hope they assign [Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J.] Feith to look into how widespread this sentiment in this European country and determine what bit of Nazi nomenclature is necessary to eliminate this fifth column." 12:35 p.m. 11/19/03
UPDATE #2 Saragon has responded to this entry in the comments section of this post. His objections were that any relationship with al Qaeda could be considered to amount to a "plot against Americans" and that, independent of the previous argument, a number of points in the memo did indicate something of a plot. My response:
If any cooperation with any person linked to al Qaeda constitutes plotting against �Americans,� o.k. But I don�t buy that statement. Too little is known about what was done. If you want to say Saddam�s regime was �with the terrorists,� fine but that difference that actively plotting against. I don�t think it is unreasonable to leave open the possibility that al Qaeda was told by Saddam�s regime not to use certain weapons against the U.S., although I�m not saying any evidence exists that this was the case, as survival on Saddam�s part very well could have looked to him to amount to not pissing off the U.S. Could he prevent such attacks? Probably not but that doesn�t look like a �plot� to me. If someone sells a gun to Mulder Murder and MM goes out and kills someone, the seller may be negligent in selling to a suspicious character but in and of itself the sale was not a plot.***
Joe Rexrode's Lansing State Journal preview of this year's Michigan State men's basketball team doesn't adequately consider that basketball is about more than just raw skills and talents. A lot of it is, to sound cliched, grit and determination. There was no doubt that the 1999-2000 team had that as they won 22 straight games before losing to Duke in the national semi-finals. A lot of those games were on the road and/or involved comebacks. Last year's team didn't do that and if they are to win a national championship they are likely going to have to grow just a bit more as players.
The Simpsons is the most popular television show among Canadian children, according to a new survey of kids aged 8 to 15 to be released today.Who did the survey isn't clear from the story, although it turns out to be the Canadian Teachers' Federation. 1:54 p.m. 11/20/03
UPDATE #3: Part of me doesn't want to make fun of Hayes because I do think the publication of his story is a good thing, but I've spent enough time with the piece that the majority of me says, "Do It."
...reporting, from... [a] "well placed" source:That's analysis?10. The Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti, met privately with bin Laden at his farm in Sudan in July 1996. Tikriti used an Iraqi delegation traveling to Khartoum to discuss bilateral cooperation as his "cover" for his own entry into Sudan to meet with bin Laden and Hassan al-Turabi. The Iraqi intelligence chief and two other IIS officers met at bin Laden's farm and discussed bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance in: a) making letter and parcel bombs; b) making bombs which could be placed on aircraft and detonated by changes in barometric pressure; and c) making false passport [sic]. Bin Laden specifically requested that [Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed], Iraqi intelligence's premier explosives maker--especially skilled in making car bombs--remain with him in Sudan. The Iraqi intelligence chief instructed Salim to remain in Sudan with bin Laden as long as required.
...few people in the U.S. government are expressly looking for such links. There is no Iraq-al Qaeda equivalent of the CIA's 1,400-person Iraq Survey Group currently searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction.Yeah like that's been a serious search.
Hayes gives more details on the memo in "The Saddam-Osama Memo (cont.)" In it Hayes mentions some comments from former Central Intelligence Agency Director during the Clinton era James Woolsey's comments on last Sunday's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. Here is the relevant exchange:
BLITZER: Let me go -- Director Woolsey, wrap up this segment for us. There's an article in the Weekly Standard that came out, referring to a memo that Doug Feith wrote, a top Pentagon official, to the chairman and the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggesting that the linkage, the evidence, the intelligence evidence involving al Qaeda's relationship with Saddam Hussein, goes back more than a decade.This is even more proof that idiocy is a bipartisan quality.
More on this general topic can be found here, here, here and here. At this point, I think this discussion has pretty much hit a dead end and this is where it will remain unless, or perhaps until, more data comes out. The Weekly Standard could certainly help this along by releasing the memo, although it is understandable if they don't want to. 3:12 p.m. 11/20/03