DC Independent Examiner
That statement all by itself encapsulates the political Left’s modus operandi. It is at once deliberately provocative, crudely insulting and a calculated lie. Slogans like this are crafted for impact, not accuracy, and illustrate succinctly that the Left is never interested in facts, only results. It is one of the many reasons I find the American Left one of the most revolting and disingenuous movements in modern history, for these Leninist tactics shield the reality of a worldwide movement designed solely for its own advancement and whose 100 year history is steeped in blood, responsible for more death and oppressive misery than all the wars of history combined. This article is dedicated entirely to refuting the oft-repeated “Bush lied, people died” slander and should settle, for reasonable people at least, the debate over whether or not the Bush administration made the right choice in invading Iraq.
In their initial authorization for war, supported overwhelmingly by both Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. Congress cited about a dozen justifications for overthrowing Saddam, including his history of aggression, his brutality towards his own people, the instability his regime creates in that strategically important region, and so forth. Despite their support for all these justifications, Democrats have now done a 180 and predictably focused on those they view as open to dispute. These are: 1. That Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and 2. That Saddam had a working relationship with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda and may have had a hand in 9-11. This article will focus only on these two. The others require no argument.
Our media and liberal political elites of late are obsessed with the idea that the world is a big courtroom and military intelligence isn’t “actionable” without ironclad, irrefutable verification that could withstand the harshest scrutiny in a court of law. But in the shadowy world of intelligence collection and analysis, things just aren’t that cut and dry. Decision makers often don’t have the luxury of waiting for absolute proof before taking action. Without military intervention for example, getting absolute proof of Saddam’s nuclear ambitions may have only come with a mushroom cloud rising over Washington. Often the best one can do is make an educated guess.
Nonetheless a courtroom standard has become the accepted practice when dealing with terrorists, thanks largely to the Clinton administration, who considered terrorism to be a “law enforcement issue”. Al Gore adopted this view during his 2000 Presidential campaign, as did John Kerry in 2004. Not only does this approach require a much higher standard of evidence, evidence frequently unavailable in such cases, but it also may serve to limit the scope of the investigation. Finally, it relegates to perpetrators the status of defendant in a criminal trial, with all the attendant privileges and law enforcement restraints, rather than the battlefield enemy they really are.
Prosecutors have an incentive to “win” cases. This means getting ironclad evidence against those apprehended or those thought to have actually committed the crime. In terrorist investigations those who actually commit the crimes are usually the lowest level actors and thus least relevant in bringing down the organization that orchestrated the attack. At the same time they are the most likely to be caught and the easiest to prosecute. Indeed, they are often considered “throwaways”, deliberately left to be caught. Those behind the plot, the real “masterminds,” plan it to minimize their risk of capture.
If a state is behind the attack, the prosecution gets even more complicated. State sponsorship of terror may actually hurt the prosecution’s case, as the apprehended suspects can be portrayed by defense attorneys as dupes of a foreign nation, not diabolical schemers dreaming up acts of terror alone. While the law enforcement standard may be tolerable in drug trafficking prosecutions for example, it can have potentially disastrous consequences in a terrorism investigation, where failure to correctly identify those behind the plot leaves them free to launch another, potentially cataclysmic attack in the future.
We need to bring our intelligence apparatus back in line with a more realistic view of the world. With this in mind, it is important to lay out four Elemental Principles, which can be used to anticipate behavior of regimes such as Saddam’s Iraq or a group like al Qaeda in lieu of absolute proof. Unfortunately, analysts frequently overlook such tools and in so doing draw erroneous conclusions, even when the intelligence is sound.
Elemental Principle I. Regimes modeled after the Soviet Union have uniform, distinct characteristics, the most important being a political doctrine of strategic deception; the entire State apparatus is geared toward misinformation. They also share pervasive, indescribably brutal internal security organs, with surveillance capability reaching right down to the family unit. No activity of any import gets past the secret police and no private citizen would engage in any activity of concern to
the government without explicit authority.
Elemental Principle II. When dealing with totalitarians, it is irrelevant whether they claim to be secular (like Saddam), or religious (like Osama bin Laden). They will cooperate if they see it in their interest despite the apparent contradiction, because the primary goal of all totalitarians is power.
Elemental Principle III. Terrorist organizations require big money to stay in business—usually the resources of a state.
Elemental Principle IV. None of the major players in international terrorism get where they are by being stupid or crazy. There is virtually no such thing as a “random act of terror” and the notion of nebulous, independent, “non-state” actors engaging in major acts of wanton murder and terrorism is erroneous. Thus while Osama may exhort his followers to wantonly “…kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it” he picks targets carefully and launches operations with a specific goal in mind, though it may appear to be gratuitous murder.
There is extensive evidence that Saddam had WMD and intended to develop nuclear capability as soon as possible. Furthermore, there was a clear link between Saddam and al Qaeda, and possible evidence of his complicity in 9-11 as well.
Evidence of WMD
Before we get started, one simple question may serve to put this issue in perspective. There was virtually unanimous agreement among the world’s intelligence agencies, based on information amassed over a period of fifteen years, that Iraq possessed WMD. It was a foregone conclusion among U.S. policy makers and prompted the Clinton administration to repeatedly warn Iraq to abandon these programs. This, along with endless reports from redundant UN inspection teams, was the inspiration for countless UN resolutions demanding the Iraqis come clean. At the same time, Iraq demonstrated an almost unbroken record of deception, denial, defiance and belligerence from 1991 until the invasion in 2003.
In light of Elemental Principle I—or the heck with that, just take Iraq’s record alone—which is the more likely: 1. that the world’s intelligence agencies, UN inspection teams and the UN itself were wrong, or 2. that Iraq merely continued its long pattern of deception and denial by either hiding its weapons or moving them to Syria?
If you answered 1, then exactly what planet are you on?
As former CIA director George Tenet stated in November 2003: “I remain convinced that no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal—literally millions of pages—and reached any conclusions or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached.” The Iraqi Survey Group (ISG), headed first by David Kay and finally Charles Duelfer, which during its entire tenure found no sizeable stashes of WMDs in Iraq, nonetheless concluded in 1994 that, whether he had nuclear weapons or not, “Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability… irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks…”
Just the same, when no major stockpiles of WMD were discovered, opposition politicians and the mass media accused the President of deliberately lying. Suddenly Bush the knuckle-dragging moron becomes Bush the brilliant Machiavellian, able to trick even true geniuses like John Kerry into voting for war. Suddenly Bush, a relative newcomer to the Washington scene, is the only one who knew the real truth, a truth that was a foregone conclusion for all these same savants as far back as 1998, and for some even earlier.
So, give me a break!
Just saying that “there are no WMD” because no major stockpiles have yet been found is an irresponsible and highly suspect conclusion. One of two things must be true: Either Western policy makers, diplomats and intelligence agencies were completely wrong in their decades long assessment or they were right and Saddam had weapons. And if reams of pre-war intelligence collected over fifteen years were completely wrong, how can we be so certain it’s correct now?
The indisputable answer is, we can’t.
WMDs could easily have been squirreled away somewhere in the vast Iraqi desert. When the Iraqi Survey Group’s (ISG) David Kay made his interim report to Congress in 2003, his organization had only visited 10 of the 130 ammunition depots in Iraq, some of which are square miles in size. Meanwhile Mr. Kay himself spent virtually all of his time in the safety of the Green Zone, interviewing Iraqi government officials and examining papers. Ditto for Charles Duelfer, who took over after Kay resigned in late 2003. The fact is the search has hardly begun.
There is a widely held belief that Saddam’s WMD programs were moved to Syria before the war. U.S. satellite photos during that time period showed long caravans of trucks moving something to Syria. Indeed, in a recent report by the New York Sun, an Israeli general states unequivocally that: “He [Saddam] transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria” six weeks before the war started. The article also quotes Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as making the same claim in a 2002 Israeli television appearance. The general added that the Israelis have always known this and told the U.S. early on but their information was ignored because it was assumed administration critics would accuse the Israelis of ulterior motives.
Former ISG head David Kay agrees with the Israelis. One week after his resignation from the ISG, Mr. Kay stated in an interview with the London Telegraph newspaper: “…we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam’s WMD programme.”
Prior to OIF, Saddam had chemical and biological weapons. This is known because the Iraqi government admitted it shortly after the 1995 defection of Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamil. Mr. Kamil had headed Iraq’s unconventional warfare programs and was in a good position to discuss Iraq’s WMD programs.
The Iraqis chose to divulge the information first and acknowledged having, among other things 3.3 tons of the highly toxic nerve agent, VX. They also admitted having a much larger biological warfare program than anyone suspected, and produced a wide variety of toxins including anthrax, botulinum, ricin, clostridium perfingens (causes gangrene) and aflatoxin (causes liver cancer); they also experimented with such deadly viruses as ebola.
Finally, it was learned that Saddam’s scientists had managed to engineer a viable nuclear bomb that would fit on a SCUD missile. They only needed to enrich 35 lbs. of uranium to get the necessary explosive material. What ever happened to all this stuff?
They claimed that they destroyed their stockpiles but never offered any proof and we never pressed them to. Given their virtual obsession with having sanctions lifted, if they had really disposed of their WMD, wouldn’t they have tripped over themselves to prove it? But they didn’t. The only reasonable conclusion a prudent person could reach is that they retained these weapons.
The burden of proof always rested with Saddam, not the U.S., and he failed miserably.
A recent article in Haaretz roundly criticizes the administration for preempting any further examination of the subject by surrendering their prerogatives to the simplistic and patently absurd arguments of the “Bush Lied, People Died” crowd. The Bush administration has painted itself into a corner and can’t revisit the issue even if it wants to. But Saddam’s regime had plenty of time to hide or move their WMD before the war started and that’s what they did.
Saddam and 9-11
The first bit of evidence suggesting Saddam’s complicity in 9-11 is the mural below, discovered by the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. Now granted, while the picture below doesn’t provide absolute proof that Saddam was behind 9-11, it does provide absolute irrefutable proof that he wanted people to believe it.
Since, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, this should have found its way into newspapers and on TV sets all across the country. But I guess the mass media doesn’t want us ignorant citizens jumping to any hasty conclusions.
What about the Salman Pak facility? This is a large complex south of Baghdad thought to be the site of much of Saddam’s WMD research. Two Iraqi defectors claimed that Salman Pak was also used for terrorist training and insisted that the 9-11 hijackers got their training there, using the shell of a 707 airliner for practice. These witnesses have been roundly criticized in the press for providing inconsistent stories and their testimony has essentially been dismissed. But U.S. Marines overran the facility on April 6, 2003 and did find the shell of an airliner, a double-decker bus and three train cars.
Then New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, always on the frontlines defending poor, misunderstood despots, jumped in to claim a CIA agent told him that Saddam was given these items by Britain’s MI-6 (foreign intelligence) in the 1980s for counter-terrorism training. Is he serious?
He too, identified it as a Boeing 707 but actually it was a Russian built Tupolev TU-154. Now where would MI-6 get one of those? And why would Saddam need to train counter-terrorism experts using a British double-decker bus? Do you see many of those in Iraq? No, but one was blown up by Muslim terrorists in Britain this summer. Why don’t we read more of this in the national news?
Iraq/al Qaeda Links
But in order to make more informed evaluations regarding Saddam’s possible involvement in 9-11 we must closely examine his relationship with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.
The media and political establishment have gone out of their way to discredit any connection between Saddam and 9-11 or even the notion of an Iraq/al Qaeda nexus. Thus even when the 9-11 Commission acknowledged contacts between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda operatives spanning a decade, it concluded these meetings never developed into an active collaboration. As far as the media and leftist political elites are concerned, it’s a settled issue.
Moreover many analysts point out that Saddam’s secular Ba’athists would logically be a target of Osama bin Laden’s Islamists. Indeed, early on bin Laden made many public statements excoriating Iraq and reportedly offered the Saudis to lead an Islamic army against Saddam after he invaded Kuwait. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So far, attacks have occurred only in those Muslim countries allied with the West: Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The fact is Osama buried the hatchet with Saddam a long time ago. Hassan al-Turabi, a devout member of the Muslim Brotherhood, created the National Islamic Front (NIF) in Sudan. He and his NIF have run the Sudanese government behind the scenes off and on since the late 1980s. They are the driving force behind the conflict occurring today in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Turabi counts Osama Bin Laden among his friends and from 1990-1996 Bin Laden and his al Qaeda called Sudan home. It has been Turabi’s long-standing goal to unite all Arabs against the West.
In October of 1990, Turabi organized a meeting in Jordan between representatives of the Iraqi government and Islamic leaders, including members of Osama bin Laden’s budding organization. Turabi’s goal was to garner support among all Arabs for Iraq in its coming conflict with the U.S. After the Gulf War, Turabi founded the Islamic Arab Popular Conference, in an effort to unite all Muslims, be they Shi’ite or Sunni, secular or Islamic, to present a united front against the West. At the behest of Turabi, in 1993 bin Laden agreed to forswear any activity against Iraq.
This fact was acknowledged by the Clinton administration in a 1998 sealed indictment of bin Laden, which stated: “Al Qaeda 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.” In light of Elemental Principle II, this should come as no surprise.
Elemental Principle III comes into play here as well. Osama bin Laden’s fortune has been estimated at approximately $30 million. This isn’t enough to keep an army in toilet paper. An army requires housing, food, transportation, weapons, ammunition and training, as well as medical, intelligence and logistical support. If we made the very conservative assumption that all these items combined cost an average of $50,000 per militiaman annually, a modest army of 2,000 men would require $100 million–annually. Even cursory analysis puts a big red flag on the contention that bin Laden financed al Qaeda alone.
In a 2003 speech broadcast by al-Jazeera, he said:
Muslims’ doctrine and banner should be clear in fighting for the sake of God. He who fights to raise the word of God will fight for God’s sake. Under these circumstances, there will be no harm if the interests of Muslims converge with the interests of the socialists in the fight against the crusaders, despite our belief in the infidelity of socialists (emph. mine).
So after a decade of service to a Godless monster, he finally gets around to admitting what we knew all along.
As predicted by Elemental Principles II & III, when given the choice of sticking to principle or forging an alliance of convenience, bin Laden had no problem choosing the latter. And this calls into question his entire justification for being. The secular communist and ba’athist regimes he refers to as “socialists” rule regimes infinitely more degenerate than ours and have completely purged belief in God from public discourse.
If Osama were truly sticking to principle, he would line up next to the largest God fearing nation in the world, the good ole’ U.S. of A., to fight off the true infidels: communism and socialism. But Osama is merely another racketeer who has sadly found vibrant currency in the gullible ranks of Islamic fanatics.
So if Osama bin Laden so easily abandoned principle, what does he really want and for whom is he really working?
Documents seized after our invasion of Iraq detail plans for a 1998 meeting in Iraq between representatives of al Qaeda and Saddam’s government and as such provide further corroboration of a working arrangement. The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported on December 28, 1998 “Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden have sealed a pact.”
But according to another document discovered recently in Iraq, Saddam considered Osama an asset much earlier. The memo, dated March 28, 1992, ordered Iraqi intelligence offices in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to reestablish old contacts. It said, in part: “He [Osama Bin Laden] is well known Saudi Businessman, founder of Saudi opposition in Afghanistan, had connection with Syrian division [of Iraqi intelligence].”
On Friday February 26, 1993, the two-year anniversary of Iraq’s retreat from Kuwait, a bomb went off in the underground garage of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. It killed six people and left a massive hole six stories deep. The goal was to topple the North Tower onto the South, bringing down both. The bomb also purportedly included a mixture intended to produce a huge hydrogen cyanide cloud, poisoning everyone in the area.
Ramzi Yousef, the plot’s mastermind, bragged that he hoped to kill 250,000 people. Fortunately the structure held and the cyanide burned off in the explosion instead of vaporizing as intended. While a number of conspirators were rounded up almost immediately, Yousef fled the night of the blast and evaded arrest until his capture in Pakistan in 1995.
The only other conspirator to escape was Abdul Rahmin Yasin, an Iraqi who fled back to Iraq a day after being questioned by the FBI. In September of 1992 he had come from Iraq to the U.S. According to Elemental Principle I, Iraqi officials would have wanted to know why he was making a trip to the country of their enemy. Yasin would have had to tell them the real reason. Otherwise he would have faced extreme consequences upon his return, if for no other reason than to be an object lesson to anyone who attempted to pull the wool over Iraqi authorities’ eyes.
But return he did. He took up residence at his father’s house in Baghdad. If the Iraqi authorities were in the least concerned about being implicated in the WTC bombing, even mistakenly, they would have thrown him out of the country at best. Yet Yasin stayed in Iraq indefinitely and in 1994, an ABC reporter working there learned he had a job with the government. Except for a few lame pleas to return made on behalf of the FBI by a relative living in the U.S., the U.S. government made no effort to get him back.
Another of the conspirators, Muhammad Salameh, had an uncle living in Iraq, Kadri Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr, a Palestinian, had been second in command in one of the PLO’s terrorist groups. After serving time in an Israeli prison for his activities, he moved to Iraq. In June of 1992, the period when the plot began to take shape, Mohammed began calling his uncle 2 to 4 times per day and his phone bill ran into the thousands until it was cut off in July for nonpayment. Iraq had to know about those calls and it was about two weeks after they began that Yasin made travel plans to the U.S.
These items alone are proof that Iraq knew beforehand what was being planned and enough to strongly suggest their complicity in the 1993 WTC bombing itself. But there’s a lot more. Ramzi Yousef, the mystery man who fled to Pakistan the night of the bombing holds the key.
Most of the conspirators were clumsy and unprofessional. One of them later figured it out: “Ramzi Yousef used [me] and others as pawns and then immediately after the blast left the country…Yousef was responsible for bringing the individuals together and making it happen.” What had started out as a bumbling plan among a group of New York Islamic malcontents became a professional job orchestrated by a professional terrorist, and they were left holding the bag.
Ramzi Yousef is one of dozens of aliases used by the WTC bomb maker and it has never been determined conclusively who exactly he is. However, Abdul Basit Karim, the name he used when he fled the U.S. after the bombing, is the name of a Kuwaiti resident whose family disappeared during Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. From an examination of the documents it seems likely that Iraqi Intelligence tampered with Basit’s files during the occupation and hence Yousef could be an Iraqi agent who assumed Basit’s identity to escape New York undetected. Indeed, his co-conspirators referred to him as “Rasheed, the Iraqi.”
Basit and his family were originally from Pakistan. Significantly, Basit is an ethnic Baluch. Now what is a Baluch, you ask? A Baluch is a person from Baluchistan, a wild, remote and desolate area about the size of France, which straddles eastern Iran, southwestern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan. Like the Kurds of northern Iraq, Baluchs have their own language, heritage and culture that is neither Persian nor Arab. Also like the Kurds they have historically been treated as second-class citizens in the three countries they inhabit.
Not surprisingly, there has been a Baluchistani “nationalist” movement operating on and off for quite some time. And like most similar movements around the world in the 20th century, it is largely communist inspired, with support and training from the usual suspects. Baluchistan has had a long relationship with Saddam’s Iraq, which frequently used Baluchi agents in its long-running disputes with Iran. During the latter part of the Iran/Iraq war for example, Saddam used the Baluchs to stir up trouble in eastern Iran, hoping to draw troops away from the Iraqi battlefront. The Baluch also enjoyed a good relationship with the Afghan communist government. They were not aligned with any Islamic movements.
The U.S. government maintains that Yousef’s true identity is in fact, Abdul Basit, but Yousef is six feet tall while Basit’s passport puts him at 5’ 8”—four inches shorter. The government also maintains that he fled to Peshawar, Pakistan after the bombing, a frequent stepping-off point for jihadists close to the Afghan border. But that was not the route he took. His airline ticket cites Quetta, Pakistan as his final destination, with Karachi—hundreds of miles from Afghanistan—as a waypoint. Quetta rests in the heart of Pakistani Baluchistan. Judging from phone records, his escape route likely took him through Baluchistan to the Iranian Baluchistani port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, across to Oman. From there he could have gone anywhere.
Here is where it gets really interesting.
Yousef made his way to the Philippines where in 1994 he hatched another plot to place bombs on 12 U.S. Airliners. Fortunately, while mixing bomb components in his Manila apartment, he accidentally started a fire and was forced to flee. Information left on his computer eventually led to his discovery in Pakistan, where he was arrested in March of 1995.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), al Qaeda’s number three, who is credited with planning the 9-11 attacks and was captured in Pakistan in 2003, is alleged to be Abdul Basit’s, (aka Ramzi Yousef) cousin. KSM, like Basit, is a Baluch, and it turns out so are some other members of al Qaeda.
KSM was with Yousef in the Philippines to assist in the bomb plot but managed to escape. This is the connection analysts use to claim al Qaeda responsibility for the 1993 WTC attack. However, KSM didn’t join al Qaeda until 1997. Osama bin Laden has never been indicted for the 1993 attack, something the government should pursue if it really can make the case. A third Philippines conspirator, Abdul Hakim Murad, is also Baluch and supposedly a childhood friend of Yousef.
None of the Philippine bomb plot conspirators were Muslim extremists and none were Arabs. As noted above, most were Baluch. Yousef wore sunglasses and shaved, something devout Muslims apparently shun. He also used coarse language and was known to enjoy the Manila nightlife during his stay in the Philippines, as did his co-conspirators. KSM used to boast of his exploits with women.
Were these guys working for Iraq, al Qaeda or both, or were they just free agents? Yousef told the FBI that had the fire not foiled his plans, the bombs would have gone off somewhere around mid-January of 1995. If there was a purpose to the timing, it may have been the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Kuwait, which occurred on January 17, 1991.
The 1995 Riyadh bombing and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing have also been linked to Iraq, though the Clinton administration attributed them to al Qaeda. Khobar Towers, particularly, housed the American pilots enforcing Iraq’s no-fly zone. But the most blatant evidence came with the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
In 1998, Iraq was pushing hard to get sanctions lifted. In April, the UN’s arms inspection team, UNSCOM, issued its semiannual report, vowing to retain sanctions. On May 1, Iraq responded to this decision with an angry letter to the UN Security Council, which concluded: “the inability of the Iraqi people to see a lifting of sanctions after eight years will lead to dire consequences.” The Iraqi cabinet repeated the words of that letter again on May 17, and again on June 23. On July 17, Saddam gave a threatening speech referring again to the May 1 letter calling it not only a protest, but “an alternate strategy.” Iraq repeated the May 1 letter again on July 21 again issuing a sharp warning. On August 3, UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler visited Iraq to discuss their noncompliance. The next day, Iraq announced “Suspension Day” that is suspension of arms inspections. On August 5, Iraq issued a statement citing again the May 1 letter and concluded:
In addition to previous warnings over the past years we have been frankly, clearly, and truly warning over the past three months, since May 1, 1998 against the continuation of this situation and stressed that the leadership and people of Iraq cannot stand the continuation of this situation…These serious and true warnings were neglected.
Two days later, truck bombs exploded in the two African embassies within 10 minutes of each other. The Clinton administration again vowed to find those responsible and bring them to justice, but refused to mention the “I” word. What does it take?
Twenty days after the bombing, the Iraqi newspaper Babel, run by Saddam’s son, Uday, ran an article championing Osama bin Laden as “an Arab and Islamic Hero.”
The administration did implicitly identify Iraq however, when they responded to these bombings by firing cruise missiles at the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. They claimed this plant was engaged in the production of chemical weapons, the precursors for which were believed to have come from Iraq.
Their evidence came from supposedly finding trace precursor chemicals in the soil around El Shifa. Subsequent soil samples taken were clean. According to UNSCOM investigators, there was a heavily guarded plant nearby which was a much more likely candidate, but it stood in a residential area, so the administration chose El Shifa instead.
It seems apparent that Iraq relied, at least in part, on professional Baluchi terrorists for the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Al Qaeda either absorbed this group at some point along the way, took credit for its work, or has worked along side it, and has acted all along as a cutout for Saddam in his ongoing war with America. It is worth noting here that al Qaeda’s brethren in Afghanistan, the Taliban, got a boost in their drive for power from a 1,500 man army raised in 1994 by Mullah Omar in Pakistani Baluchistan. Ayman al Zawahiri also credits the Baluchs in his 2005 letter: “The Pashtun tribes…still give the biggest support to the mujahideen in Afghanistan. They were assisted in this honorable duty by the dear and kind Baluch tribes, which have sent heroes to support Islam.”
Finally, it cannot be overlooked that like Syria, Saddam’s Iraq was a Middle Eastern proxy for the former Soviet Union. The Russians helped him to power, provided arms and training, advised him during Gulf War I, ran interference for him in the U.N. Security Council and even provided assistance behind the scenes during OIF.
Like all proxy regimes, Ba’athist Iraq’s first loyalty had to be with the Russians. As such it seems likely that all of these activities were planned and executed with at least the knowledge, if not complicity or even guidance, of Russia itself.
The relentless determination on the left to discredit evidence linking Saddam to al Qaeda comes from an unholy brew of motives: an arrogance-driven insanity that stubbornly ignores blatant fact, a self-serving political and bureaucratic structure that will do anything to refute evidence of their culpability for 9-11, and as usual, a core group of professional leftists who will do anything to support leftist regimes around the globe, no matter how odious.
The Clinton administration sought to refocus our attention solely on al Qaeda as a shady, non-state actor with its own self-supporting infrastructure and agenda, in order to avoid the hard decisions the correct conclusion would entail. In so doing they left our country vulnerable to the greatest terrorist attack in U.S. history and have left our intelligence analysis capability hobbled by a decade of false reasoning.
We don’t hear the left talking too much about that though, do we.
James Simpson is an investigative journalist, businessman and former economist and budget examiner for the White House Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Simpson’s work is published at AIM.org, American Thinker, Breitbart, Capital Research Center, Right Side News, Washington Times, WorldNet Daily and elsewhere. He is also featured in Curtis Bowers’ award winning documentary Agenda: Grinding America Down.