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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The pResident can't explain himself
But the wingnut columnists at the New York Times are there to do it for him. Tuesday, it was David Brooks putting words in the smirky little mouth. Today, William Safire is off on another of his Saddam is/was Osama flights of lunacy.

Safire cites Dexter Filkins' February 9 article in the Times as a "smoking gun" on ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. But Filkins' article refers to a document recently obtained by US intelligence officials which supposedly is from a suspected al Qaeda muckety-muck to al Qaeda leadership (OBL?) in Afghanistan or wherever. The letter asks for help in fighting against the coalition occupiers.

While Safire claims the letter proves "that a clear link existed between world terror and Saddam," Filkins says explicitly in his article:

The document would also constitute the strongest evidence to date of contacts between extremists in Iraq and Al Qaeda. But it does not speak to the debate about whether there was a Qaeda presence in Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era, nor is there any mention of a collaboration with Hussein loyalists.

Safire suggests that

...the messages' authenticity was best attested by the amazed U.S. official who told Reuters, "We couldn't make this up if we tried."

I don't think that official is giving the Bush administration enough credit. They've made up all sorts of stuff.

Safire's conclusion? That the war was justified. Why?

Of the liberation's three casus belli, one was to stop mass murder, bloodier than in Kosovo; we are finding horrific mass graves in Iraq. Another was informed suspicion that a clear link existed between world terror and Saddam; this terrorist plea for Qaeda reinforcements to kill Iraqi democracy is the smoking gun proving that. The third was a reasoned judgment that Saddam had a bioweapon that could wipe out a city; in time, we are likely to find a buried suitcase containing that, too.

Wrong (see Human Rights Watch). Wrong (see above). And wrong (see David Kay). Bill, it's time for you to go back to channeling Nixon full time.