Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2002 / 11 Teves, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The United States hasn't proved Saddam has weapons of mass destruction... but he'll use them against U.S. troops if we invade. Saddam has no connections to international terror groups...but he'll launch terror attacks inside the United States if America attacks him.

To argue credibly against war with Iraq, opponents must maintain either that Saddam Hussein isn't a threat, or that he is so great a threat that an attempt to oust him would produce unacceptably high casualties. These positions contradict each other, and are contradicted by the facts.

Few besides Iraqi functionaries maintain that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction. UN weapons inspectors found thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons and their precursors, and a well-funded nuclear development progam. At the time they were kicked out in 1998, all the inspectors were convinced there was more to find. Presumably, Saddam would not have run the risk of war by expelling them if he didn't have something to hide.

If a respectable case is to be made that Saddam is not a threat, it has to be made on the basis that no matter how evil, mean, nasty and rotten Saddam may be, there is little likelihood he would initiate the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, or share such weapons with groups like al Qaeda, which clearly would.

So debunking evidence of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda has become an urgent task for anti-warriors. The New York Times has three times published stories casting doubt on a report that Sept. 11 hijack leader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague last year, each time to have its debunking debunked by the head of the Czech intelligence service, the Czech Interior Minister, and the Czech Prime Minister at the time. All maintain to this day that the meeting took place.

The task of the debunkers is getting more difficult. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, David Rose reports that a special intelligence unit in the Pentagon has found nearly 100 separate examples of Iraq-al Qaeda cooperation going back to 1992.

A senior CIA officer told Rose that two other of the Sept. 11 hijackers - Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah - met with Iraqi intelligence officers in the United Arab Emirates a few months before the attack.

The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 9 that just before the Sept. 11 attacks, a group of al-Qaeda guerrillas left Afghanistan to set up a backup base in northern Iraq. Abu Wael, a major in the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service, was sent to Afghanistan in 1995 to be Saddam's liaison to al Qaeda, the Times said.

The Washington Post reported Dec. 12 that Islamic extremists affiliated with al Qaeda had picked up a chemical weapon in Iraq last month and have smuggled it into Turkey.

These new disclosures come on top of evidence of Iraqi involvement in earlier terror plots against the United States. It is accepted by all Western intelligence services that Iraq was behind an attempt to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait in 1993. James Fox, then head of the New York office of the FBI, was convinced that Ramzi Yousef, convicted of masterminding the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, was an Iraqi agent. Jayna Davis, an investigative reporter in Oklahoma City, found witnesses who placed Hussain al Hussaini, a former Iraqi soldier and a dead ringer for the FBI sketch of John Doe Number Two, in the company of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh the morning of the bombing of the Murrah federal building, and at a bar several nights before. Edward Angeles, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf terror group, said that McVeigh's confederate, Terry Nichols, met with Ramzi Yousef in Cebu City in the Philippines.

One of those indicted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abu Rahman Yasin, took refuge in Baghdad, where he lives today. Saddam also provided a home for Abu Nidal, the Osama bin Laden of the 1980s. Iraqi defectors say Saddam maintained at Salman Pak, a military base near Baghdad, a Boeing 707 on which terrorists practiced hijackings.

Many liberals insinuated President Bush was to blame for the FBI's failure to "connect the dots" prior to Sept. 11. But it is evident that it isn't only the FBI that is having difficulty connecting dots.

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10/30/02: Show North Korea we're serious: Polish off Saddam
10/22/02: The squealing in the Pentagon is a proof of Rummy's effectiveness
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10/01/02: Gore's calculated risk may well get him the Dems' nomination
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09/25/02: Making Saddam change his spots
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09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
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08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
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08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
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07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
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06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
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05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
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04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
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04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
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03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
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01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly