Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides "all confirmed" that Hussein's regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.However, the story also notes that Vice President Cheney remains a committed propagandist:
The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community's prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and about its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information.
The report's release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.As has been previously reported, the US could have killed al-Zarqawi before the war -- but his PR value was apparently too high. Alive, he helped justify the war:
"This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq," Cheney told Limbaugh's listeners about Zarqawi, who he said had "led the charge for Iraq."
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.Oh, and Zarqawi was located in the northern Kurdish part of Iraq before the war, so it was not as if the Iraqi regime had anything to do with his operation.
Moreover, Zarqawi was something of a rival of Osama bin Laden's before the war, though both men were committed to toppling despotic Middle Eastern regimes -- such as the one directed by Saddam Hussein.
Many of my very first posts on this blog were about this lie.
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