Spinning the non-connection between Iraq and al Qaeda

That didn’t take long the full Pentagon Study that shows Iraq had no operational links to al Qaeda is on-line at ABC (11.7mb pdf). I haven’t had a chance to read through this longer report, but we can address at least two issues that the wing-nuttery is clinging to. One that see he did sponsor terror so Bush was right in the view of The National Reviews neocons like Stephen Hayes and Victor Hanson because Saddam was part of the “context” of terrorism. Once again details don’t seem to matter. Saddam stated his career with terrorism of his domestic adversaries with the help of the CIA. America supported Saddam during much of his career ( the Reagan administration supplied him intelligence about Iran during the Iraq-Iran War and did little but hand wringing when Saddam used chemical weapons and approved the sell of nuclear related duel use materials)

Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.’s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq’s oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran’s ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting

As Rumsfeld noted in redacted documents available at the link and as we can see from Saddam’s antagonistic relationships with his neighbors Saddam and Iraq were also victims of terrorist attacks. This is not by way of making excuses for Saddam’s behavior only that the now perhaps overused term terrorism to describe any conflict was a frequent tactic of state and non-state actors in the Middle-East and for the vast majority of the time it was it pitted neighbor against neighbor and Muslim against Muslim. Then is the observation that Saddam “supported” suicide bombers in the West Bank. To say that Saddam supported terrorism because he would give Palestinian families of dead bombers money for funeral expenses and so forth as a connection to terrorism is esoteric at best. One Conservative writing at ABC is hoping everyone is as ignorant of history as he is connecting Saddam to AQ through the Afghanistan’s Taliban of 1999. Two things. One the Taliban of 1999 was an awful fundamental organization but was not part of AQ – remember that members of the Taliban and Bin Laden both worked to defeat the Soviet Union, again with the aid of the CIA. Also let’s remember that connecting the Taliban of 1999 with the Taliban of today ( Taliban 2007-2008 has close associations with AQ) makes BushCo look worse; in 2001 the Bush administration through the UN tried to provide humanitarian assistance to starving Afghans, bypassing the Taliban, but at no time even knowing that Bin laden might have been there and was suspected of bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa did Bush take any military action to close down the Taliban, catch Bin Laden, or request assistance from the Afghan government in catching BL as a condition of that aid.

Watch for important destinations that the Right will not make. Finding one individual Iraqi that meet with AQ once does not translate into Iraqi state sponsorship of AQ. Think of it this way Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian. Does that make U.S. ally Jordan a sponsor of AQ activities. Many of the foreign fighters that have entered Iraq since Bush kicked out UN inspectors are from Egypt and other countries in North Africa ( Egypt in the second biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Israel.), yet we haven’t found it prudent to invade Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Tunisia.

Warrantless Surveillance Compromise Proposed; No Case for Blanket Immunity

The majority leadership in the House of Representatives has embraced a compromise measure [PDF] that would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in a move intended to resolve a deadlock between the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, the Washington Post reported.

The proposed legislation would allow telephone companies to defend their role in the White House’s warrantless surveillance program in secret ex parte hearings before a federal judge, which would include special rules to allow the introduction of secret evidence, but would not grant blanket retroactive immunity to the companies, according to the New York Times.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the legislation would (1) create a new commission to examine the warrantless surveillance program, (2) loosen judicial oversight while still requiring that a FISC judge approve new surveillance programs, and (3) allow telephone companies to defend themselves in the secret proceedings (described above) while limiting monetary damage awards if the company’s actions are held illegal.

The House Judiciary Committee released a statement today saying that, after reviewing the classified information regarding warrantless surveillance, “the administration has not established a valid and credible case to justify granting blanket retroactive immunity at this time.” (emphasis mine)

Like just about every issue the Bushies case has simply been that we’re all going to be forced to get our knees on pray mats four times a day if they don’t get unfettered police state-like powers.

Car bomb in Baghdad adds to worries violence is growing

After a low of 76 in November, the number of Iraqi civilians killed in Baghdad is rising, with March now on pace, with 104 dead so far, to become the fourth straight month to top the previous month, according to statistics kept by McClatchy. Already, the 325 wounded in the first 13 days of March tops the 322 hurt in January and seems likely to surpass the 403 wounded in February.