The major news networks are running a story that claims that the Pentagon has released a study that says that Iraq and al-Qaeda were not linked before the fall of the Hussein regime. As Andrew McCarthy finds, the report actually says the direct opposite of what the media claims it says. For example, he notes the abstract to the report:
Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist-operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime. (Emphasis mine.)
So, you have the mainstream media saying that the Pentagon’s report says that there was absolutely no link, yet the abstract to the report quite explicitly saying that there is a link.
We’ve known for some time that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden didn’t call each other every day, and they certainly weren’t each other’s BFF, to borrow a phrase. However, what the Pentagon report says is exactly what the argument has been all along: the Iraqi regime did have ties to terrorists, and those terrorists included members of al-Qaeda. They were willing to work together despite their differences, and it was more than plausible that had Saddam Hussein broken free of the sanctions he very well could have passed the results of a renewed WMD program to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and still maintain plausible deniability.
The media is spinning this report, and they’re not being even the least bit subtle about it. They’re hoping that people don’t bother reading it, don’t bother understanding it, and don’t question their narrative. If ever there was an example of agenda-based and shamelessly partisan journalism, this would be it.
In the old days, the media narrative would go unquestioned, but in a era of citizen journalism it’s a lot harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes—and apparently the media hasn’t learned that lesson quite yet.