Powerline does a nice job of taking to task the NYT and WaPo coverage of the 9/11 report, in which those publications respectively claim that one of Bush’s central justifications for the war was collaboration between AQ & Saddam. The actual report states "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." Powerline offers the following thoughts:
To say that this report adds nothing to our understanding of al Qaeda and Iraq would be an understatement. It appears to have been written before the discovery that a Lt. Col. in the Saddam Fedayeen, Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, attended the key planning meeting of the Sept. 11 plotters. Beyond that, the staff either is ignorant of the many indications of connections between al Qaeda and Iraq, or simply ignores them, secure in the knowledge that the mainstream media will applaud their conclusions without questioning their reasoning.
The claim that the Bush administration alleged a connection between Iraq and Sept. 11 is, of course, false. But newspapers like the Times and the Post are caught up in the excitement of the election year; they deliberately seek to create the impression that the administration made such a claim, and that it has somehow been "refuted." Neither suggestion is true.
It is also worth reading the commission’s conclusory sentence, obviously crafted for easy news citation, carefully: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." (emphasis added). But there are many steps short of attacks, which could include financial support, turning a blind eye toward terrorists and their activities conducted in country, assisting in the production of VX gas in Sudan, etc. There is ample evidence to suggest that Iraq had a friendly relationship with terrorists, even if there is a relative paucity of evidence (outside the meeting of some key officials) to suggest that Iraq participated in 9/11 itself. Nonetheless, the fact that the former regime "cooperated" with some terrorists up to and including training hijackers at Salman Pak--even if the terrorists Saddam trained were neither AQ nor those who attacked 9/11--is enough to keep Saddam off my Ramadan card list.