Sunday, July 11, 2004

NY Times: An Intellectually Dishonest Account

Saddam's Iraq and Al Qaeda Relationship

The New York Times is determined to discount any justification for the Iraq War. More importantly, it seeks to cast dispersions at the presidency of George W. Bush. Many experts view this year's presidential election to hinge on the Iraq War, the events "on the ground" and its casus belli. Not surprisingly, candidate John Kerry has centered much of his campaign not on the authorization for war (for which he voted in the affirmative), but in the way it has been carried out and the so-called dishonest reasons for it.

The Times was quick to jump the gun in June with the disclosures at the final public 9/11 Commission hearings. It was at that event that the final Staff Reports were presented both verbally and in writing. The very next morning, Times readers were greeted with above the fold headlines that proclaimed "9/11 Panel Finds No Link" and a lead-in: "The staff of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks sharply contradicted one of President Bush's central justifications for the Iraq war, reporting on Wednesday that there did not appear to have been a ''collaborative relationship'' between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The assertion came in staff reports that offer."

It was that article and similar headlines at the Washington Post et al that led to Commission Chair Keane and Commission Vice Chair Hamilton to reassert that there was several contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda dating back to the early 1990s.

It also bears noting that President Bush never stated that there was a "collaborative" relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. He did state that in a post 9/11 world, we cannot allow any (form of) relationship between Iraq with al Qaeda that could result in such a collaboration -- the very essence of preemption.

Now comes a new NY Times article headlined "9/11 Report Is Said to Dismiss Iraq-Qaeda Alliance." But again the Times plays fast and loose with the words they use. What is meant by the word connections? What is meant in using the word ties? And, how about this latest word "alliance"? And which of these gradations gives justification for waging war with the Saddam regime?

In my opinion, any relationship, tie, connection, or alliance would be very troubling. As troubling as the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda, probably even more troubling. Many in the Intelligence Community would counter that al Qaeda, a fanatical religious entity, and Saddam, a secular baatish sunni regime, would be distrustful even hateful of one another. However, that argument brings more discomfort than comfort.

Considering virtually everyone agrees that there were some form of ongoing relationship, the only possible point of mutual interest would be the death and destruction of the United States, the kicking out of the infidels from Muslim lands.

Unfortunately, the NY Times with articles based on nuisanced and slanted reporting masks rather than defines the Iraq War, the 9/11 Commission, and the pivotal issues of the day.

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