Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another Iraq war mistake

What is the White House going to say now? "Oops?" "My bad?" After many billions of dollars spent and many thousands of lives lost in President George W. Bush's Iraq war, the Pentagon has concluded what many suspected all along — there was no link between Saddam Hussein's government and al-Qaida. The finding will be announced later this week, the McClatchy newspaper chain said yesterday. The Pentagon study, based on a review of more than 600,000 documents captured after the 2003 invasion, confirmed that while Iraq did support Middle Eastern terrorist groups and his security services did target Iraqis viewed as domestic threats, there were no documents showing a direct link between Iraq and al-Qaida during Hussein's regime. Bush told the American people in the run-up to the war and as late as July of last year that Saddam's Iraq supported al-Qaida, and his top officials, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, repeatedly referred to the connection as justification for the war. "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims," Bush said in July. The Pentagon study, "Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents", was completed last year and has been undergoing what one U.S. official described as a "painful" declassification review, the newspaper chain said. The report was produced by a federally-funded think tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses, under contract to the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

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