Monday, January 16, 2006

Saddam's terrorist ties, again

Deroy Murdock, correctly, on President Bush's detractors:

If the president wrote a $10,000 check, they would denounce his penmanship. Bush’s detractors never stop complaining, so the administration simply should make its case.

What case? The one that Stepehn Hayes is making regarding Saddam's ties to Islamic terrorism. Murdock discuses Hayes' article regarding documents that prove that Saddam trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq's three camps (in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak) and that this was directed by Iraqi military units.

Drop by drop, isolated news stories and emerging documents are eroding the popular myth that Saddam Hussein had no connections to Islamofascist terrorists. These revelations undermine war critics’ efforts to whitewash Baghdad’s ancien regime — such as when Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid declared: “There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq.” Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) describes a “nonexistent relationship between al Qaeda and Sadda

Man, do I hate Carl Levin. But, that is beside the point.

This story, like others, has yet to reach the popular media, but Hayes has been on it for a while, and months ago hinted that there would be major revelations in the captured intelligence. Here in the Weekly Standard he writes:

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.

The discovery of the information on jihadist training camps in Iraq would seem to have two major consequences: It exposes the flawed assumptions of the experts and U.S. intelligence officials who told us for years that a secularist like Saddam Hussein would never work with Islamic radicals, any more than such jihadists would work with an infidel like the Iraqi dictator. It also reminds us that valuable information remains buried in the mountain of documents recovered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years.

Nearly three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, only 50,000 of these 2 million "exploitable items" have been thoroughly examined. That's 2.5 percent.

So why has the effort gone so slowly? Says Murdock:

The worry, White House aides tell me, is that revealing these ties would generate media criticism and anti-war catcalls. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita told Hayes that some reporters might discover exculpatory material among these papers, then “we’d spend a lot of time chasing around after it.”

What? The media might be critical of information and arguments put forth by the President? Say it ain't so!