There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his Al-Qaida associates, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence on Iraq. Democrats said the report undercuts President Bush’s justification for going to war.
The declassified document being released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.
It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.”
Bush and other administration officials have said that the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq before the war was evidence of a connection between Saddam’s government and al-Qaida. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in June this year.
That’s a ridiculous post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. If that is the basis of their claims, then one could just as easily claim that the mere presence of the 19 hijackers in the US before the war was evidence of a connection between Bush’s government and al-Qaida.
Now, get this:
The long-awaited report, said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., a member of the committee, is “a devastating indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration’s unrelenting, misleading and deceptive attempts” to link Saddam to al-Qaida.
The report, two years in the making, comes out amid a series of Bush speeches stressing that pursuing the military effort in Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terrorism, and two months before that policy will be tested in midterm elections.
“Based on the characterizations we’ve seen, it’s nothing new,” White House press secretary Tony Snow said of the report.
“In 2002 and 2003, members of both parties got a good look at the intelligence we had and they came to the very same conclusions about what was going on,” Snow said. That was “one of the reasons you had overwhelming majorities in the United States Senate and the House for taking action against Saddam Hussein,” he said.
If I read that correctly, Snow is saying that the White House already knew that there was no connection (which, of course, they did)… and that is why a majority took action against Saddam Hussein? They took action because they came to the conclusion that he had nothing to do with al-Qaida? Huh?
I can’t understand how this White House manages to make their lies sound like the truth and their truth sound like lies.