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April 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ZARQAWI STORY CONFIRMED....Two years ago, Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News reported that a few months after 9/11 the Pentagon drafted multiple plans to hit the camp of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terrorist who had taken up residence in Iraq's northern no-fly zone, outside Saddam Hussein's control. George Bush, however, refused to authorize a military strike.

I've written about this multiple times (I used to jokingly call it my "monthly Zarqawi post"), but Miklaszewski's story always had a big problem: it was based on anonymous sources, which made it easy for the White House to ignore. Today, however, the Australian show Four Corners has gotten confirmation of the story from Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit:

He told Four Corners that during 2002, the Bush Administration received detailed intelligence about Zarqawi's training camp in Iraqi Kurdistan.

...."Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp...experimenting with ricin and anthrax...any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."

So why wasn't Bush willing to hit Zarqawi, a known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location? Scheuer says he was told it was because Bush was afraid of annoying the French a theory that seems a bit of a stretch, non? Others believe it was because Zarqawi was politically convenient: having him alive allowed Bush to pretend that Saddam was "harboring terrorists," thus providing useful ammunition for the war.

Whichever it is, we now have a credible source telling us on the record that the Zarqawi story is true. We could have gotten him, but we chose not to. Perhaps someone will start off Tony Snow's White House career on the right foot by asking him about it on Monday.

Kevin Drum 7:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (147)

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Comments

It's doubtful, Kevin: the press would really like Tony to get off to a good start lying to them.

Posted by: dj moonbat on April 30, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if that does happen it'll mean we have a new White House press corps, one that might actually serve some purpose. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Posted by: KCinDC on April 30, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Can we impeach the bastard NOW?

Posted by: fromer on April 30, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

And Zarqawi remains useful to them, which for all we know is the chief reason he's still alive.

Posted by: Boronx on April 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Today, however, the Australian show Four Corners has gotten confirmation of the story from Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit:

Michael Scheuer? This is the same man who said "Without a doubt, in the war against al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein was one of our best allies.". So Michael Scheuer is a Saddamist, Baathist who excuses Saddam's rape rooms, torture chambers, and child prisons. But Kevin Drum trusts him! Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Al on April 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

This doesn't make a lot of sense:

Mr Scheuer claims that a July 2002 plan to destroy the camp lapsed because "it was more important not to give the Europeans the impression we were gunslingers".
given that bombing campaign against Iraq had already been stepped up, and the Europeans would have been aware of it.

Seems more likely that Bush just didn't consider Zarqawi very important.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

And who's running the rape rooms, torture chambers, and child prisons in Iraq now, Al?

What a maroon.

Posted by: fromer on April 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, Kevin - you guys would have gone absolutely 100% apeshit if the USAF had hit Iraq in that manner. Try to deny it.

And Scheuer is only a "source" in the loosest sense of the word anyway.

Posted by: am on April 30, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

According to Wikipedia, Michael Scheuer also says that there "was in fact, a working relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda". So Kevin, do you believe everything Scheuer says about Iraq, or just the stuff that fits with your preconcieved notions?

Posted by: bobinnv on April 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

They had no reason to kill Zarqawi.

He was not engaged in whistleblowing activities.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 30, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

And who's running the rape rooms, torture chambers, and child prisons in Iraq now, Al?
What a maroon.
Posted by: fromer on April 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

No, insanely brilliant.

Al is pioneering a new business by installing webcams in the torture chambers and rape rooms, and charging rightwing internet surfers 10-cents-a-minute. Revenues will go to finance the Iran war.

Posted by: the profit motive on April 30, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

am: ...you guys would have gone absolutely 100% apeshit if the USAF had hit Iraq in that manner...

Bullshit. Iraq was already being "hit" at an increased pace (starting in March 2002). While the Halabja Valley is South of the then Northern no-fly zone, the boundaries were being stretched, and no one--except those on the ground and people like Scheuer--would have noticed or cared.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, ask a couple of questions. Who is Zarquari's paymaster?

And, who signs Bin Laden's chits for cave rental?

Are they the same people putting Ann Coulter up to her schtickt (sorry, I always misspell my Yiddish?)

Posted by: John Thullen on April 30, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if Scheuer said it, it must be true. Have you actually read his book ? Do you agree with it ? We're doomed ?

Funny how you pick and choose.

Yes, Clinton could have killed bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan. Your point ?

Posted by: Mike K on April 30, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, for the too-clever-by-half folks out there who might miscontrue my previous comment, I'm pro-Israel with a few qualifications.

There are much bigger enemies closer to home.

Posted by: John Thullen on April 30, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

A little more information from Michael Scheuer.

Just to keep everything out on the table.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 30, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Must be true. The trolls only come out in force like this when they're worried about something.

Posted by: Vladi G on April 30, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

"So why wasn't Bush willing to hit Zarqawi, a known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location?"

Occam's razor:

There is an Omerta oath between the two families.

Posted by: koreyel on April 30, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, Bush continues to harbor and protect another terrorist, Luis Posada Crriles. He does seem to play favorites with terrorists.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on April 30, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Yes, Clinton could have killed bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan. Your point ?

Clinton tried. Bush did not. The point, such as it is, is that you are clearly an idiot.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

ITMFA!

Posted by: otto on April 30, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

There is an Omerta oath between the two families.

Pretty funny! And yet, sobering somehow.

Posted by: shortstop on April 30, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

A decision made by Bush Administration does not necessarily need to have been made by GWB himself. I cannot stop being loyal to our President on the basis of unsubstantiated, sepculative and irresponsible allegations.

Posted by: lib on April 30, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any reason to suspect that the French would've been unfavorably impressed by an attack on Zarqawi? If I'd been a French policynaker weighing whether to join in Bush's invasion, I'd have felt a little bit better about the whole thing had the US taken the opportunity to dispatch a known terrorist whose minions would surely be conducting ops in the aftermath of the invasion. Conversely, failure to do so would've suggested that the post-invasion situation would turn into a nightmare due to abject neglect (orworse) on the part of US planners and policymakers.

Something isn't adding up here.

Posted by: Tom Marney on April 30, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

So why wasn't Bush willing to hit Zarqawi, a known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location?

Remember, according to Rice, Bush was "tired of swatting at flies". Although since he never tried, it's hard to understand why. Maybe just thinking about it exhausted him. Or maybe having to deal with "flies" annoyed and offended his sense of dignity (*cough*).

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Personally I don't think these execution raids are too good an idea without stringent legal oveight. Seems to be alright as long as they're foreign.

Bush doesn't have either of these excuses. So Zarqawi and then OBL in Tora Bora when the UK offered 6000 troops to help block his retreat and were turned down.

The big difference with Bill Clinton is that this is after 11th September 2001 and these 2 are self-admitted leading members of the group complicit in the atrocity.

Too many coincidences here. And no determination to catch or kill the bastards.

Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin

So you bring up this story, all the while ignoring that inconvenient bit of history where Clinton failed to hit bin Laden? I remember Clinton even went so far as to strike a harmless pill depository, killing untold numbers of people.

Don't drink the cool-aide, people. This Kevin's as mendacious as they come, often conflating issues.

Posted by: egbert on April 30, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

We've been bombing Iraq for 16 years.

Saddam is a man.

Iraq was a nation.

America used to be a democracy.

Just who is winning this so-called war-on-terror anyway?

Oh yeah, I forgot, the war-profiteers.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 30, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Clinton failed to hit bin Laden"

Bush didn't even try, when he had the chance. At least Clinton tried.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on April 30, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hey idiot, Kevin, has the drone bombing that was sure to hit Zawahiri in Pakistan ever crossed your little mind? That was suppose to be sure thing, but guess what the intel was wrong and there was an outcry of the possible innocence lost. You were one them. Had you ever thought that Bush may have been suspect on the intel?

Furthermore, it has been proven that our intel capabilities aren't what we thought they were and the left has whined and cried about that now for five years, you are one of them. But this intel, in your little mind, was one piece of good intel in a sea of bad intel but maybe because it's politically expedient. Huh?

The incessant whining from the left is reaching drama queen levels.

Posted by: Jay on April 30, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

"our intel capabilities aren't what we thought they were"

That would be the responsibility of the Bush administration. What have they been doing with our tax money that could have solved this problem?

Posted by: Joel on April 30, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

"The incessant whining from the left is reaching drama queen levels."

You have set a new standard that we on the left can only admire, Jay.

You go, girl!

Posted by: Joel on April 30, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

egbert:

Kevin's cool-aide is actually quite delicious and refeshing.

Of course, we couldn't drink the Kool Aid even if we wanted to, considering that you wingnuts have the monopoly on it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 30, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

What if Mr. Hussein's regime had actually given information to the United States or United Nations about this camp prior to our attack on Iraq? What would you say then?

Posted by: parrot on April 30, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush admin inherited the intelligence that the Clinton admin had compiled for eight years. The Clinton intelligence failed to stop the first WTC bombing, the USS Cole attack, the Khobar Towers attack, the US Embassy bombings in Moscow and East Africa, The Murrah Fed Bldg in Oklahoma City, the abduction and murder of two US diplomats traveling in Pakistan. And your expectations were that the Bush admin find the few documents in a sea of intel to uncover the 9/11 plot within eight months. How fair of you.
So how do you think Clinton did?

Posted by: Jay on April 30, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

notthere: Too many coincidences here. And no determination to catch or kill the bastards.

The statements, decisions and actions of this administration suggest the primary focus has been, and remains, the state, not individuals and organizations. That is also Rice's and Rumsfeld's history. And, of course, that is what our military was and is best prepared to deal with (leaving aside the "war president" and "grand solutions" schtick).

I believe Bush et. al. simply didn't, and likely still doesn't, much care about bin Laden and Zarqawi. If they're caught, that's icing on the cake, but not worthy of a truly concerted effort that might detract from the state-level focus; Afghanistan, Tora Bora and subsequently Iraq being the best examples.

The coincidence appears to be a confluence of incompetence, wishful thinking and oversized egos at the highest levels.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God for public-funded media in Australia, hey?

Four Corners is almost as good a current affairs show as Foreign Correspondent. Their list of embarrassing scoops keeps growing...

Posted by: floopmeister on April 30, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

"So how do you think Clinton did?"

Better than Bush. The Iraq occupation will soon have resulted in the deaths of more Americans than 9/11. Does that make you proud?

Posted by: Joel on April 30, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

For an interesting tie-in, go back and re-read Colin Powell's Feb '03 speech to the UN. He relies very heavily on Zarqawi as a means to try to sell a Saddam - al Qaeda connection. Zarqawi's name appears more than 20 times in the speech, starting with this carefully worded declaration, "Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants."

Notice how he says, "Iraq harbors", not "Saddam harbors". Powell was fully aware that the Zarqawi camp was in the Kurd-controlled No-fly zone, but he still pushed very hard that it justified starting a war with Iraq.

The text of the speech can be found here: http://www.themoderntribune.com/colin_powell_un_february_5_2003_-_colin_powell_present_case_on_war_on_iraq_to_united_nations.htm

Also, if you look at the Sept '02 Congressional Resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, you'll see that it prominently features what looks like a possible Zarqawi reference:
"Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;"
(see http://www.themoderntribune.com/iraq_resolution_use_of_us_military_force_october_10,_2002.htm).

Of course, it all looks very bad now, in retrospect, as it ought to. I hope this story finally breaks!

Posted by: will on April 30, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK
you guys would have gone absolutely 100% apeshit if the USAF had hit Iraq in that manner. Try to deny it. am 7:30 PM
I recall that it was Republicans who went apeshit and condemned Clinton for using cruise missiles to bomb tents in the desert when he went after bin Laden.
all the while ignoring that inconvenient bit of history where Clinton failed to hit bin Laden? egbert 9:21 PM
Your comment argues against your because it puts Clinton as being more serious in trying to combat terrorism than Bush.
The incessant whining from the left is reaching drama queen levels. Jay 9:38 PM
The incessant invention of ludicrous alibis from Bush supporters has long passed desperation levels.
So how do you think Clinton did? Jay 9:53 PM
A heck of a lot better than Bush, who did nothing despite being warned that bin Laden was determined to strike in the US, who did nothing despite people running around with their "hair on fire," who did nothing despite the examples you mention and the example of the Millennium Plot attack that Clinton thwarted. Posted by: Mike on April 30, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't the Clinton administration have a simple plan to take out Osama bin Laden with cruise missiles, and didn't the attempt fail? Didn't the Clinton administration hit the wrong target in Khartoum? Bush made a very caustic remark about hitting an empty tent with a million dollar cruise missile and killing a camel.

In the early phase of OIF the administration had reliable information on where Saddam Hussein was staying, and hit that spot with cruise missiles, and missed him; later they had information that he was in a restaurant, and the hit the resaurant, and missed again.

If we are going to use our hindsight, let's use it all: a plan to hit Zarqawi, carried out either by Clinton or Bush, would most likely have failed. The information has never been as good as it seemed when acted upon.

Posted by: republicrat on April 30, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

has the drone bombing that was sure to hit Zawahiri in Pakistan ever crossed your little mind?

Oh, yeah. I forgot that one.

Posted by: republicrat on April 30, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

egbert,

Still getting it wrong after all these years, eh ?

"I remember Clinton even went so far as to strike a harmless pill depository, killing untold numbers of people."

Since when is a "pill depository" surrounded by military guards ?
.

Posted by: VJ on April 30, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

'Jay' posted:

"So how do you think Clinton did?"

Well, let's see:

The Clinton team stopped (in progress) an attempt to blow up the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel, and the George Washington Bridge. Stopped already planned attacks to blow up the U.N. General Assembly building, to blow up the New York FBI building, to blow up the Space Needle in Seattle, to blow up the Boston airport, to blow up the L.A.X. airport, to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington, to blow up the US Embassy in Albania, and two attempts to plant bombs in specific cites in the Northeast and the Northwest of the United States. Not to mention they stopped an attempt on the life of the Pope, an attempt to blow up the biggest hotel in Jordan, and an attempted bombing of a Christian site in Bethlehem. Oh, and let’s not forget they also prevented an on schedule plan to hijack and blow up 12 U.S. civilian airliners simultaneously on a single day in the Western United States.

And that was just around the Millennium.

How do YOU think he did ?
.

Posted by: VJ on April 30, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Spot the idiot:

"Mike K: Yes, Clinton could have killed bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan. Your point ?

Clinton tried. Bush did not. The point, such as it is, is that you are clearly an idiot.

Posted by: has407"

The point is that Clinton DID NOT try it. Where do you live ? Under a rock ? The CIA had him in a predator sights and asked for permission.

No apology is necessary. I know you're an idiot.

Posted by: Mike K on April 30, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News reported that a few months after 9/11 the Pentagon drafted multiple plans to hit the camp of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terrorist who had taken up residence in Iraq's northern no-fly zone, outside Saddam Hussein's control.

Just wanted to point out Kevin, that as far as I know, there is no real evidence that Zarqawi's terror organization was affiliated with al Qaeda prior to the American invasion of Iraq. In fact, bin Laden and Zarqawi were bitter rivals while they were with the the mujahadeen in Afghanistan.

Even now, there are those who doubt a real affiliation. While it's true that Zarqawi has renamed his organization "Mesopotamian al Qaeda" and made a public show of pledging loyalty to bin Laden, it's not clear that there is a genuine operational relationship between the two groups. Zarqawi's declarations may have been just a propaganda stunt. (A quick Google search for what Juan Cole has to say about Zarqawi will provide plenty of details).

This is an important detail to get right for two reasons:

1) The Bush Administration's habit of branding almost every islamic terrorist on the planet a member of al Qaeda vastly oversimplifies what we're up against and leads to poor policy.

2) If Zarqawi really is cooperating with al Qaeda these days, it's important to remember that it was *our* ill-considered invasion that drove our enemies into each other's arms.

Posted by: Ray Winninger on April 30, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

If we are going to use our hindsight, let's use it all: a plan to hit Zarqawi, carried out either by Clinton or Bush, would most likely have failed. The information has never been as good as it seemed when acted upon.

You are making assumptions you are in no position to make.

The missed attempts on Saddam took place in densely populated urban areas. (You conveniently failed to mention the dozens of civilian casualties inflicted by those misses.) OTOH, Zarqawi was evidently dwelling in a much less dense area, where a miss a) would appear less likely on the grounds that Zarqawi--unlike Saddam--had fewer alternative dwellings, and b) would appear to have been less costly in innocent life.

Posted by: obscure on April 30, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, this isn't on my top 1000 reasons why GWB is a failed president. in 2002 nobody knew who Zarqawi was, the reason being he was basically insginificant in anti-US activities, as least to the average egghead.

It was fairly asinine that we didn't roll him up, considering how we were planning to invade anyway and were striking targets in Iraq that early at will. But if he seemed like small fry at the time, I didn't know any better either.

The GWB wanted to keep him alive as a strawman argument doesn't wash, because he'd have been an equally good strawman dead.

So, discounting Scheuer's Zarqawi complaint as hype, I can do the same for the Saddam-Al-Quieda BS. One can twist words and demonstrate on the same token that the US has a 'working relationship' with Hizbullah.

Posted by: glasnost on April 30, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K,

Who was the target of Clinton's cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan & Sudan in 1998?

The strikes that GWB mocked.

Posted by: obscure on April 30, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a surprise to anyone?

Posted by: BB on April 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

And just so we don't lose our focus, Mike K, the point was that Bush had Zarqawi in his sights and he didn't pull the trigger.

And that was after 9/11, not before.

Posted by: obscure on April 30, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Will:

For an interesting tie-in, go back and re-read Colin Powell's Feb '03 speech to the UN. He relies very heavily on Zarqawi as a means to try to sell a Saddam - al Qaeda connection. Zarqawi's name appears more than 20 times in the speech, starting with this carefully worded declaration, "Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants."

For the rest of the story, go back and look at what the anti-war Left's response to this was.

This is typical.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 30, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

will: Powell was fully aware that the Zarqawi camp was in the Kurd-controlled No-fly zone...

For the record, Zarqawi's camp in Khurmal or Biyara (public reports differ) are about 80km south of the southern edge (36th parallel) of the northern no-fly zone; but in the Kurd-controlled region, and for Hussein a no-man's land.

In any case, being outside the NFZ should have had no impact on a strike decision (see previous post). Moreover, the administration has never suggested that being outside the NFZ was a reason for inaction.

IIRC, when challenged some time ago, Cheney or Rumsfeld defended inaction because the intelligence wasn't good enough. Now we hear about not wanting to upset the French.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Very timely post by Ray Winniger.

Conceptually, everyone is still trying to 'take out The Man at the Top". Killing Zarquawi, or bin Laden will not make one jot of difference.

al Qaeda is not some cartoon caricature of 'SMERSH' (from Get Smart); some evil heirarchical organisation following orders from a James Bond evil genius.

al Qaeda is a brand - a global brand that gains influence and prestige the more the brand name is brandished by their enemies. The London bombers sought out "al Qaeda", not the other way round.

Why remain a bunch of disillusioned and angry young men, when you can instead be part of a global movement that is threatening the world and on everyone's lips?

Zarqawi probably appropriated the brand name as well (bin Laden and he have always been rivals) because it pumps up the image of his organisation. All of a sudden he's the leader in Iraq of this global corporate entity called "al Qaeda".

Of course, it's more terrifying and useful for America to be facing this same shadowy yet awesomely global enemy, rather than isolated and disconnected extremists. We need our Goldstein for our Two Minute Hate, after all. We want to make the connection between these extremists, and so do they.

The synergy is scarily beautiful, don't you think?

Posted by: floopmeister on April 30, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

All you folks comin' over here and yellin' Clinton this, 'you people would have gone apeshit' that, etc. - listen. It doesn't matter what Clinton did or didn't do. That's in the past. It doesn't matter how we would have reacted - that's never stopped the adminstration before! What matters? Think about how you would have felt if you had heard that a few months after 9/11, we had taken out a terrorist in Northern Iraq. Would you have been happy? Relieved? What? Now think - if this information is correct, the Pentagon was all ready to launch such an attack (not guaranteed to succeed, sure, but what is?), but Bush didn't bother.

That's what you have to deal with. Maybe you can come up with an explanation. Or maybe you'll start to understand why, for the majority of the American people, the honeymoon is definitely over.

Posted by: Dan S. on April 30, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute, Kevin. What do you mean the story was based on anonymous sources? Are you forgetting the 10/25/04 WSJ article by Scot Paltrow? He quotes a number of named sources, including Gen. John M. Keane, the US Army vice chief of staff at the time, who is quoted calling the Zarqawi camp "one of the best targets we ever had." The text of that article can be found at http://zfacts.com/p/653.html

As I mentioned before, if you read Colin Powell's speech to the UN, you'll see that the Bush administration was deeply invested in the idea that Zarqawi's camp helped justify the invasion of Iraq. Bush put selling the war on Iraq ahead of actually fighting the war on terror. I hope this finally comes back to haunt him.

Posted by: will on April 30, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

And here we all are, arguing whether or not one president or the other tried to take a potshot at an individual extremist.

This is not a gunfight at the OK Corral, nor is it a pissing contest.

Who cares whether Bush or Clinton tried to take Zarquawi out?

Does anyone really believe that this would have any effect on the insurgency? The 'Great Man' Theory of History is hogwash people - Zarqawi's importance does not extend beyond his clever idea to call himself 'the leader' of "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia". So who appointed him to this position? Was it an internal promotion? Did he make a request to bin Laden?

The only thing that would justify his importance as a "Leader of al Qaeda" - the current poster boy of the movement - is our constant repeating of his own claims.

You can certainly kill him - but you can't bomb a brand name.

Posted by: floopmeister on April 30, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

The GWB wanted to keep him alive as a strawman argument doesn't wash, because he'd have been an equally good strawman dead.

No. Dead, he's more damaging to the rational for invasion, since it would have highlighted that the terrorists weren't in Saddam controlled territory and that regime change wasn't necessary to eliminate them.

Zarqawi is still used as a strawman, BTW, and that he can only do while alive.

Posted by: Boronx on April 30, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

The link posted by tbrosz was excellent. It is one more piece of evidence that shows how the anti-war left was amazingly accurate in its pre-war criticisms of the administration's case.

It's a great reminder of how Americans who were against the war have been vindicated on this particular piece of evidence among others.

Among the claims where the anti-war folks apparently had better intelligence than the Bush White House in every sense of the word:

Zarqawi was not being harbored by Saddam.

He did not function "with the complicity of Saddam Hussein's government."

Powell was using deceptive rhetoric to make it seem there was an Iraq/al-Qaeda connection where none existed.

Damn we're good! I hope Tom also links to some articles showing how we were right about WMD's being a sham and Iraq dissolving into sectarian violence. Let's face it; we did the work, we deserve the props.

Next issue: global warming. Believe us or don't, it's about to get very warm in here.

Posted by: Windhorse on May 1, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Windhorse: "Next issue: global warming. Believe us or don't, it's about to get very warm in here."

An excellent post. I raise my cup.

And don't forget peak oil. Believe us or not, but friends, please think twice about buying that hummer and the house 40 miles from work.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 1, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister -- Granted, if bin Laden and Zarqawi were killed, there would undoubtedly be replacements. However, the message underlying the al Qaeda "brand" is to take up arms against the West, and that God And Right Will Prevail (so to speak). Great man of history or not, that bin Laden and Zarqawi are (still) loose reinforces the message that, for all the power of the West, the struggle is blessed. The power of that should not be underestimated.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

has407: absolutely.

Call it the 'Scarlet Pimpernel' Syndrome ("They hunt him here, they hunt him there..."). However, death can sometimes equate with martyrdom - the al qaeda 'message' does not just have to be taking up arms against the West, and God offering victory.

It can also be the example, to be emulated, of living a 'righteous' life of struggle against the enemies of Islam. Dying for principles can be considered an integral part of that.

Also, they have been built up to be Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel figures to a great extent by US demonisation - funny how the image of the "al Qaeda Mastermind" compares to the 'One Man Acting Alone' narrative of terrorism (think Arlington Road - the Oklahoma City bombing was the work of one or two disaffected lunatics - not some shadowy rightwing militia conspiracy).

The way the US reacted to 'al Qaeda' was fundamentally different. Instead of downplaying the reach of the organisation it was pumped up. This helped the small radical ghroup called al Qaeda immensely.

I understand the value in capturing figureheads, but only if they are to be treated as criminals; tried in an international court and then incarcerated. The death penalty would, of course, be counterproductive.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

I am a closet leftist.

The snark in my posts is just to rile you guys.

Posted by: tbrosz on May 1, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter trolls:
It's OK because Clinton didn't kill bin Laden.

Of course, they conveniently leave out the fact that he did try, that it was before 9/11, and that their argument is a form of relativism which conservatives are not supposed to approve of.

Posted by: sc on May 1, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I think we might be able to entice the WH press corps to ask these sort of questions if we can really convince them that more people will dislike them if they don't.

Dead-on poll numbers here can serve a very useful purpose. Sure, they couldn't question the Iraq war beforehand, because it was so popular, and getting embedded was the hot style at the time. But the polls have turned tail, and now the kool kids are criticizing!

It's all about understanding the nature of the beast. The WH press corps will always follow the path of greatest cowardliness. But they do need to have it painted in bright colors.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 1, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

The priceless performance of Stephen Colbert the other night at the Correspondent's dinner represented, to my mind, an important moment in our democracy (as overblown as that sounds).

He showed to the press and to the powers that be what it means to be confronted with unpleasant truths. What was beautiful about his performance was that he managed to get through long periods of great discomfort caused in his audience without the slightest pertubation in his delivery or in his content. He simply plowed on, relentlessly.

The man had balls. The press he addressed in the audience so obviously does not. He showed them what it would be like to stand up to power, and shamed them by his own example.

We COULD have a press corps like that.

We just don't.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 1, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum has spent 3 years telling us Saddam had NO CONNECTION to Al Queda.

Now, Kevin Drum says Zarquari was IN IRAQ, protected by Saddam, during 2002.

The lies and hypocrisy of Kevin Drum knows no bounds, folks.

Posted by: BigRiver on May 1, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

We COULD have a press corps like that.

We just don't.

Your media is too heavily corporate; too beholden to business interests.

A publically owned broadcaster is like a tenured academic - it has the security to ruffle feathers and/or publish unpopular truths.

PBS in the US seems just too underfunded, by comparison with the networks, to have any real impact.

Still, I suspect this state of affairs is no accident... :)

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

I hope some pompous reporter asks Tony Snow about that report.

Tony Snow will knock that softball out of the park: "Saddam Hussein was protecting Al Queda terrorists during 2002. Hussein needed to be taken out."

Posted by: Lodi Mosque on May 1, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Tony Snow will knock that softball out of the park: "Saddam Hussein was protecting Al Queda terrorists during 2002. Hussein needed to be taken out."

Good to see he'll continue the tradition of lying, then.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Read the fucking post BigRiver...Zarquai was in Northern Iraq, in the no-fly zone and not under the control of Hussein.

Moron.

Posted by: Global Citizen on May 1, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Scheuer is the Joe Wilson of this debacle.. some of his facts are disputable, but what he reveals is a window into the MO of the Bush administration. And people who continuously drag Clinton into this are intellectually lazy and childish (I know you are, but what am I)..Try defending Bush for once, not attacking Clinton. Clearly, 9-11 changed everything. It fundamentally shifted our focus in a way that no terrorist attack on American soil did (and I'm counting our embassies as American soil). If Bush wasn't focused on terrorism before 9-11, ok, he's a little slow on the draw, but for him to not seize the opportunities to take out key Al-Quaeda figures after 9-11 is wildly irresponsible.
Remember, as the movie Flight 93 reminds us, Al-Quaeda and OBL took down the Twin Towers in New York. 2,000 people are dead. Forget everything else - the fact that we haven't gotten the guy who ultimately led this movement is disgraceful. How can Bush sleep at night knowing this man is still on the loose?


Posted by: Andy on May 1, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

How can Bush sleep at night knowing this man is still on the loose?

My guess is whiskey.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Windhorse:

The links also showed that the common wisdom on the Left before the war in Iraq was that Zarqawi was not an important figure, a minor actor in the terrorist ranks back then, and that his presence in Iraq was not a big factor in the war on terror. I kind of figured you'd miss all that.

I'd like someone to find me one quote from any liberal back then, in 2003 before the war, demanding that military action be taken to attack the base in Kurdistan (the liberals rarely said "Iraq") and take Zarqawi out.

If it was such an obvious move, there should have been wide demand for it.

This is another one of those great "hindsight" controversies.

Posted by: tbrosz on May 1, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

The links also showed that the common wisdom on the Left before the war in Iraq was that Zarqawi was not an important figure, a minor actor in the terrorist ranks back then, and that his presence in Iraq was not a big factor in the war on terror.

Yeah - so nothing has changed AFAIC.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes at night the darkness and silence weighs upon me. Peace frightens me; perhaps I fear it most of all. I feel it is only a facade hiding the face of hell. ... We need to live in a state of suspended animation like a work of art, in a state of enchantment. We have to succeed in loving so greatly that we live outside of time, detached -- detached."
-- Steiner (Alain Cuny), from Federico Fellini's 1961 masterpiece La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 1, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

Tom ... umm ... at that time, Zarqawi was kinda one of them enemy of my enemy kinda dealies. We tolerated the Islamist groups in the no-fly zone, including Ansar al-Islam, because they were anti-Hussein.

It's not like Zarqawi was launching terrorist attacks on Our Friends the Kurds ...

We didn't *support* Zarqawi, but he was an anti-Hussein element and thus not seriously on our radar screen as a priority target.

Post-invasion conditions provided the opportunity he needed to transmogrify into the agent of anti-American chaos he is today ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes at night the darkness and silence weighs upon me. Peace frightens me; perhaps I fear it most of all. I feel it is only a facade hiding the face of hell. ...

Fantastic quote! Reminds me of this beauty:

In times of peace the warlike man attacks himself Nietzsche

Posted by: floopmeister on May 1, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz -- It is irrelevant whether or not Zarqawi was a household name--or even one known to many otherwise dilligent individuals, whether on the left or right. It is irrelevant that there was no public pressure to take him out.

If Collin Powell's public statements, and subsequent reports are to be believed, Zarqawi was known to be a very bad guy, and US intelligence and the military was expending considerable effort on him--enough to seriously consider and plan strikes.

Yet you suggest that the litmus test for action--or an excuse for inaction--is the amount of public pressure? That the administration gets a pass because there was no public pressure, based on information unavailable to the public because most of it was/is classified? Please. That is the most pathetic excuse I have heard to date.

Clue: It comes with the job in Washington. If they can't manage that, this administration is good for nothing. (But we already knew that.)

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like someone to find me one quote from any liberal back then, in 2003 before the war, demanding that military action be taken to attack the base in Kurdistan (the liberals rarely said "Iraq") and take Zarqawi out. - tbrosz

This is an example of standard conservative illogic. Liberals weren't clamoring for an attack on Zarqawi inside Iraq because liberals weren't clamoring for any attack on anyone in Iraq. We were against attacking Iraq. But given that Bush was clamoring for an invasion of Iraq, on the grounds that Iraq harbored terrorists (among other things), one would think that he would've been eager to attack the actual terrorists who were being harbored inside Iraq, when we knew where they were. Instead, in the case of Zarqawi, he ignored specific options the military presented him with to take the guy out - at the same time he was citing Zarqawi as one of the terrorists Iraq was harboring.

When liberals point this out now, it is to demonstrate that a. Bush wasn't seriously worried about the terrorists Iraq supposedly harbored, and that wasn't the reason for invading; and b. either Zarqawi isn't really as big a deal as Buscho says he is, or Bushco massively screwed up by ignoring the military's offers to take him out 3 years ago. We're saying Bush is a freaking incompetent moron who's so deep in his own deceptions that he no longer has any idea how to distinguish mendacity from truth, if he ever did.

Bush says: I is guarding Z, who is a killer, so we must invade I. Liberals say: if you're so worried about Z, why don't you kill him? You must not be so worried about him - so why do you REALLY want to invade I? Now you say: Oh, the liberals are hypocrites - they don't want to kill Z either! You make no sense.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

It means that this War was never political at all, the politics was
all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted ... secretly, it
was being dictated instead by the needs of technology ... by a
conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that
needed the energy-burst of war, crying, "Money be damned, the very
life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake," but meaning, more
likely, *dawn is nearly here, I need my night's blood, my funding,
funding, ahh more, more* .... The real crises were of allocation and
priority, not among firms -- it was only staged to look that way --
but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft,
and their needs which are understood only by the ruling elite ...

Yes but Technology only responds (how often this argument has been
iterated, dogged and humorless as a Gaussian reduction, among the
younger Schwarzkommando especially), "All very well to talk about
having a monster by the tail, but do you think we'd've had a Rocket
if someone, some specific someone with a name and a penis hadn't
*wanted* to chuck a ton of Amatol 300 miles and blow up a block full
of civilians? Go ahead, capitalize the T on technology, deify it if
it'll make you feel less responsible -- but it puts you in with the
neutered, brother, in with the eunuchs keeping the harem of our stolen
Earth for the numb and joyless hardons of human sultans, human elite
with no right at all to be where they are -- "

--Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow" p. 521, Viking edition

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

has407 & brooksfoe:

I actually think it's more complex than this. I think Zarqawi served a useful purpose in the no-fly zone.

Only when we needed to whip up a casus belli did his presence in Iraq become significant -- but I'd be willing to bet that prior to that, we considered him useful as an anti-Hussein agitator.

One thing that can be unequivocally said -- and Global Citizen pointed this out -- is that Hussein and Zarqari were enemies, not allies.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Let's make this a little more formal:

Let Z = the proposition we need to attack Zarqawi because he is a dangerous terrorist.

Let I = the proposition that we need to invade Iraq because Iraq harbors Zarqawi and other dangerous terrorists.

The liberal position is (Not Z and not I), which is consistent. Another consistent position would be (Z and I). But the Bush position was (I and not Z), which is not consistent.

Now you are saying that liberals can't point out the illogic of Bush's (not Z) because they also believe (not Z). But the point is the inconsistency of Bush's (I and not Z). Liberals believe (not I and not Z), which is consistent.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

One thing that can be unequivocally said -- and Global Citizen pointed this out -- is that Hussein and Zarqari were enemies, not allies.

But how can that be? They're both bad guys. :)

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

That's way too simplistic.

"In Iraq" is a uselessly broad category. Where in Iraq? Allied with what other forces?

If Zarqawi was out of Hussein's control, than his being there isn't relevant to an argument to invade Iraq.

Only if Zarqawi and Hussein were allies does your scenario parse -- and I don't believe they were.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

If Zarqawi was out of Hussein's control, than his being there isn't relevant to an argument to invade Iraq.

That it isn't actually relevant to the argument is immaterial to whether it was being used by the Bush admin to support the argument. I was under the impression that it was, as I've been hearing this controversy already for at least 2 years -- it seems to me it actually surfaced in the run-up to the war. But maybe I misremember; the catalogue of Bushco lies is so vast and hard to keep track of.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

But I think you may be misunderstand me: I was just responding to tbrosz's claim that liberals had no right to complain about the failure to take out Zarqawi because we weren't calling for taking out Zarqawi either. It's that claim that makes no sense.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1: I actually think it's more complex than this. I think Zarqawi served a useful purpose in the no-fly zone.

I agree it's more complex. Much more complex. Trying to get a handle on what was happening is like wrestling with jello. The activities of Ansar al-Islam, and their relationship to Zarqawi, Hussein, and Iran are often fuzzy, if not opaque or contradictory. E.g., while Ansar al-Islam appears to have an antagonistic relationship with Hussein, they never engaged Baathist forces, but they did attack other Kurds; they were apparently supported by Iran (helped carve out their enclave), but they also had a relationship with the Taleban, which Iran opposed. ...

The best I can figure is that the relationship between Ansar al-Islam and Hussein was antagonistic, but not to the point of violence--as long as each kept to their own, which they apparently did, in large part due to location. (Note: the enclave was not in a no-fly zone, but a pocket in a Kurdish-controlled area very close to the Iran border.)

Pure speculation, but it appears that Zarqawi was simply looking for a like-minded Islamic extremist group where he could hole up for a while, away from Hussein's control, and do whatever he felt he needed to do. Ansar al-Islam's ideology--"Kurdish Taleban" is an appropriate description--and the location of their enclave fit the bill nicely.

In short, I doubt Zarqawi served in any effective or useful way as an anti-Hussein actor, even if the relationship was antagonstic. From public statements before the war (e.g., Powell's), it appears that Zarqawi's primary utility for the administration was hyping the Hussein - al-Qaeda connection.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Truthfully, I might be misremembering this as well. I know that Ansar al-Islam was a jihadist group that may have had links to Hussein as a way to harrass the Kurds. If Zarqawi was part of that network, then I'm wrong -- he's a terrorist element in Iraq who's doing Saddam's bidding.

But the article says that Zarqawi had a house in Kurdistan and operated freely. That doesn't bepeak of a force designed to repress the natives ...

I'm really not sure here. All I'm suggesting is that prior to Powell's speech, Zarwawi's presence in Kurdistan could have been serving American ends -- or at least have been ambivalent enough to make a military strike of debatable strategic value.

Obviously, pinning the label terrorist mastermind on him and making him a centerpiece of the casus belli argument changes everything. But as Kevin's trying to argue, that may have been more a political decision with little to do with the true nature of Zarqawi's intentions in Iraq ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

p.s. I'd also note that the Ansar al-Islam enclave also allowed Zarqawi to establish himself with a base independent of bin Laden--and such locations were in short supply--which fits the "Zarqawi as competitor with bin Laden" model.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

p.s. One last point (and then good night): Besides location, Hussein leaving Ansar al-Islam alone makes sense as their primary fight was with other Kurds. That was surely a factor, in addition to location, for Zarqawi's selection. However, that would raise suspicion--wrongly--of a Hussein and Ansar al-Islam connection, and thus a Hussein-Zarqawi link.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

McAristotle: So Iraq was a nexus between terrorism and WMD?

No.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

has407: He spins things like a cheap Chinese top, doesn't he?

Posted by: Global Citizen on May 1, 2006 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

"Mike K,

Who was the target of Clinton's cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan & Sudan in 1998?

The strikes that GWB mocked.

Posted by: obscure "

Monica ?

I don't know and neither did he. The point is that he had a bead on him and wimped.

Why don't you read Bob Baer's books and see how Anthony Lake cancelled a possible Iraqi revolt in the north in the 1990s. The Iraqi generals facing the Kurds might have revolted and joined them to overthrown Saddam. Baer thought so. Lake chickened out and that reenforced Saddam's conviction that the US was a pussy. That conviction might have part of the reason he didn't think we'd invade in 2003.

I know you're trying to make Clinton a hawk but it just won't fly.

Posted by: Mike K on May 1, 2006 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

'BigRiver' posted:

"Now, Kevin Drum says Zarquari was IN IRAQ, protected by Saddam, during 2002."

No, Zarqawi was in Northern Iraq, under the protection of the American No Fly Zone, where Saddam and his forces could not travel.
.

Posted by: VJ on May 1, 2006 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

'Mike K' posted:

"The point is that he had a bead on him and wimped."

False.

The point is he launched cruise missiles where bin Laden was scheduled to be, and took out THIRTY-FIVE of his associates. If Pakistani intelligence had not tipped bin Laden, he would have been taken out as well.
.

Posted by: VJ on May 1, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Well for my 2c CIA intel was not held in such high regard post * doomsday * was it?
Combine that with the deciderator bein' all tied up with cooking up Yellowgate from around this time last 2002 and...

I dunno

But available data suggest's a fairly routine Hurrican Kat type SNAFU doesn't it?

Never suggest conspiracy if stupidity will cover it.

Don't forget around May 2003 either - command and control article by Sy Hersh comes out revealing yet more crass stupidity on a truly epic scale.

These folks are not criminal masterminds - they are criminally negligent fucking morons' and filthy thieves and just plain nut cases like Condi Rice.
They are the scum of the earth and they make our Zaq boy look like Jesus/Saladin/ Moses.

Death to Amerikkka!

Posted by: professor rat on May 1, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Oh year - if you go back through Raimondo's stuff and see what was going on. The push for war faltered as Blair decided to take legal advice and they had to suck a little Euro-dick to get the UN res.
So - busy, busy, busy!

Fix facts around the policy and set Saddam up to fail.

To busy to ' swat flies' and set hares running like that when your planning the greatest shockin' awful road show since WW2.

A deciderator can't be everywhere donchaknow.

Posted by: professor rat on May 1, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Lemme see Saudi Cells operated in US under Bush, and were known about by the Able Danger Program. And Bush Knew, but went on Vacation for a month, basically ignoring the PDB. Nevertheless the USAs Preznut is Bush, so These Terror cells operated in the US with Bush Knowledge. Correct?

Saddam, in an area outside of his control, that has been overflown for decades, by planes and sattelite photos, By US Sanctions.

Bush also KNEW about that as well.
Is Bush good for Security of America?
HELL NO!!

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 1, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

I have some questions for ' Max Headroom'

If he is not a Mushroom then what's he reckon about Robert Parry calling Bush a liar?

Over at Consortium news. Check it out there's a frikken list.

Bush lied - people died. A hell of lot more than a few thousand lousy stinking gringos.

Posted by: professor rat on May 1, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell's speech would have accomplished two things for Zarqawi:

1) It would have made him famous and boosted his prestige among al Qaeda-type terrorists.

2) It would have clued him it to the fact that it was not safe for him to hang out in that camp any longer.

If he really was as important and dangerous as Powell said he was, then Bush should have let the military get Zarqawi instead of making speeches about him.

The text of the Powell's speech can be found here: http://www.themoderntribune.com/colin_powell_un_february_5_2003_-_colin_powell_present_case_on_war_on_iraq_to_united_nations.htm

Also, be sure to read the Paltrow article in WSJ. (Google Zarqawi Paltrow).

Posted by: Will on May 1, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

I would suggest that two of the most significant features of stories like this are...

1) Trolls are out in force whenever 2002 and reason's for illegal aggressive war get mentioned.

2) The Reptilian fascist filth are now setting up the internet to fail as a) a nest of child molestors and b) a safe haven for terrorists

Coming from the crowd that are the arch- Narco terrorist's and the arch childmolestors that is more than predictable.

The net's slipped out of the swiftboaters hands so it must be contained. Bring in Manchurian Global - Cisco/MS/Yahoo and fence in the commons.

They mean nothing less than total world domination PNAC man style so we must ramp up our full spectrum resistance. We must demand unconditional surrender and take NO PRISONERS.

Just my 2c

Posted by: professor rat on May 1, 2006 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Sure are a lot of mindless partisans here. Do you people really enjoy bickering over which organized crime family should be running the country?

Posted by: Red on May 1, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

The articles of faith expressed in this comments section rival those of even the most zealous religiosity.

It is wonderous to see such a spectacle.

Posted by: Birkel on May 1, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Just watched the ABC 4 Corners report about al Zarqawi, for those interested it can be found here http://abc.net.au/4corners/default.htm
Watch it and make up your own minds.

Posted by: Ozidom on May 1, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Will. That Powell speech contains the reference to Zarqawi as Saddam protectee/sponsoree which I vaguely recalled having heard already before the invasion:

"Iraq and terrorism go back decades. Baghdad trains Palestine Liberation Front members in small arms and explosives. Saddam uses the Arab Liberation Front to funnel money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in order to prolong the intifada. And it's no secret that Saddam's own intelligence service was involved in dozens of attacks or attempted assassinations in the 1990s.

"But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organisations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbours a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants. "

So this, for tbrosz and anyone else who retains any interest, is why, if Bush had the option of taking Zarqawi out at the time and didn't, that would be evidence of hypocrisy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 1, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

So funny to see the Democrats now admit Al Queda was in Irap BEFORE the US invaded Iraq!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on May 1, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

So how do you think Clinton did? Jay 9:53 PM

Well, the World Trade Center was still standing when he left office....

Posted by: Stefan on May 1, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

So funny to see the Democrats now admit Al Queda was in Irap BEFORE the US invaded Iraq!

And funny that, apparently, the Republican response was not to get rid of Al Queda, but instead to bring even MORE AQ into Iraq!

Actually, that's not funny at all. It's really horrible. What's the body count, Kenneth?

Posted by: moderleft on May 1, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

We all agree, then: Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was vital. Anybody who harbors a terrorist like Al Zarquari is an enemy of the US.

Right, Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean?

Posted by: Moon Over Miami on May 1, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

moderleft nailed Frequency Kenneth!

Posted by: Colin on May 1, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

So this, for tbrosz and anyone else who retains any interest, is why, if Bush had the option of taking Zarqawi out at the time and didn't, that would be evidence of hypocrisy.

It isn't hypocrisy. It's a judgement that a different course of action was more likely to be effective. Of course, the judgement could be in error, as many have claimed, but it isn't hypocrisy.

Posted by: republicrat on May 1, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like someone to find me one quote from any [Republican] back then demanding that military action be taken to attack [Bin Laden in Sudan or Afghanistan].

Instead, they simply howled "Wag the Dog"

Posted by: ckelly on May 1, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

The articles of faith expressed in this comments section rival those of even the most zealous religiosity.
Posted by: Birkel

You are including yourself, right?

Posted by: ckelly on May 1, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter trolls:
It's OK because Clinton didn't kill bin Laden.
...
Of course, they conveniently leave out the fact that he did try, that it was before 9/11, and that their argument is a form of relativism which conservatives are not supposed to approve of.

This is at least as absurd as the quotes from Nietzsche, Fellini and Pynchon.

"It's ok", so to speak, because the Clinton examples show that an attack on Zarqawi (in mountains, don't forget) was unlikely to succeed unless the US invaded Iraq first.

Posted by: republicrat on May 1, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is involved in a conspiracy with Zarqawi.

Bush is involved in a conspiracy with bin Laden.

Bush was involved in a conspiracy with Saddam.

Posted by: Hostile on May 1, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

It is one more piece of evidence that shows how the anti-war left was amazingly accurate in its pre-war criticisms of the administration's case.

If you take all of the anti-war left's criticisms, then most of them turn out to have been false, and many contradicted many others. The anti-war left was in favor of ending the sanctions because the sanctions were killing thousands of innocent Iraqis every month -- at the same time asserting that the sanctions were "working".

Members of the anti-war left simultaneously asserted that Iraq had no chemical weapons and that the chemical weapons would be used effectively against American invaders, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties.

Posted by: republicrat on May 1, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

OTOH, Zarqawi was evidently dwelling in a much less dense area, where a miss a) would appear less likely on the grounds that Zarqawi--unlike Saddam--had fewer alternative dwellings, and b) would appear to have been less costly in innocent life.

Zarqawi was living in mountainous terrain where airstrikes were even less likely to be successful.

Posted by: republicrat on May 1, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: Why don't you read Bob Baer's books and see how...

I know enough about you, Mike, like for example your admiration for fellow wing-nut author Laurie Mylroie--a complete basketcase--to know that it's unlikely I'll be taking many reading suggestions from you anytime soon.

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Zarqawi was living in mountainous terrain where airstrikes were even less likely to be successful.

republicrat, you are shameless. What is your expertise in these matters? Pony up some credentials, PDQ, what do you say?

You see, the CIA and the US military evidently disagreed with you. Do you think they would have offered the target if they didn't believe they could hit it?

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Thank god it isn't me defending the worst administration in US history.

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

This still begs the question, how did Zarqawi get to Iraqi Kurdistan? The region in question, Howraman, sits along the Iranian border. I visited this area in March, it's very remote, and the likelihood of support from Baghdad (which would have needed to pass through Kurdish territory) is remote.

But this does make one wonder about the Iranians, especially considering that many of the fighters in Ansar were Afghan, and the time period in question (2002) was right after the fall of the Taliban.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin on May 1, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The priceless performance of Stephen Colbert the other night at the Correspondent's dinner represented, to my mind, an important moment in our democracy (as overblown as that sounds).

He showed to the press and to the powers that be what it means to be confronted with unpleasant truths. What was beautiful about his performance was that he managed to get through long periods of great discomfort caused in his audience without the slightest pertubation in his delivery or in his content. He simply plowed on, relentlessly.

I read the transcript and was blown away. Your post inspires me to watch the delivery as well.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, airstrikes WERE EFFECTIVE. When we eventually dislodged Ansar in 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq war, the matter was settled in a few days with US airstrikes and a push on the ground by Kurdish peshmerga.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin on May 1, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Since we're happy to support the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq , who are terrorists and really have nothing in common with us except an opposition to Iran, is it possible that we thought that Zarqawi might be useful to us later?

Posted by: thump on May 1, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

obscure: Thank god it isn't me defending the worst administration in US history.

This makes me think about what Republicans I know have to say about the Bush administration's handling of...well, everything. Some will make a few half-hearted defensive gestures, followed by a "But Clinton..." Others change the subject rapidly. Still others won't even look you in the eye, even when they're the ones bringing up the topic of Bush's criminality and utter ineptitude. But no one has the nerve to attempt the outlandish "arguments" our Bush devotees espouse here.

So does anyone here know any Bush defenders in real life* who act like the moronic trolls on this blog? Would anyone have the nerve to stand up at the water cooler, or on the bus, or at a party and actually spew this much idiocy?

*Tom Brosz doesn't count; he'd say the same stuff IRL, if he ever talked to anyone IRL.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Google "No terrorists in Iraq" and you will see all kinds of quotes from Democrats claiming there were no terrorists in Iraq until we invaded.

Wesley Clark, Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Cordesman, and of course, nutjob blogger KOS. Just for starters. No end of pointy headed intellectuals telling us there were no terrorists in Iraq.


HA!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on May 1, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Now that tbrosz has learnt so much from me and has become his own parody, you will not be hearing from me.

Posted by: tbrosz on May 1, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth said: So funny to see the Democrats now admit Al Queda was in Irap BEFORE the US invaded Iraq!

Moon Over Miami said: We all agree, then: Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was vital. Anybody who harbors a terrorist like Al Zarquari is an enemy of the US.

Please try to get your head around this: Saddam didn't have control all of Iraq before the war and in 2002. The US enforced a No-Fly zone in Northern Iraq. Colin Powell described the location of Zarqawi's camp as "outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq". If anyone was "harboring" Zarqawi, it was the Kurds, not Saddam!

Of course, that didn't stop the administration from using Zarqawi to justify starting a war, giving him a big PR boost and letting him escape in the process.

Posted by: Will on May 1, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's true, shortstop. The loyalists here represent a rarified community not often encountered in real-life, face-to-face situations. It's downright depressing to imagine having these debates in the flesh...

BTW, who is Stephen Colbert?

*Note to republicrat, Frequency & Birkel: When it comes to the essence of mediocrity, you guys are tops!

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat -- While the efficacy of a standoff strike is debatable, the primary question is timing. (Also the Zarqawi situation was very different from bin Laden in Afghanistan--the Ansar al-Islam enclave was surrounded by friendly forces with a back door on Iran; movement would be constrained and we would have much better intel.)

In any case, when we finally did attack the Ansar al-Islam enclave on March 22 2003, it was with cruise missles; somewhere between 40-70, depending on which report you read. That was also reportedly done in conjunction with PUK ground forces; no coallition forces participated (or at least none were reported). There may also have been direct air strikes, but I haven't seen reports of such.

If the administration had said "we felt we needed boots on the ground to ensure success", and had then done so, it might make sense. But that's not what happened. What happened looks even more half-assed than Tora Bora, and most of the bad guys appear to have escaped.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oooh! Oooh!

I just remembered what I've always wanted to ask shortstop:

(Sorry, this is OT) Who is your favorite shortstop of all time????

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jonathan Dworkin -- Good to hear from you again.

Iranian artillery reportedly supported Ansar al-Islam when they first carved out their enclave. Also, most of the fighters were reported to have escaped to Iran when we attacked the enclave in March 2003, and were disarmed by Iran, but not held; that attack destroyed their base and the training camp, but appears to have accomplished little else.

The best I can tell, given antagonism between the Taleban and Iran, Iranian support was of the enemy-of-my-enemy (Hussein) variety. Whether Iran has since supported them, or been able to exercise any control over them, is an open question.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

...."Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp...experimenting with ricin and anthrax...any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."

Others believe it was because Zarqawi was politically convenient: having him alive allowed Bush to pretend that Saddam was "harboring terrorists," thus providing useful ammunition for the war.

Doesnt having a terrorist training allow Bush to NOT that Saddam was "harboring terrorists?

Posted by: dennisBoz on May 1, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

obscure: Ozzie Smith! There are so many great ones, though...have to put Ripken and Aparicio and Rodriguez up there among my favorites, and of course I have a very soft spot for Ernie Banks. I can't include Jeter even though I admire him greatly, because of my sworn vendetta against all Yankees (which sometimes I bend a little for Matsui).

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. Before someone lambastes me, I never think of Rodriguez as a true Yankee. Now let the bashing from Red Sox people begin!

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

'Moon Over Miami' posted:

"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was vital. Anybody who harbors a terrorist like Al Zarquari is an enemy of the US."

How could Hussein possibly have been harboring Zarqawi, if he was located in an area of the country that was protected by the American No Fly Zone and Hussein and his forces could not travel there ?

Hussein was never a threat and the invention of imaginary threats was the basis of the illegal invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq.
.

Posted by: VJ on May 1, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Just for poops and grins, I took Frequency Kenneth's dare and Googled the phrase "no terrorists in Iraq." What I got was a bunch of right-wingers saying that Democrats had said there were no terrorists Iraq, yet very few Democrats actually saying there were no terrorists in Iraq.

Just another example of Rove's tried-'n'-true If I Say It Enough, It Becomes True strategy, I guess.

Posted by: Doug on May 1, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

"So how do you think Clinton did?"

Pretty good, actually. He didn't invade Iraq on fale pretenses. He was aware of UBL and didn't take a month off to cut brush while intelligence reported on UBL's plans to attack within the United States. He didn't ignore what previous administrations knew, and did, and planned on national security.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 1, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"The statements, decisions and actions of this administration suggest the primary focus has been, and remains, the state, not individuals and organizations."

That's a whopper. This administration's only rejoinder to war critics has been "You wish Saddam were still in power."

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 1, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"We COULD have a press corps like that.

We just don't."

Robert Reich came to speak last night in a teeny little town near where I live. (He has moved to NoCal--yeah!) He was phenomenal, and if you ever get the chance to hear him, jump at it. One of the questions from the audience was why the media gave Bush such slack.

I found his answer interesting. The media, he said, has ALWAYS been timid. It follows, not leads, public opinion. For all the corporate reasons we claim, but also for the simple reason that they want people to buy their product.

The answer, according to Reich, is that citizens have to get informed and hold government's feet to the fire. Media will respond, and we're already seeing that start to happen.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 1, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

The press visited this camp a few days after the story originally became public (Powell talked about it at the UN). The camp had dirt floors along with no electricity or running water. It's extremely doubtful that chemical weapons testing was going on there. We bombed the camp anyway during the early part of the war, and soil samples showed no ricin or other chemical weapons in the area. Scheuer's story is very suspect.

Posted by: Monkey on May 1, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal: That's a whopper.

Good point. I should probably have left it at "state actors".

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

professor rat wrote:

Death to Amerikkka!

Hey prof, do you live in Minneapolis? I saw that written on a bathroom stall in the Metrodome.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on May 1, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I can't include Jeter even though I admire him greatly, because of my sworn vendetta against all Yankees

Well, shortstop, that's 2 things we agree on.

Politics. Yankees.

(Probably sex too, but who's counting?)

Posted by: obscure on May 1, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

obscure: Probably. I'm generally for it, if that's what you mean.

Posted by: shortstop on May 1, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

McAristotle: So Iraq was a nexus between terrorism and WMD?

No.

Posted by: has407 on May 1, 2006 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

has407: He spins things like a cheap Chinese top, doesn't he?

Posted by: Global Citizen on May 1, 2006 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

If as you postulate, he had information of a sufficient quality to make the airstrike a sure thing. He would have information to confirm Zarqawi was experimenting with chemicals in Iraq.
If this is the case, then Iraq was a nextus between WMD and terror as described.

Bush was right. Nyah, nyah nyah! You people are traitors.

As to the suggestion that the Kurds who are US allies controlled the area Ansar Al Islam was based in, the Kurds are still around and they can tell you if Ansar Al Islam was their turf. However, I remember Ansar Al Islam not really getting along with the PUK.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3192721.stm

"Militants 'kill Kurd police chief'"

Posted by: McA on May 2, 2006 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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