John Murtha's "Demonstrably False" Comment About the Links Between Saddam and Al Qaeda
"Iraq and terrorism had nothing to do with one another. Zero." (A Kerry presidential campaign spokesman in 2004)
Iraq's connections to terrorism are 'fictive" (a Washington Post columnist)
Speaking about comments like the one above, an expert on Iraq and terrorism said they are "demonstrably false." That expert, Stephen F. Hayes, a Senior Writer for The Weekly Standard, authored The Connection: How al Qaeda's collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America.
On the Internet, the best source of information about Saddam's close links with terrorists is Mark Eichenlaub's web site: www.regimeofterror.com. Mark's a freelance journalist, a history teacher, and graduate of Eastern Illinois University. With his relentless gathering of information, Mark is performing a major public service. He is an important figure in what I've called "The Warrior Nation," which refers to Americans doing great work for their country and way-of-life.
If you want an easy -- but highly informative -- read about Saddam's connections with al Qaeda, get a copy of Imprimis (see below), a publication of Hillsdale College, which printed Stephen Hayes speech called "Saddam's Iraq and Islamic Terrorism: What We Know Now." (Go to www.hillsdale.edu to order your own copy of the speech.)
In the Mainstream Media (MSM), what you'll hear about Iraq and terrorism will resemble the absurd comments of John Murtha, who either knows nothing about the subject or is being disingenuous. Apparently, people like Murtha and Kerry long ago "went over to the other side" and have no willingness to conduct a vigorous defense of the U.S. against terrorism. They don't want to know about Saddam's continuing support of terrorist murderers because it would undermine everything they've said about the Iraq War. As I said previously, they're sleeping with the enemy, and from all appearances they're sleeping soundly -- peacefully.
In Stephen Hayes's speech, he talks about the long-ago investigation into the terrorist rocket attack on the famous al Rashid Hotel, where Hayes was a guest. He says, "Everywhere investigators looked, they turned up evidence that pointed to a collaborative effort between Saddam loyalists and Islamic fundamentalists affiliated with al Qaeda. It was the kind of cooperation -- between secularists and Islamic radicals -- that the U.S. intelligence community had long assured us would never happen [and that Murtha and MSM mistakenly believe has not happened].
Hayes adds, "And yet it did [happen]. Again and again and again. And it is still happening throughout Iraq today." It happened in the 1990s, and it is occurring with greater intensity in the 21st century.
That isn't what you're hearing from Murtha, Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Keith Olberman, Richard Ware, Anderson Cooper and the rest of the group that blames George W. Bush for all the world's known problems. They don't want people like Stephen Hayes and Mark Eichenlaub to confuse them with the facts. Five-and-a-half years after 9/11, Bush-haters would prefer that you believe the War on Terror is a mirage. They also want you to believe that Saddam, bad as he was, was a force for peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East. They are terribly, disastrously wrong.
What's the evidence of Saddam's participation in terrorist activities?
First, Saddam's regime had long provided refuge to some of the most murderous terrorists in the Middle East, including Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal.
Second, Saddam's regime provided cash payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers killing innocent Israelis and Westerners.
Third, Saddam's government, working through an ambassador named Hisham Hussein provided funding to a Phillilippine subsidiary of al Qaeda known as Abu Sayef, which carried out terrorist attacks against Filipinos and Americans in that country. The Immigration Commissioner in the Philippines said Hisham had "an established network" of terrorists in that country. A fax from the Iraqi Embassy in the Philippines to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry confirms that Iraq provided weapons to Abu Sayef.
Fourth, a major figure in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was Abdul Rahman Yasin, who had come to the U.S. from Iraq six months before the attack at the WTC. Iraq helped Yasin exit the U.S. and financed him -- and the government employed him -- throughout the 1990s. Yasin apparently was a skilled bomb-maker, and Iraqi financial records confirm that the government paid him for many years.
Fifth, Saddam -- as we know from the many captured documents associated with his fall -- had a senior Iraqi intelligence officer meet in 1995 with Osama bin Laden. As Hayes indicates, "After the meeting, Saddam Hussein agreed to broadcast al Qaeda propaganda on Iraqi government-run television and to the let the relationship develop . . . ."
Sixth, Saddam allowed a bin Laden confidante to visit Baghdad in 1998. The man stayed in the Iraqi capital for two weeks at government expense
Seventh, shortly after the fall of Saddam the U.S. government found a blueprint for what became the terror-intensive insurgency. In the words of Paul Bremer, "The document . . . listed orders for . . . a strategy of organized resistance, which included the classic pattern of forming cells and training combatants in insurgency. 'Operatives' were to engage in 'sabotage and looting.' Random sniper attacks and ambushes were to be organized. The order continued 'Scatter agents in every town. Destroy electric power stations and water conduits. Infiltrate the mosques, the Shiite holy place.'"
Eighth, another finding was described by Bush Administration critic David Durford: ". . . One document that we found . . . was a list of jihadists . . . coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia before the war." The jihadist material indicated that "hundreds and hundreds" of fighters were coming into Iraq from Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and elsewhere.
Ninth, the Iraqi Perspective Project, a major Pentagon effort pointed out that the Saddam Fedayeen, one of many domestic Iraqi terrorist groups, trained more than 7,200 would-be terrorists in its first year, 1994.
Tenth, also in the Iraqi Perspective Project, we read the following: "The Saddam Fedayeen also took part in the regime's domestic terrorism operations and planned for attacks throughout the Middle East. In a document dated May, 1999, Saddam's older son, Uday, ordered preparations for 'special operations, assassinations, and bombing, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran, and the self-ruled areas [Kurdistan].' Preparations for Blessed July,' a regime-directed wave of 'martrydom' operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."
I haven't talked about Saddam's botched effort to assassinated the first President Bush, his tolerance of al Qaeda-like Ansar al Islam, and many other examples of terrorism under the leadership of the Butcher of Baghdad.
The Murthas and Russerts of the world are just plain wrong about Iraq's links to terrorism in general and al Qaeda in particular. Since the points I've made can't come as revelations to them, what exactly is their agenda? It certainly isn't the defense of the West, including America.
I've relied heavily on Stephen Hayes's work in this piece. Paraphrases and quotes are reprinted by permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu. I have been an ally of this college for nearly 40 years, and I revere the pro-American, pro-Christian work they do in serving as a model for American higher education.
Publications (print or online) are free to re-publish this article without compensation. Just mention Stephen R. Maoney and reference Campaign2008.