Wednesday, June 16, 2004

There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any connection to al-Qaeda

Why you're right:

1. Bush weapons inspector David Kay says there is no evidence. David Kay was on the ground for months investigating the activities of Hussein's regime. He concluded "But we simply did not find any evidence of extensive links with Al Qaeda, or for that matter any real links at all." He called a speech where Cheney made the claim there was a link "evidence free." (Boston Globe)

2. The 9/11 Commission says there is no evidence. The staff report of the 9/11 commission concluded that there was "no credible evidence" that Hussein and al-Qaeda were collaborating. According to the commission, Bin Laden was hostile to Hussein's secular government and Hussein never responded to requests for help in providing training camps or supplies. (9-11 Commission)

3. Colin Powell says there is no evidence. In January, Colin Powell said there was no "concrete evidence" of a connection between Hussein and al-Qaeda. (MSNBC)

4. The U.N. says there is no evidence. Michael Chandler, The chairman of the Security Council group monitoring sanctions against al-Qaeda said there was "no evidence of a link between the terrorist organization and the former Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein." (U.N. Wire)

Why they're wrong:

1. Cheney and Bush point to the presence of the terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi within Iraq. But this is only half an argument. It's like saying that the United States collaborated with al-Qaeda because there were al-Qaeda operatives within the United States before 9-11. For Zarqawi's presence to be meaningful there would have to be evidence that he was collaborating with the Iraqi government. But CIA director George Tenet has said definitively that there was no operational direction or control of Zarqawi by the Iraqi government. In fact, there is scant evidence that Zarqawi was directly connected to al-Qaeda. (Charleston Post and Courier, ABC News)

2. Cheney cites as the "best evidence" of a Hussein/al-Qaeda connection a Weekly Standard article by Steven Hayes. The conclusions of that article were completely discredited by the department of defense. (Rocky Mountain News, Department of Defense)

A Better Idea:

Bush and Cheney should stick to the facts and stop repeating false claims until people start to believe them.