<blockquote>We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. - <a href=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010911-16.html>George W. Bush, 9/11/2001</a></blockquote> Such were Chimpy's words on 9/11, 5 years ago. This doctrine led us to the invasion of Iraq which, given information contained in the Senate Intelligence Committee's Phase II Report, did not qualify for inclusion under this doctrine. The report indicates that Chimpy and Co attacked Iraq, a nation haveing no operational ties to Al Qaeda, but was ulimately hostile towards Al Qaeda. <blockquote>Detainee informationfrom high-ranking al-Qa'ida officials and associates suggests there was intense debate within the al Qa'ida leadership in Afghanistan over the risks and benefits of working with Baghdad, and that <b>bin Laden was generally opposed to collaboration</b>. - Phase II Report, pg 65 (<i>emphasis mine</i>)</blockquote> <blockquote>According to Tariq Aziz, "Saddam only expressed negative sentiments about bin Laden." Aziz told the FBI that "when the Taliban was in power, the Iraq governemnt deliberately avoided opening an embassy in Kabul." Aziz underscored Saddam's distrust of Islamic extremists like bin Laden, stating that when the Iraqi regime started to see evidence that Wahabists had come to Iraq, "The Iraqi regime issued a decree aggressively outlawing Wahabism in Iraq and threatening offenders with execution." - Phase II Report, pg 67</blockquote> <blockquote>Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qaida to provide material or operational support. Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qaida in particular Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qaida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. - Phase II Report, pg 105</blockquote> As for the Administration claims, lately reinforced by Condi Rice and Dick Cheney, regarding ties between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, they have been shown to be equally false. <blockquote>Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi. - Phase II Report, pg 109</blockquote> Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, al-Zarqawi was not member of Al Qaeda, but rather, he and his organization, Ansar al Islam, were part of a loose affiliation with Al Qaeda. And at the time of his death he was becoming a thorn in the side of al Qaeda because of his maverick actions which often interfered with the goals of Al Qaeda leadership. Conflation and fabrication have been the hallmark of the Bush administration since before the invasion of Iraq. Now that the tide of public sentiment has turned against Bush administration policy in Iraq, they are employing these tools with greater ferocity than ever. They see their grip on power, and the fear they have used to maintain it, slipping and their desperation is obvious. And, of course, there is their fear of Democrats with subpoena powers. Their speeches over the last week, including including Chimpy's Monday night, is merely the same old turd they've been trying to polish since the invasion of Iraq. Conflate...Fabricate...Belittle their critics as unAmerican or unpatriotic. Some things never chage, even when they need to.