Saddam's terrorist ties By DEROY MURDOCK Scripps Howard News Service 07-OCT-04 NEW YORK -- To hear Iraq war critics claim Saddam Hussein lacked terror ties is to stand on a beach and listen to people deny the existence of sand. Now John Kerry strolls by in his flip-flops, chanting the no-such-thing-as-sand mantra. "Iraq is now what it was not before the war: a haven for terrorists," Kerry told Philadelphia voters Sept. 24. Kerry stated at the Sept. 30 presidential debate: "Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it." Kerry's current position contradicts at least 15 key Democrats, Democratic-led federal agencies and Establishment-Left media organizations that _ at least until this election year _ believed the inescapable truth: Saddam did have ties to terrorists, including al Qaeda. If the Democratic nominee wishes to correct his recent, erroneous remarks, he ought to study the words of a Massachusetts senator named ... John Forbes Kerry. _ Kerry discussed "terrorist organizations" at an Aug. 1, 1996, Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. He said, "These entities survive with country support, the support of the country of Syria, or country of Libya, or country of Iran, Iraq and so forth." _ "He (Saddam) is and has acted like a terrorist, and he has engaged in activities that are unacceptable," Kerry said Dec. 11, 2001, on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor." _ "I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally," even beyond Afghanistan, Kerry said Dec. 14, 2001, on CNN. "And it is absolutely vital that we continue (to pressure), for instance, Saddam Hussein." _ Just before authorizing the Iraq war on Oct. 9, 2002, Kerry referred to Saddam on the Senate floor: "He has supported and harbored terrorist groups, particularly radical Palestinian groups such as Abu Nidal, and he has given money to families of suicide murderers in Israel." If the new John Kerry finds the old John Kerry unpersuasive, the former should consult Stephen Hayes' indispensable best seller, "The Connection." This guided tour of Baathism's terrorism factory teems with Democratic and liberal voices that tie Saddam to militant Islam. Several appear below. Many more are at www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock200410071005.asp. _ President Bill Clinton addressed the nation on June 24, 1993. He said: "(T)here is compelling evidence that there was, in fact, a plot to assassinate former President Bush; and that this plot, which included the use of a powerful bomb made in Iraq, was directed and pursued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service." Clinton then lobbed 23 Tomahawk cruise missiles on IIS headquarters. "Therefore, we directed our action against the facility associated with Iraq's support of terrorism," he added. _ In spring 1998, the Clinton Justice Department indicted Osama bin Laden. As his indictment read, "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq." _ On June 2, 2002, CBS' "60 Minutes" aired Lesley Stahl's interview with Abdul Rahman Yasin, the al Qaeda murderer who the Justice Department indicted for preparing the bomb that exploded beneath One World Trade Center in February 1993. "The majority of the people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews," Yasin said, explaining why he and his comrades targeted the building. Stahl interviewed Yasin in Baghdad, where he fled after the blast, which killed six individuals and wounded 1,042. He reportedly enjoyed state-funded housing and a salary. _ New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton declared on the Senate floor Oct. 10, 2002, that Saddam gave "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members." _ That same day, North Carolina Democrat John Edwards _ who crowed in Tuesday's vice-presidential debate that Saddam's ties to al Qaeda were "tenuous, at best" _ told the Senate, "Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace ... he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons ... he has supported terrorists ..." _ The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9/11 Commission concluded that Saddam's regime and al Qaeda were, in fact, in communication. However, both documents deny a formal, Saddam-bin Laden treaty-type alliance. Kerry has run from all this and much more, including his own words. Once again, he reveals himself as an opportunist who tailors his views, even on Saddam's philanthropy of terror, to fit his political ends. (New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.) The best tools to use against Kerry and Edwards on Saddam and Iraq are their own words. Bush and Cheney should become more adept at this as the campaign charges towards the finish line.