It seems that everyone knows this now except for our president and vice president. They continue to suggest (and, in Cheney’s case, outright state) that there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
I guess I could’ve titled this post, “What is Old is New Again.” (I originally posted the above paragraphs back in 2007.) One of my commenters has made a full throated defense of our invasion of Iraq. I think that everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Everybody is not entitled to their own facts. We did not invade Iraq based on Saddam Hussein’s violations of UN sanctions. The American people would not invade a sovereign country based on Saddam Hussein playing hide and seek with UN weapons inspectors. Nor did we invade Iraq based on some continuum of the first Gulf War – going back to complete the mission. The Bush administration knew that the American people wouldn’t buy this. Yes, Saddam Hussein did fire at our jets patrolling the no-fly zones both in the north and the south. The Bush administration tried to make a lot out of this but the American people were not moved. They needed more. The Bush administration knew that the American people would defend themselves if we were directly threatened. Therefore, this is exactly what the Bush administration cooked up – a direct threat. They looked for not one thing but a combination of things that would frighten the American people into action.
The Bush administration came up with a unique combination of threats to attack the American psyche. Probably the most creative was the bombshell that Cheney dropped on Tim Russert. It was the connection between 9/11 hijacker and Iraqi government and a fictitious meeting in Prague. We can’t forget the aluminum tubes. These “proved” beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein was trying to build nuclear weapons. These aluminum tubes “could not be used for anything else” but for centrifuges used to concentrate uranium. Tony Blair (former British Prime Minister) was a great help when he talked about mobile biological labs which could strike England with less than 30 minutes’ notice. (We can thank Curveball for this.) Don’t forget the Yellowcake from Niger. These are the reasons that were sold to the American people. Whether there are other reasons, like protecting our oil supply and/or stabilizing the Middle East, those were minor reasons. The major reasons that were put forth by the Bush administration are listed above.
All of these reasons fell apart and were found to be untrue. To rewrite history and say that Saddam Hussein had links to terrorists and that’s why we went to war is simply not true. We, the American People, didn’t care that he had links to terrorists. Instead, what the Bush administration sold to the American people was that Saddam Hussein had specific links to Al Qaeda. There was a report that was commissioned by the Department of Defense which looked at thousands of Iraqi documents and found some minor communications between Saddam Hussein and some terrorist organizations. Saddam Hussein was not a state sponsor of terrorism. At least not in 2003 when we invaded. Finally, it should be restated that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the United States or any of our major interests throughout the world.