Osama ? Saddam?

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The Bush administration's attempt to justify an invasion of Iraq by tying Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda is so transparently desperate that the advocates of war would be better off not even trying. Yesterday, for instance, Secretary of State Colin Powell asserted that Osama bin Laden's latest message to his followers demonstrates his alliance with Saddam.

"He speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq," Powell told the Senate Budget Committee. "This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored." State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the tape showed "that bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seem to find common ground."

But according to the tape, this "common ground" was created by the United States. "This crusader war is mainly targeting Muslims, regardless of Saddam and the socialist party," bin Laden (assuming it really is him) says. "The fighting should be in the name of God only, not in the name of national ideologies, nor to seek victory for the ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq. All Muslims have to begin jihad against this unjust war."

In other words, the threat of war forces bin Laden's Islamist followers to make common cause with a secular dictatorship they despise. The "partnership" that Powell cites to justify war is a product of the plans for war. The fact that Powell is resorting to such circular logic at this late stage suggests that the case for this war as an act of self-defense is as wobbly as ever.

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  1. Bad decisions keep begetting more bad decisions. I don’t see any way out of this.

  2. Right on, S!

    As little use as I have for the UN, I’m glad their inspectors are in there instead of U.S. government employees. I have no doubt that, if the U.S. was directly running the inspection effort, they would “find” whatever proof they needed, just as the Philly cops always seemed to find the evidence (even if they have to plant it in your trunk themselves). Or maybe the LAPD ramparts division is the better analogy.

    In any case, after the U.S. goes in, I’m sure they’ll “discover” whatever evidence they need to prove to the American public that the war happened just in the nick of time. If the U.S. jackboots aren’t up to the task of fabricating the evidence (which is doubtful, considering COINTELPRO), the Mossad can take care of it. They’ve been in the business of fabricating enemy documents for propaganda purposes for a long time.

  3. This is Osama saying “Saddam, dude, don’t bogart that ricin”.

  4. Re: “this ‘common ground’ was created by the United States.” Thank you.

    And unfortunately, it may just be the tip of the ice berg of what’s to come.

  5. Even as someone who supports getting rid of Saddam Hussein, I think that the administration has to stop reaching for this link to Osama Bin Laden unless they can put some real credibility behind it. It’s making us look desperate to the rest of the world, and isn’t going to change anyone’s mind at this point. No amount of evidence will be good enough for Germany and France. If Bush is trying to shore up support at home, I hope his opinion of the public isn’t so low that he thinks we’re dumb enough to buy such a weak argument.

  6. Oh, well that just clears everything up, doesn’t it? Either A) this is proof of an alliance between Saddam and Bin Ladin, there is an immediate danger of Iraqi WMDs being passed to international terrorists, and this proves the need to wage war against Iraq, or B) this is proof that our actions are causing a fusion among would-be enemies, our war plans are a god send for Osama, invading Iraq will greatly increase terrorism, and this proves that the Iraq war is a dangerous distraction from the real War on Terror.

    Glad that’s settled.

  7. Perhaps we need our man in Baghdad to “find” some plans for a nuclear reactor. Never mind that they look suspiciously like a vacuum cleaner.

  8. I wonder what Joe’s point is?

    I don’t know if we have much absolute proof of anything, but I’d say the evidence tilts a hell of a lot closer to B). About the most that this tape does to back the Administration’s position is that it *may* demonstrate that Osama doesn’t hate Saddam *as much* as he hates us. Big surprise. But it surely doesn’t show that they have been or are currently in cahoots, and it seems to actually reinforce the belief that many of us have had they wouldn’t be likely to be in the future either–left alone, that is.

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