Friday, September 8

Iraq vs. Al-Qaida

Evidence of Absence: Today's Papers
By Justin Peters, SLATE, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006

The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times lead and the Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide news box with news of a Senate Intelligence Committee report which partially concludes that, far from colluding with al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein actively shunned the organization. The report also claims that Iraqi exiles knowingly gave false information to America regarding Iraq's prewar weapons capability in attempts to influence the invasion decision.

Drawing heavily upon a recently declassified CIA intelligence assessment, the report found that Iraq "did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward [Abu Musab al-]Zarqawi and his associates." At one point, Hussein even tried to arrest Zarqawi. Directly contradicting several statements made by administration officials as justification for the war, the report concludes with a jab at Donald Rumsfeld: "There comes a point where the absence of evidence does indeed become the evidence of absence." Three chapters of the report, which concern the Bush administration's use of intelligence in the war run-up, are yet to be released.

(the intelligence committee report finding that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, that Saddam Hussein forbade dealings with al-Qaida and twice rebuffed meetings with the group, and that he tried to capture Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—all contrary to administration claims)