If there’s one thing the Bush Administration has demonstrated, it’s the difficulty of proving a negative.
It took a number of months after the invasion of weapons inspectors crawling all over Iraq to show that Saddam Hussein did not, in fact, have weapons of mass destruction. And it’s time to chalk up another victory for completeness.
A good portion of those 935 false statements uttered by administration officials in the run-up to the invasion had to do with claims of Iraq ties to Al Qaeda. That was, in part, thanks to the intelligence shenanigans of Doug Feith at the Pentagon, but of course it was an administration-wide mentality. Which explains that even after the 9/11 Commission found that there was no significant relationship, they kept on pleading the point.
Well, I think it’s time to finally consider this negative proven:
An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.
So what’s next?