"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Fanatical, Corrupt, Incompetent - Choose Any Three 

Twice before (here and here), I have mentioned the incredible story NBC ran last March detailing how American forces had Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in their sights back in 2002, but let him live on direct orders from Washington in order to strengthen the case for war against Iraq. Since then, of course, al Zarqawi has been implicated in the deaths of dozens of Americans and at least hundreds of Iraqis - including, most recently, the gangland style execution of dozens of Iraqi cadets.

But then again, NBC is an instrument of the liberal media.

What, then, to make of today's story from the somewhat-less-liberal Wall Street Journal (currently free at the Journal's site, and also available at the Agonist):
As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.

The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. They said the camp, near the town of Khurmal, was known to contain Mr. Zarqawi and his supporters as well as al Qaeda fighters, all of whom had fled from Afghanistan. Intelligence indicated the camp was training recruits and making poisons for attacks against the West.

Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.

The Journal goes on to parrot the Junta's stated excuse for its failure to deal with al Zarqawi in 2002:
Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.

A cursory reading of the article, however, makes clear that this is a bunch of hooey. Al Zarqawi was vulnerable, and almost certainly could have been taken out. Chimpy wanted him there, because he represented a known terrorist in Iraq. Of course, he was in Kurdish Iraq (which is why American commanders could have attacked him even before the invasion), and completely outside of Saddam Hussein's sphere of influence. But that part of the story was far too complicated for our chickenshit media to wrap its collective mind around, so the simple lie was substituted for the complicated truth - a terrorist with "links to al Qaeda" was known to be in Iraq. Therefore, we had no choice but to invade. Well, no; we did have a choice. We could have killed al Zarqawi, and saved hundreds or even thousands of lives.

Defeat Bush? Screw that - prosecute Bush.




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