Wednesday, June 14, 2006

# Posted 7:48 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SO WHAT WAS ZARQAWI UP TO BEFORE THE INVASION OF IRAQ? In his editorial on Zarqawi's death, Bill Kristol writes that:
It is also...time to revisit the case for the war. Zarqawi is a perfect reminder of why we had to fight in Iraq. Would we be safer if he were living there, under Saddam's protection, securely planning attacks around the world and working on his chemical and biological weapons projects?
To some, that would sound dangerously like a suggestion that there were WMD in Iraq. For a precise understanding of Kristol's point, one must turn to the latest article in the Standard from Stephen Hayes, who has argued at length that Americans continue to ignore evidence of important connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

In his latest, Hayes writes that:
Many journalists either don't know or choose not to report the fact that Zarqawi was in Baghdad with two dozen al Qaeda associates nearly a year before the war.

It is a fact not seriously in dispute: Colin Powell cited it in his presentation at the United Nations before the war; the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed it in its bipartisan review of Iraq war intelligence; General Tommy Franks noted in his book about the Iraq war that Zarqawi "had received medical treatment in Baghdad"; and the Jordanian government provided detailed information on Zarqawi's whereabouts whereabouts to the Iraqi regime in June 2002, as Amman has since acknowledged.
Powell's presentation doesn't have much credibility left, but I was under the impression that his points about Zarqawi had not been refuted. I am also under the impression that the Senate Intel Committee's report is a trustworthy document.

But one of the great things about blogging is that I don't just have to trust my own limited memory and instincts. If any of you have information that contradicts Hayes' assertions about Zarqawi, feel free to include your links and commentary below.
(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

I'm not sure it's quite that simple. First, I remembered this article claiming that Zarqawi and al Qaeda linked up officially in 2004, after the invasion.

Regardless of that report, the accuracy of which, two years on, I can't confirm, Hayes seems to convienently forget that Zarqawi was based in the north of Iraq and the US passed up several opportunities to destroy that base while he was, you know, still there. That being the case, I think its disengenuous, at best, to claim that a Zarqawi - al Quaeda connection justifies the invasion.
zarqawi left the north of Iraq for baghdad when needed medical treatment.

and it looks like Al Masri was also in Iraq as well.
" zarqawi left the north of Iraq for baghdad when needed medical treatment."

And? Even if he was there for days, weeks, months that doesn't mean anything regarding the facts in contained in my second link.
If Saddam supported Zarq, and thus AQ, it doesnt matter that we THEN decided that in order to take Saddam out, it was better to not try to kill Zarq then. The point of the Zarq - Saddam connection was not how dangerous Zarq was, but what it told us about what the Saddam regime was doing in terms of its willingness to cooperate with terrorists, including those affiliated with AQ, which had already attacked the WTC.
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