|Questions and Observations|
However, the WSJ doesn't seem to grasp the import of this decision. If the administration is not devoting more resources the probing these links....well, what does that tell you? Let's not delude ourselves. If the administration had serious, credible evidence of ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, they would be, at a minimum, talking it up. So, suggestions that there was active and significant operational cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda - based on this evidence - is stretching credulity. There is cause for investigation, but there is greater cause for skepticism
That's a huge part of the calulations surrounding all of this; much more than either side will want t admit to at the moment.
Posted by: BitHead at May 28, 2004 08:16 AM
This administration ain't big on talk.
Toppling Saddam "said" all that needs to be said about the nexus between Saddam and Al Qaeda -
It is a moot point.
And, it is time to move on to other targets, to clean up other messes bequeathed to us by that most glib of presidents - BJ Clinton.
The fact is: the free world needs actionable intel - NOT stuff for W's re-election bid.
I believe this is how Bush is determining how to use our limited and imperfect intel' resources.
Posted by: dan at May 28, 2004 08:42 AM
Perhaps there is more context to the decision about proving, disproving, or punting the links between Iraq and AQ, or other terror groups.
Money: Considering "free Iraq" (and therefore the US), Saudi Arabia and Iran, stand to lose billions of dollars by proving state connections to AQ, does that outweigh the political benefits of shoring up one of the pre-war casus belli?
Esteem: Has the topic of terror ties become so radioactive that career bureaucrats and political appointees have decided the best course of action is to punt, at least until after the half-life cooling down period.
Benefit: How strong are the suspected ties? If the likelihood is we'll find Iraq did collaborate, but not direct evidence that attacks on the US were the result of some collaboration between Iraq and AQ, is it worth the expenditure of time, money, risk of reputation, risk of exposing free-Iraq and others to billions in lawsuits?
At this point in time, I don't think the benefits outweigh the costs to the Bush administration for a myriad of reasons.
Posted by: Tim at May 28, 2004 09:24 AM
As an observer sitting on the outside looking in, it appears that there remain constituencies within the intelligence establishment that might be embarassed if a solid operational connection were established between the Saddam regime and Al Qaida. For those constituencies, there is no advantage to connecting any dots along those lines. In fact, there is plenty of incentive to change the topic. Those constituencies may also have "jurisdiction" over this intelligence area, and thus be in the position to set the agenda. I am not a big proponent of conspiratorial politics, but I do suspect that this may (in part) explain the seemingly casual approach being taken to the question of Saddam/AQ cooperation!
Posted by: RAZ at May 28, 2004 10:15 AM
"One of the mysteries of postwar Iraq is why the Bush Administration and our $40-billion-a-year intelligence services haven't devoted more resources to probing the links between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda."
And what makes you, and the WSJ, think that you know exactly what is going on in our intelligence services?
Posted by: George at May 28, 2004 10:55 AM