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Sun

11

Feb

2007

Doug Feith, Reinventing History
Sunday, 11 February 2007 20:43
by Larry C Johnson

Dougie Feith appeared on Faux News Sunday with Chris Wallace today and emphatically denied that he or anyone in his office ever said there was an operational relationship between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.  How sad.  Mr. Feith apparently has early on-set Alzheimer's disease.  He's forgotten that someone in his shop at DOD leaked his October 2003 memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee to one Mr. Stephen Hayes, an enterprising journalist, who in turn published the breathless findings in the Weekly Standard. 

So what?  The Weekly Standard is not an official government publication.  Why should we take it seriously?  Well, let's ask Vice President Dick Cheney.  Here's what the Weekly Standard Editor, a guy named Bill Kristol, wrote three years ago:

Editor's Note, 1/27/04: In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank reported that "Vice President Cheney . . . in an interview this month with the Rocky Mountain News, recommended as the 'best source of information' an article in The Weekly Standard magazine detailing a relationship between Hussein and al Qaeda based on leaked classified information."
If it is good enough for Dick should it not be good enough for you?  Hayes account of the Feith memo pulls no punches and provides no room for ambiguity--Saddam and Bin Laden were in bed together since the early 1990s.  According to Hayes:

OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.

According to the memo--which lays out the intelligence in 50 numbered points--Iraq-al Qaeda contacts began in 1990 and continued through mid-March 2003, days before the Iraq War began. Most of the numbered passages contain straight, fact-based intelligence reporting, which some cases includes an evaluation of the credibility of the source. This reporting is often followed by commentary and analysis.

Hayes insisted in multiple fora that DOD knew there was an operational link and that the CIA was blocking release of that revelation.  He said it during several appearances on Fox News and repeated the case in other rightwing publications, take the National Review for example:

Hayes: The Feith Memo is a report that Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee last fall, in response to a request by that panel to see information the Pentagon gathered on Iraq-al Qaeda connections. Analysts in the DoD policy shop pored over old intelligence, gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies, and unearthed some interesting nuggets — some of them from raw intelligence reports and others from finished intelligence products. CIA Director George Tenet was asked about the Feith Memo at a Senate hearing in March and distanced his agency from the Pentagon analysis. He submitted another version of the document to the committee with some "corrections" to the Pentagon submission. My understanding is that there were but a few such adjustments and that they were relatively minor (although my book challenges two of the most interesting reports in the memo). Some of the stuff — telephone intercepts, foreign-government reporting, detainee debriefings, etc. — is pretty straightforward and most of the report tracks with what Tenet has said publicly; it just provides more detail. That said, there were two items that seemed to require more explanation and, when weighed against available evidence, seem questionable.
As the Bush apologists rally to Feith's side and try to whitewash history, they are finding it difficult to erase the videotapes and written articles that document their insanity.  They are certainly taking chutzpah to a new level.  On the one hand, they insist that the CIA had dropped the ball and that fresh outside eyes were needed in order to get at the truth about Saddam and Osama.  But in the blink of an eye, Feith takes refuge in the CIA, insisting that George Tenet backed up the ravings of Feith's minions at DOD.

Then we get the spectacle of Feith, Kristol, and others saying that the relationship between Saddam and Osama was really an irrelevant sideshow and that the real problem was the CIA, which said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  So therefore it is all the fault of the CIA.  Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Feith and the legion of neo-con hacks and enablers were all victims of the nefarious, ignorant CIA.  Hells bells!  They did not do a single wrong thing.  I know who is really to blame--it is all the fault of Valerie Plame.

Not since the glory days of the Stalinist Soviet Union have we witnessed such a bald, audacious, and mendacious effort to reinvent history.  Notwithstanding the concerted effort of the neocons to deny any responsibility for the debacle in Iraq, their propaganda campaign, which conflated the threat of Islamic terrorism with the alleged menace of Saddam, was the foundation for going to war in Iraq.  No amount of lies disavowing responsibility for whipping up the public anger to go to war by the likes of Feith, Bill Kristol, George Bush or Dick Cheney, can erase the scarlet stain of the blood of American soldiers killed in Iraq because of their folly.  Sorry Doug, I remember what you said and did.  Run if you must, coward that you are, but the facts on this are clear and unambiguous. 
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a guest said:

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Mallee ... Disgusting
Typically American reporting: "No amount of lies disavowing responsibility for whipping up the public anger to go to war by the likes of Feith, Bill Kristol, George Bush or Dick Cheney, can erase the scarlet stain of the blood of American soldiers killed in Iraq because of their folly." Not a word about the 750,000-plus dead Iraqi citizens, the millions of displaced Iraqi citizens, or the untold numbers of Iraqi citizens whose lives have been shattered forever - none of whom ever were a threat to America - and no mention of arbitary arrests, detentions, torture and rape of men, women and children. Not a word about the illegal use of weapons of mass destruction such as napalm and white phosphorus and depleted uranium and its impact on the Iraqi environment. Not a care about any of the 'brown peoples' and their suffering, oh no. "...the scarlet stain of the the blood of American soldiers killed..." that's what matters. American lives, American blood, American dollars (may have to pay more taxes). The American psyche - Disgusting, and Pathetic!
 
February 11, 2007
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